3 lessons about "passion" from 365 days of writing online
Intellectual Banter: Episode #25
Writing isn’t my “passion”.
Since I quit my job in January this year, I constantly get remarks like:
“Ohh, that’s great! So now you’re writing online? Must be great to follow your passion!”
“I wish I could do the same… but I dunno what I’m passionate about…”
Well here’s something for you…
I never wrote as a kid.
No short stories, witty limericks or childhood diary. I never dreamed of becoming a “writer”.
In fact, I didn’t write till it was required of me.
Creating detailed, jargon heavy documents at my job was the first time I paid attention to writing. Those college projects kind of wrote themselves (if you know, you know).
But I was shit at it.
So all of my documents would come back littered with edits.
It sucked, but it was part of my job. So I kept plugging away at it for years. And got half decent at it.
But I wrote so much I burned out.
So taking up writing online after quitting my job was an odd choice.
The irony of it wasn’t lost on me. But I realized something more important…
Writing is the language of the entire fucking Internet.
If I was to try my hand at self employment, why not learn a foundational skill?
12 months in, turns out I’m half decent at it (way to blow my half-trumpet). Along the way, I’ve had some wins, drowned in confusion and learned some crucial lessons about "finding my passion”:
1. “Finding your passion” is an excuse people use to not start
I get it, it’s scary to try something on your own.
High chance of looking like an idiot and getting the “I told you” stares from everyone.
So it’s easy to cope.
And hey, you've got great company. It’s the most common excuse for not starting anything, ever.
I’m not saying passion doesn’t exist.
But it’s in the name - you have to go and “find” it. It won’t find you (lounging on the couch).
2. The problem isn’t your passion, it’s your indecision
“People don’t fail by choosing the wrong path - they fail by not choosing.” - Derek Sivers
If you’ve just joined, let me tell you I love Derek Sivers (I mean his writing). The man has a certain way with words. He’s at the top, right alongside a certain Mr. Ravikant. (Seriously, I’m obsessed with them… just ask my wife.)
Ahem, moving along…
Sivers says one way to live is to pursue mastery.
Make a choice, then make a lifetime commitment to constant improvement. The passion comes after you start getting good at it.
“But what do I pick, Adi!? I just told you I dunno what I’m passionate about!”
Pick anything that scares, fascinates or infuriates you.
For me, writing online ticks all three:
Sharing your thoughts online is fucking terrifying. Judgment? Indifference? How about a bit of both?
Writing well builds businesses. It’s fascinating and I spend hours learning about it.
It’s goddamn frustrating at times. I’ve written 65+ tweets in 3 hours. But I’ve also spent 60 mins trying to spell my name correctly.
3. “Passion” is about output, not outcome
Over the past 12 months, I’ve written (nearly) every day.
I wrote over a 1000 tweets before one went viral and doubled my following in 48 hours. I’ve also written 100s that no one read.
In a lifelong commitment to mastery, you can never focus on the outcomes.
Because then you won’t last a lifetime.
You’ll give up at the first sign of trouble (which is guaranteed to come).
You cannot control likes, but you can always control how much you write.
So no, writing wasn’t my passion when I started this experiment.
But it’s something I chose. Because I value something more than imminent discomfort…
Writing is the vehicle I’ll use to become financially free from the Matrix (*cough*, the job market).
I’ve got some interesting wins recently and started some new experiments. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Stay tuned.
Till then, screw finding your passion. Make a choice and stick with it.
Your “passionate” friend,
PS: Intellectual Banter is now 25 editions old… holy crap. What began as an experiment with family now reaches 640+ people. The Internet is wild.
Thanks for reading Intellectual Banter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Great reminder about passion, Adi! Passions come out of our actions, failures and by being consistent. We will never know our true passion until we take action.