How To Find Your Passion In Life | The Background

Finding Your Passion

Regardless of whether you have found your passion in life and whether you are already living it, I am sure YOU of all people know that finding what you are truly passionate about and then no matter what it takes but to follow your passion, is not an easy task.

I am not a person that believes too eagerly in the word “luck”. I believe everything that happens to us in life is a direct result of the way we live our lives and according to the influences we have in our lives. Please don’t understand me wrong here. I am not saying bad things happening to you means you are doing something necessarily wrong because bad things do happen to good people, without a doubt.

I do feel though that we are more than capable of steering our lives in a certain direction through what we believe, embrace and ultimately follow through with on a daily basis. I have my own definition for the word “luck” which goes more or less something like this:

“luck can be defined as favorable circumstances as a direct result of persistent goodwill” (click to tweet)

The point I’m trying to make with the word “luck” in this post is that I believe when a person who has found his/her passion in life and made the conscious decision to follow and live it, it has by no means got anything to do with luck, in my honest opinion.

I strongly believe that you have to put in everything you can, as much as you can and as often as you can to try and find your passion. You need to search for that one thing (some have many more passions) that makes your world go round.

Unfortunately very few people ever find their true passion throughout their whole lifetimes on earth. I know many people, family, friends and others whom are all doing what they are doing because they have to or because they don’t know what else to do. Most are either not in a position to do what they love or they simply have never done everything in their capability to do what they are truly passionate about.

It took me almost 29 years to find my passion. If you’d tell me a year ago that I will be pursuing a full time career as a freelance blogger and other freelance writing, I’d probably think you might have lost all your small little geniuses inside your head. Never in my life had I EVER imagined writing for a living was to be me forte.

I am not a person that likes to focus on the past as I believe what’s done is done and I have to move on, live the present as best as I possibly can to have a better future. A huge inspiration in this regard for me is what a guy called Pat Flynn sends out to the world with what he does over at his blog which is:

“work hard now so you can reap the benefits later.” – Pat Flynn (click to tweet)

However, with this post I do want to give you a little walk-through over my past which might help you understand a little better why I am where I am today but more importantly, why I started this blog and why I am doing what I am doing tight now…

Please note that I am going to share some personal things that are not always easy to talk about and certainly not enjoyable either but I want to be totally transparent and feel you deserve to know nothing but the truth. I am not expecting any sympathy and PLEASE, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, okay? This is simply to help you understand where I am coming from…

The short version of my background…

I am my mom and my dad’s only child they had together. I have a half-brother and -sister from my dad’s first marriage and although we are quite close, they are way older than me and I basically grew up as the only child in the house.

At the age of 5 my mom and dad got divorced. My mom met someone else and we (my mom and I) moved in with the guy later on. He took good care of us. We had no shortage of anything, financially anyway. My dad on the other hand was an alcoholic and probably smoked more than 60 cigarettes per day. He never played ball with me, went to the beach with me or built beach buggies with me like he and brother used to when he was younger. My dad was simply too old to have another child, and he knew it. He gave up; I’m still convinced of that.

Uncle Johan on the other hand was a workaholic. He worked 7 days a week from 7am to almost 11pm, sometimes even later for most of the time I knew him. He started his own motor engineering company. Uncle Johan never had children of his own. He was married before he met my mom as far as I can remember. He didn’t drink a drop or smoked a single cigarette, ever. He couldn’t withstand a beautiful woman though. Whenever he wasn’t working, he was probably day-dreaming about some gorgeous brunette he saw somewhere during the week (my unconfirmed version).

What uncle Johan did though what I admired more than anything else at that stage of my life was that he was pursuing what he was passionate about. He found what he loved doing and he did anything and everything he could to keep that dream alive and actually turning it into reality. I am not talking about him day-dreaming about gorgeous brunettes in case you were wondering. That dream of his to have his own engineering company with machinery worth millions that he could rightfully say was his, that vision kept him going. Everything else around him paid the price for it. Not in a bad way by any means. He just did what he loved doing and gave it his all.

When I was 13 I moved back to my dad as my mom and uncle Johan were going through a tough time and they were not making it easy for anyone around them. My dad had since been separated from his third wife he had and was all on his own. It was my last year in primary school. This was the stage where you would normally start to realize and decide what you want to be doing for the rest of your life, what study field you should be getting into so you have a nice and bright future ahead of you.

Not me. I was still trying to find myself. I never knew where I fit in. I didn’t know what my purpose on earth was. To be honest I think I had too many things I was interested in and not because I was that multi-talented or the super kid in the block, but merely because I had absolutely no sense of stability in my life, I never really had a chance to make a decision and then stick with it. I lived in two worlds for the biggest part of my childhood. Two worlds in two very different galaxies with no similarities between the two.

At around 16 in my culture we normally get to the stage where you have to choose your final subjects in high school. This is ultimately your interest and supposed to be your passion you are going to pursue and follow for the rest of your life. These decisions are regarded as the most important decisions a young adult will ever make in his whole life regarding his career. That of course is according to 98% of the population, not everyone though.

My dad passed away shortly after I turned 16. He had literally smoked himself to death. I was blown away. Lost, completely lost in my two worlds. Left with no sense of direction. The one person that showed a little interest in my life and what I dreamt about was suddenly gone, just not around anymore.

I remember months after his death I would still walk into his room in the morning with his regular morning cup of coffee and then suddenly realize that he’s not there anymore. I was truly lost. I didn’t know which direction my career should take. My dad was a designer and technical-minded person as was my brother whom today has his doctorate in mechanical engineering.

I had an interest in electronics and finally decided to go study electromechanical engineering which was a mix between mechanical- and electronic engineering, a double degree so to speak.

I studied for two years, and failed horribly. I literally threw thousands of dollars my dad worked very hard for down the rain as I was unable to make a success and live with my important career-determining decision I made when I was 16 years old.

I dropped out, went from one job to the next. Although I wasn’t completely useless with a fairly good technical brain and understanding as well as a fairly good number of skills in various technical fields, I always seem to have gotten into something to do with electronics, from burglar alarm installations, CCTV security equipment, fire alarm equipment, electric gates and automation systems, you name it. I always had the idea of keeping people safe hence the fire fighting and security industries.

I remember the most important position I ever found myself in was working for a boss at a company appointed as manager, head of department, administration officer/clerk, installation technician as well as support technician, all at the same time. This was at a fire company I worked for where I started the fire alarm department with one apprentice to help me with the installations, more like a spanner boy.

This was quite exciting for me as this was the first ever place where I felt that I had a purpose. I felt like I was needed and valued. I remember working 18-20 hours per day doing installations for government institutions 300 kilometers away from home, driving there back and forth every single day for almost a month. I drove a nice company vehicle and I absolutely loved it! After all, I finally had purpose…

The problem was though that I soon realized that although I loved serving a purpose and although I felt kind of important and that I meant something to someone else, I did not love the work that I was doing. It was not the kind of work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted more. I wanted something else. I didn’t feel passionate about the work I did. Being up in blistering roofs of 5-story buildings pulling wires and cables through 20mm PVC pipe is not exactly what I call my dream job, not for me anyway.

Fast-forward time for about another two years I then had my first serious relationship with a girl I met after I started working for her dad, the owner of another…fire company. Again, I started the fire alarm/electronics department.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out between Alecia and I and well, there was just too much pain to stay with the company after the break-up so I packed my bags and got onto a plane after I got a job by applying online. A job 1400 kilometers away where I knew not one single person. I decided this was my fresh start, I am on a new page and this is where I will start living my life.

Again, after a short while, one month to be exact, staying in one of the companies’ old factories packed with oily machinery, I decided “this is not for me, I am not satisfied with my life like this and there’s got to be more. Surely my passion is still out there…”

With my interest in electronics since I can remember and taking my own computers apart (Pentium II 386′s back then if I remember correctly) when I was younger, I thought about entering the IT field. I had one major problem though. Entering IT with hardly any qualification of certification is something not heard of every day and certainly not an easy task in South Africa at that time.

At this stage I was 26 already and going back down to being an apprentice at the age of 26, well let me say it’s not an easy task and certainly not one that many of my friends and family members would consider doing anyway. But I did it because I learnt that computers and working on and with them is something I am passionate about and certainly something I loved doing.

Eventually I got myself CompTIA A+ certified an had something to work with in finding a job at a relatively small company getting my foot in the door in the IT field and possibly working myself up the corporate ladder within Information Technology.

One thing led to another and my love for web development and graphic design was born when I wanted to get my own blog up and running but simply couldn’t afford to hire a web developer or graphic designer. Like with most things in my life and something I probably have to let go of sooner or later in future, I am relatively hands-on in everything I do, certainly NOT what my guy Pat Flynn teaches about passive income. I was simply forced to design my own blog and do all the graphics I needed, myself. What I didn’t know at the time, I had to learn from scratch. I literally consumed every little bit of free training and article I could find on the subject at hand and did the best I could to grasp the concepts.

That is where my online journey started as I became more aware of things I love, like writing, communicating by not having to physically be in front of someone else. The way in which I grew up and how I learnt to cope with things was on my own, not physically interacting or seeing too many other people face to face. I am an introvert and although I can say with all honesty that I am not afraid to speak to anyone directly, face to face, I just find it easier and more satisfying expressing myself through words written rather than spoken.

I hope that makes sense to you? Do you know what I’m talking about or am I just being myself again – the guy from two different worlds in two very different galaxies with very little similarities between the two…just weird as most people would say?

Come on, we’re almost there… ;)

I find Writing to be satisfying. When I write I feel that I have purpose again. I feel exactly the way I felt back then when I played that many different roles within the fire company – having purpose and meaning something to someone else.

One thing I know is that some of you reading this (hopefully not too many) might not even care a single bit about what I write about although thinking about it, personally I wouldn’t be this far into reading this article (word #2426 to be exact) if I didn’t have a slight interest in what the person was saying.

The fact is that I am not writing to please every single person ending up reading what I write.

Please don’t take that as being selfish or self-entered, or being arrogant even. With that I simply mean that one will never be able to please every single person with every single thing you do. Trying to do that is pointless.

I feel that the way we do things, your own personal and unique voice and my writing voice for that matter does resonate with at least one other person out there. Yes even if it’s only one; it’s that one person I write for that Danny Iny speaks about over at Firepole Marketing. It’s because of that one person that I’m doing what I’m doing and to me, that is more than enough.

“Passion – doing something that helps only ONE person but feels like it helped the whole world and then you’re fine with it” (click to tweet)

There is no set formula to find the one thing you’re truly passionate about as every person is passionate about something different. I can’t tell you that “you are passionate about freelance blogging and this is how you should realize it.”

However, I do believe that every person can follow what his heart tells him and that is simply starting off with exploring and delving deeper into something you enjoy doing. Start off small and do it in small chunks. Don’t do too much of it and let it overwhelm you before you even really get started. Just explore and take things slowly. The key is not to get confused by something new or different and think it’s your new found passion as it’s simply not the case. There is a big difference between having an interest in something and having a passion for something.

This is exactly why you need to take things slowly. Test the waters. Get you feet wet first before you jump in with your clothes and all. If anything needs to blow over then you have to give it time to happen. Remember you are in search of your passion, the one or a few things you want to be doing for the rest of your life, so you are looking past shiny objects and exciting new things which within a month or two you’ve lost most interest in anyway.

This is something that requires probably the most persistence of all things in life. It’s not easy; it really is not. It wasn’t for me anyway. Like I mentioned earlier, it took me almost 29 years to find my passion.

Keep good faith though as your passion is out there. Somewhere along the line on your journey of exploration you will stumble upon something that you just utterly enjoy doing, something that when you’re doing it you lose all sense of time or what’s going on around you. You lose track of everything else that would normally make sense and just this one thing will make sense to you right at that moment.

That is passion. That is your one thing that you would do for free and do even if it doesn’t mean a thing to many others but at least to one person. Pursue this. Follow through with this and you’ll be on your way to freedom. This is what I believe is freedom…

That is what I believe is your passion in life to pursue…

Ruan Oosthuizen | Freelance Writer | Professioanl Blogger

photo by: tipiro
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