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How do you know you have found your passion?

Humanity is constantly searching for fulfillment and passion, but how does one know that they have found their passion? We all have work we were born to do, or a part we were made to play. How do you you choose one goal and give up, or diminish, the numerous other possibilities?

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    May 28 2012: Well Scott ,
    I learnt playing the keyboard myself at the age of 13 , but due to pressure on education , I was made to just play my tiny keyboard and enjoy it at the same time study. In the meantime , I also had this amazing knack of mimicking others .
    Today , at 24, I am learning piano professionally and because I was passionate about understanding humans ,I could mimick people. When I explored further I realized,I could solve people's complex problems in a simple way
    Now I found my third passion TED , where I could easily reach out to people from different parts of the world and communicate to them with ease
    So here I am at TED and I have realized I have found my passion.
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    May 31 2012: Expert Joeseph Campbell (now deceased) and many others have studied this and they suggest that it is self evident. They refer to flow and if you have found what is best for you your days fly by, you are totally immersed in the work and you value the contribution you make but you also believe that you have never worked a day in your career.
  • May 28 2012: I assume life's work or something like that. OK: question; would you do it for free? My father was an artist, but couldn't sell his paintings, but still he painted; he had to! (I have a big stack of his paintings in my garage and several on the walls of my home.) When I first started my career in radio, the station was nearly bankrupt and couldn't make payroll. I negotiated to do my air shift for free. I did, still loved being behind the mic, and made a 20 year career of it. So, back to the basic question: is it something you'd do for free, even when you had to find a way to do something else you hate for a daily job so you can eat? (Further on me: I've written 14 books. Have only sold 5, not titles, just books on Amazon, but I write because I love to. We can't all turn our passions into cash, unfortunately, but that provides the ultimate test of our passions.) Good luck finding yours!
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    May 27 2012: Like Feyisayo, I can only really speak from experience.

    Ultimately I'd say, if you're stuck for a answer ask yourself....what would get up for tomorrow and do for no money yet know you COULD be amazing at? (the last bit is important) The answer to this could help....and If things don't work out (and in the great words of Lemony Snickett) there's ALWAYS something else.

    I think for many the idea of finding 'THE' thing is intimidating. For many of us there are more than one thing which interests us greatly so it's a struggle. Many people reach an understanding at different points in their life, no one time is right compared with another. I have friends and colleagues who knew their passion when they were five, others still working it out.The word decide derives from the word meaning 'to cut off', that is to say when we decide one thing over another, it means we are 'undeciding' (sorry English graduates!) others. Closing doors is daunting, but exhilarating too.
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    May 27 2012: I will answer this question based on personal experience.
    We find our passion when we find something we could enjoy doing, such that even its difficulty will not hinder our sacrifice to get it done.
    We know when we find it; but it could slip away slowly without our awareness.
    Nothing good comes easy, it is easier to destroy than to build; and sometimes we underestimate the sacrifices we have to make in order to achieve something significant; we might have to go farther than we think to find fufilment.
    We need to be motivated, we need to be loved. We need to know that our efforts are supported, and that we are accepted as precious without conditions.
    Persistence may be hard in trying circumstances. But it is the only way to progress.
    Part of persistence is 'persistence in excellence' , we should not stop our efforts at self and societal improvement for as long as we live. No to stagnation, no to mediocrity.
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    May 27 2012: Meditate is the most sharp way to guide us in this field.

    But practically, you can try these to closer to self understanding:

    1. Try to interact with others. Read book, widening our knowledge to give us more chance, to get our passion with fair (no hidden of something that left behind),

    2. If your heart vibrate strongly to something, whether it triggered with curiosity or strong denial, it may be your passion,

    3. Just make your list and make a log for further experience. Perhaps in the future your heart will vibrate strongly or even stronger to something the same as you experienced in the past (in this case: one not enough, but more makes clearer)

    4. Try to validate, whether it against your believe or not. If it against your believe, try to generalize it and look for other subset that you might still interested on other subset with strong vibration within your heart. And repeat again for the number 3.

    5. And if you found something then, the best part is struggle, fight to achieve it with kindness & carefully until you get what you dream on.

    If somehow you thought this was wrong passion, then remember this: we already passed this correctly then it's our limit. We are imperfect, but we try to do the best. It's our ever best guess.

    Less or more ...
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    May 27 2012: Scott,

    I'm only 18 years old, so you can take my input with a grain of salt.

    Music is my passion. My father is a musician. My grandfather is a musician. Past there, I've not a clue. One day, I realized that music is what I live for. I asked myself "I hear all these people talking about passion, but what is mine?" I thought of what I do every day, what I study when I'm on my own, what I think about when I wake up. I even thought about what I think about the most! It all came down to this:

    When you go to bed thinking about something every night, and wake up thinking about it. When you go home, and look for new ways to pursue it. When you start daydreaming about it throughout your day. Even when it gets you through some sort of turmoil. That "something" is going to be a passion someday, if not now.

    I struggled with an addiction to self-harm (sob story, I know). But music came through for me where friends, family, even therapists couldn't. It saved my life, and now I dedicate my life to it. Find something that you think is worth dedicating your life to, and something you will be able to do forever. That, I believe, will be your passion.

    Good luck on your journey, and keep TED (and me) updated!