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Find Your Passion by Asking Yourself the Right Questions

Image courtesy of capaworld.capa.org

Image courtesy of capaworld.capa.org

What is your passion in life? Most people can’t answer that question. We are so caught up in our daily lives with work, school, spouses, pets, family, and social media, we don’t take the time to stop and take a good look inside ourselves to figure out what makes us truly happy.

So, take a break from the daily grind this Thursday and do some “big picture” thinking. The following questions should help you identify your true passion.

What is your tennis ball?
An odd question when you don’t know the context! The question originated from Dropbox’s founder, Drew Houston, at his MIT commencement speech. When you think of the tennis ball, think of yourself as the dog obsessed with chasing the ball. What is something that you would be overjoyed constantly trying to obtain? What’s are the things that you’re most interested in, and could pursue relentlessly?

What is a belief you hold that almost nobody else agrees with you on?
The question was originally posed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The question should help you determine what you care about independent of any one else’s influence. The answer can be in the form of a problem you are trying to overcome on your own or a belief that you hold.

What are your superpowers?
It is important to recognize your inherent strengths and capitalize on them. By building on what you have always succeeded at, you are more likely to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Another way to look at this question: What did you enjoy doing at age 10? This takes us back to your core values as a person, before you became corrupted by the demands of adult life (sad, but true for many).

What are you willing to try now?
Rather than pouring your time into self-help books and acquiring advice from those around you, you should take action! Get off your butt (literally or metaphorically) and dive straight into something you have always wanted to try. You may fail or you may prosper, but you will definitely learn something, certainly more than what you would have learned from any self-help book.

Twenty or thirty years from now, what do you want to say you have accomplished in your career?
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner poses this question to his prospective employees. Start your bucket list now and see how many of your aspirations you can fit into your career. What do you hope to have achieved while working? Because, lets face it, the majority of your life is going to be spent pursing your career, so why not pursue a career that will help check off items on your bucket list, too?

What is your sentence?
In one sentence you should be able to sum up who and what you are, and what you aspire to achieve (like the personal equivalent of an elevator speech). Author Daniel Pink designed the question because he says every great man (or woman) can be summed up in one sentence. For example: “Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves.”

No matter what your sentence may be or what your superpower is, we all have the potential to feel truly fulfilled by pursuing our passion. The key is determining what makes you come alive and utilizing your inherent gifts to the maximum potential.