Forget Passion. Follow Your Curiosity.

Follow-Your-CuriosityHow many times have you been told to follow your passion? For a college major, job, everything. Follow your passion and life’s set.

But what if you can’t find your passion?

A couple of friends, who don’t know each other, are contemplating what to do next in their careers. They are both college-educated and in their early 30s. They both worked in the field of their degrees but don’t feel the satisfaction they were promised for following their passion.

That’s why I love the idea of following your curiosity.

What is Follow Your Curiosity?

I first heard the idea of following your curiosity from a recent TED Talk. Unfortunately, I can’t find the talk anymore. Luckily Eat, Pray Love and Big Magic author Elizabeth Gilbert is also an advocate of following your curiosity. She explains it as:

Passion is rare; curiosity is everyday.

Curiosity is, therefore, a lot easier to reach at times than full-on passion — and the stakes are lower, easier to manage.

The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for an instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?

For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.

What’s Wrong With Following Your Passion?

For some people following your passion works. They have that burning desire to do one thing and they do it. That definitely isn’t me, and it’s not the friends I mentioned earlier. People tend to be more complex than one passion. Especially now that we have access to so much information (thank you, internet) and we know we can achieve more. It’s different than our parents and grandparents who had a job for life and it was your lot.

Terri Trespicio put it well in her TED Talk, “Passion is not a plan. It’s a feeling and feelings change.”

She also said how it’s the things that surprise us that tend to be the most fulfilling. She didn’t know she could be an entrepreneur until she sold jewelry and was good at it. She suggested instead of following your passion for solving your favorite problems. While she didn’t use the phrase to follow your curiosity, curiosity is often what brings your favorite problem to your attention.

What do you think? Passion or curiosity?

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