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Stop looking for your passion. Unlock it

17 Oct 2014 | Susanna Halonen

Screwfindingyourpassion

Living life with passion isn't about pursuing the one thing you love, it's about finding love in everything you do. 

If you look around you, you'll notice that people have been ingrained with the message that they must find their one and only passion. People have adopted the belief that in order to live a happy, fulfilling life, you must follow what you love, and build your whole life around doing what you love.

These are misconceptions offering a very limited view on passion that can actually work against your happiness, fulfilment and success. My aim is to shine light on a new, more opportunistic approach to passion, and help you unlock the passion within you, wherever you are.

When I was 18 years old, I followed this misleading message of 'follow your passion' as I decided to study Equine and Business Management at a university in England. I had loved horses since the age of nine and they had grown to be a big part of my daily life. I assumed that if I incorporated them into my studies, I would be able to build a life and career that I truly loved. I packed my bags and drove from Sweden to England to get started on building this new dream life.

I quickly realised how wrong I'd been to 'follow my passion'. Within weeks of being at the secluded campus, which was full of young, hopeful riders, I started to feel lost, confused and alone. I realised it wasn't the world for me. I realised that I wanted horses to be a big part of my life, but I didn't want them to consume my life.

Doing horses 'full-time' killed the enjoyment I got from the sport and left me too exhausted to explore much else in life. After one semester at this university, I made the brave step to stop following my passion and re-direct my focus.

I transferred to a London university to study business and management, and moved my horse to a stables in London so I could still ride and compete actively. I was still able to do what I loved without being restricted in my career choices or exploring different pastime activities. This was my first personal experience that made me think twice about the 'follow your passion' message.

Some years later I was about to finish a prestigious European Graduate scheme in a big corporate, and I was trying to figure out what to do. Many who observed my confusion from the outside thought I was crazy to even think about shifting my career path. I was successfully climbing the career ladder, receiving lots of positive feedback and praise. I had an incredibly supportive partner, and a horse that I loved training after work and competing on weekends.

Basically, life was good - yet I didn't feel it was fulfilling. I felt as if something was missing.

Then I discovered positive psychology through Shawn Achor's The Happiness Advantage and I decided to apply to study a Master's in Applied Positive Psychology in London. When I walked into my first positive psychology lecture I was over the moon - I had never felt so right about anything. And when the opportunity came to choose what my scientific dissertation research would be on - the obvious choice was passion!

Through my research I discovered the real secret to living life with passion: you have the power to unlock your passion at any point in time. You don't need to find the one thing you love, or obsess about religiously following what you love. Limiting your passion to one thing can make you feel sad rather than happy, deflated rather than energised, and more like a traitor than the real you.

Passion is a form of positive energy that sits inside of you. It is something that you can choose to unlock from within you, and bring it out at any time. It's something that goes beyond motivation, and something that truly energises you on a whole different level.

It doesn't have to be one activity, thing or person that brings out the passion in you. Instead you can choose to live your whole life with passion by pursuing a passionate way of being. 

So stop chasing what you love and instead learn to find the love in what you do.

Susanna Halonen

Screw Finding Your Passion: It's Within You, Let's Unlock It shares the five keys that help you unlock your positive passion energy. The book is now available on Amazon for purchase.

Susanna Halonen, better known as the Happyologist, is a coach, trainer and speaker who helps individuals and organisations to find their best performance through passion and positivity. Her research has focused on passion at work and in life, and she has personally taken many passion journeys herself while juggling a career alongside her love for horses.

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