- Albert Einstein
I graduated from college in May 2013. I don’t know if that’s when the “Follow Your Passion” advice was reaching it’s fever pitch, but it sure felt like it. Everywhere I looked, there was a new successful entrepreneur, blogger, or artist telling everyone to forget about pursuing a conventional career and going wholeheartedly after their passion.
This wasn’t exactly bad advice. It definitely sounded more interesting than whiling away my hours at some nondescript office, doing a job that sucked the life out of me.
The only problem is that I didn’t have a passion. Or, I did, but I wasn’t particularly interested in pursuing reading books/walking in the mountains/writing sometimes as a career. None of those things felt like something I needed to shape my life around, and then I started to feel bad that I didn’t know my life’s calling at twenty-two.
The thing about passion is that it burns out. It has to. Maintaining that kind of intensity of emotion is unsustainable; you’re going to ride that feeling all the way to the top, discover that reality can’t meet your expectations, and have a dizzying ride down.
But you know what doesn’t burn out? What catches fire the more you pursue it?
One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, encourages everyone to follow their curiosity instead of focusing on their passion.
The neat thing about curiosity is that all it asks of you is that you be open minded and willing to explore. Whenever something captures your attention, you simply have to follow it…and maybe it’ll lead you to your life’s purpose or maybe it’ll just lead to some new part of yourself you didn’t know existed.
Here’s the secret: when something makes us curious, it’s normally because pursuing it will answer a question about ourselves we didn’t even know we were asking.
I’m much more interested in a life of self-discovery than I am of one where I’m pouring myself into a box I’m likely to grow out of.
Following your curiosity allows you to grow. It allows your interests to evolve as you do, and ultimately it makes you a more interesting person with more to offer.
In 2015, my goal is to explore a new topic every month. I’m dedicating a whole year to the pursuit of curiosity, and I know that it will be one of the most revolutionary years of my life. I’m giving myself the freedom to explore the world and find glimmers of myself in unexpected places.
What would happen if you did the same? If everyday, you dedicated yourself to an hour of learning about something new? And not just something that will look good on a resume but something that will enrich your life. What if you approached each new day at work or home with an insatiable need to learn?
Who knows where your curiosity will ultimately lead you.
I know this for sure: not everything your passionate about needs to make money. Not everything your passionate about needs to define you. Sometimes, it’s nice to create a safe space around your passions, so that engaging in them is truly an escape from the rest of the world.
So, switch your focus to curiosity instead. Have fun! Let 2015 be a year of curiosity for you. When the year is over, you’ll be more knowledgeable, more skilled, more interesting…and, hopefully, a little more alive.
*Photo found here.
Shannon is a romantic who isn’t interested in happily ever afters. She writes about intentional living at Awash with Wonder and everything interesting at The Year of Curiosity. This post is in support of my new program for 2015, Loud Ladies.