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This is my first “Theory” post. For these, I’m just gonna put out my opinion on a subject, my “theory” if you will, and see what people think. Here’s my take on Passion and what drives me in life. I should start by mentioning I am an Atheist, and therefore get asked a lot: “What do you live for? What’s the point of life?”.

Now, if the point of life really is to be the devout servant of an all knowing being that knows beforehand if I’ll live a life appropriate for him, but decides to give me “free will”, I’d be a very upset. Thankfully, I don’t believe that’s the case, phew.

Now, I certainly don’t know the real answer to the meaning of life (how pretentious would I have to be to think I know that?) . However, I do believe religion doesn’t have the correct answer at this time. What I live for is my passions.

What is a passion?

A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.

For my own personal definition, I’d describe it as something that you feel compelled to do, but doesn’t cause severely undesired consequences (eg. addiction). For myself, I’m passionate about the human condition, and learning exactly what it is that makes people tick. I’ve studied evolution, psychology, philosophy, art, all forms of media, and much more to pursue my passion, and rarely did I feel it was work or tiresome to do.

Finding your passion

To find your own passion, just look back in your life for things that were just easy for you to do, that you felt compelled to pursue without the persuasion of others. I recently talked to a friend who was confused about her future and goals in life, let’s call her Jill. Jill has read fantasy novels since before I met her seven years ago, and still enjoys them. She spends a great deal of time reading, discussing and thinking about them. Now, I don’t expect her to become a brilliant fantasy author, don’t get the wrong idea. However, by pursuing similar fields, talking to others interested in fantasy novels, and keeping her passion alive, I’m sure she’ll be able to find something fulfilling to do, even if it ends up not being her job.

Which brings up my next point: Your passion doesn’t have to become your job. I know so many people (including myself), who give up on things they’re passionate about because they see no monetary gain coming from it in the future. How silly is that? Life isn’t just your job. Don’t give up on the things you enjoy just because your not going to gain a job from them. Would you stop listening to music because your not going to become a musician or music critic? Of course not! It seems almost absurd to think about.

I wouldn’t give up my passions for the world, and neither should you. Find them and hold onto them.

There are some traps to keep yourself away from though:

– Be careful of letting a “passion” consume your life. Balance is always a key part of life, and becoming addicted or consumed by any passion can be detrimental.

– Sometimes one passion can be hiding a deeper one you never noticed. For example, many people enjoy drinking, socializing, dating, competitions, etc. Having a passion for, socializing as an example, is a bit broad though. Look for what exactly you enjoy about that broader passion and pursue that part of it. For example, I enjoy video games, but deeper than that, I have a passion for the mechanics behind games, and the social element of co-operating or competing with friends in games.

– You can also find connections between passions and find the core behind them that you enjoy. If you love Soccer, Poker, and Debating, it’s possible your passionate about competition. It may be in your best interest to pursue a competitive career than that can always keep you on your toes, and maybe explore more competitive activities to see what you like.

Behind the passion

I should point out though, that I think there is a deeper incentive behind all passions, and that one’s passions are really just the thing your comfortable using to manifest those feelings. Realistically, we are beings of evolution (if you believe in evolution at least, if not, read this book: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution). Our only real desires are survival and reproduction. In light of that (which I’ll elaborate on in a future post), our passions are just a reflection of those desires. Many people gain a passion for money, which is used for stability, power, and control over their life, plus, a better chance at mating. Probably a good investment from the evolutionary point of view. Others have passion for dating and relationships, which is a really obvious one from this standpoint. Some are much harder, but most can be figured out with a few minutes thought. So, are our lives just controlled by the evolution machine? Well, yes, but it really isn’t that bad. It also gives us the abilities to feel true pleasures from having children, success in life, and so on.

So, in the end, follow your passions. You’ll certainly live a more fulfilling life. It can be difficult to get over fears, anxieties, financial difficulties and social problems to pursue what you love, but that’s for another time.

For now, if you can, do it!

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