The Hardest Truth: I Don’t Have a Passion

spark

In the study of philosophy, it is imperative to define terms at the outset. I always think of a passion or calling as being that thing that we must do in life, that thing without which we will be miserable most of the time.

That is a very big expectation, indeed.

I cannot count the number of days, weeks, and even years I have spent researching what my true passion may be. Name the assessment and I’m sure I’ve taken it. Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator? Yup, many times. ISTJ anyone?

The Strong Interest Inventory was completed more than once, as well. Florist, I think.

I even paid a large sum to have a one-hour consultation with Barbara Shear. Barbara may have been able to help eventually, but I simply could not afford more of her time.

I purchased on-line “courses” from supposed experts to help me figure out what my calling is. These were all pretty much the same with fairly boilerplate questions. What can you talk about for hours? What has been a life-long dream of yours? What do you do that makes time pass without you even noticing? What are you curious about?

My answers are as follows:

  1. Politics and religion
  2. To spend a summer in the Black Woods
  3. Clean my house, or car, or cut the grass (Does the Name Felix Unger mean anything to you?)
  4. I’m curious about tons of things . . . including floral arrangement

Are any of these a passion for me? Not really. I don’t feel that I will be absolutely miserable if I don’t do any or all of these on a frequent basis. Then again, maybe I misunderstood the question.

When we ask ourselves what our passion is, are we really asking what job/career we should pursue, and make money at, that we will feel passionate about at the same time?

Many people have a career that is not their passion and yet feel very fulfilled. It’s possible they feed their passion on weekends or evenings.

Others of us; however, are determined to find that one true calling. The thing that we want to be able to do for a living, something about which we can be passionate. The job we would agree to do for free, if we could just figure it out.

I used to be this latter type. I believed that there was something I was destined to do and just needed to figure out what this “thing” was. I just had to draw it out from the recesses of my subconscious, where it had been plowed under by years of conformity and convention.

When, after all the personality testing and money spent on consults, I still could not define my passion, I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I so boring and emotionally bankrupt that my search was a fool’s errand?

So I quit searching and tried to re-energize myself at work that was not compelling, but did pay the bills. Eventually, however, the desire to find something more meaningful and engaging reemerged.

When I recently expressed my frustration on a blog that I follow, the writer of the blog directed me to an article he had written about his struggles with the same question. In his essay, he described himself as a scattered personality type and referred me to yet another blog written specifically for people like us!

What I learned is that I am a polymath, what previously would have been referred to as a Renaissance man. Or, to use the newest term I learned, a Multipotentialite.

Multipotentialite rings most true to me as someone with multiple potentials in life. Imagine, where I was looking for one calling, I now discovered that I have many!

It was a revelation! Here was an answer so simple and in my face, that I could not imagine that it was what I had been searching for all this time. It was also validation that I was not an abnormal misfit. It is okay that we don’t have one specific thing that motivates us. What drives us is the desire to continually learn new things. That description DOES fit me. It feels right. I can work with that.

Having figured out that my calling was that I had no calling, I could finally move forward and embrace my love of the new. I could begin to build on the many experiences I have had because of my love of learning.

You, too, may be on a quest to find your passion. I won’t recommend that you stop! We all must find that answer for ourselves. Just know that there may be more than one.

What tools have you employed to help you unearth your passion?

Photo by Wesley Eller

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130 thoughts on “The Hardest Truth: I Don’t Have a Passion”

    1. Thank you Sheri!

      Yes, it definitely made sense and it gave me the freedom to enjoy doing lots of things without feeling the pressure to choose one thing and stick with it forever.

      That may have been the pattern for our parents but it sure isn’t for me.

      My thanks, too, for stopping over to my blog. Always happy to have you there as well.

      DC

  1. So, you have a passion after all: you’re passionate about learning, learning about you and about world, learning and finding a way to Yourself :)

    1. Hello Dana,

      You are spot on! I love learning. If I could be a college professor I would do it. The problem is all the academic hoops that the ivory tower would have me jump through to reach the inner circle.

      I may be a lover of learning but I’m a horrible rule follower!

      So, I keep learning, break a few rules, stumble, get back up, and learn some more. It’s pretty cool when you get used to it.

      Thank you for your kind words!

      DC

  2. That is awesome, Darrell – clarity is the power to be.

    We are the sum-total of our life experiences.

    That experience is key to unlocking your purpose for being, and your purpose for being is to be the answer others are looking for… to empower the lives of others, they’re counting on you!

    A love for learning is awesome; I’m with you…

    It’s also worthwhile to mention that teaching others what you’ve learned is also a very powerful way expand on what you’ve learned.

    It keeps you sharp and mindful of those things that were the biggest revelations in your life on the journey, and many times those revelations come in layers — over time…

    The concepts and truths continue to unfold and reveal more gold nuggets about life, business, and the formula for success as you pass that gift on to others. :)

    Words are powerful – they’re building everything you see around you.

    It’s funny, as we get older we slowly lose our natural ability to hear and see, but yet minds-eye gains so much clarity.

    Nice article, Darrell – I’m glad to be on the journey with you, sir! : )

    1. Mark, my friend!

      So happy that you are adding your great insight and brain power to The Change Blog!

      You’ve got that indomitable spirit that only wish I had.

      As for teaching and learning I could not agree more. The two go hand-in-hand. And yes, it does keep us sharp.

      I’m so very happy to have you accompany on the journey.

      Here is where I would normally ding you with some wiseacre comment but for the sake of the great readers on The Change Blog I’ll just say thank you.

      Thank you Mark Harai, for your gracious generosity. It is an honor to know you.

      DC

  3. This rings true for many, many of us out here. I am ‘interested’ in tons of things – none of them could I do to the exclusion of the others. I too felt for a while that I must be emotionally stunted if I wasn’t passionate about ONE thing. Then it struck me! I am. I am passionate about creating and helping others to create. If I look at all the interests I have they all revolve around creating in some way: Writing, Painting, Music, Marketing, Design, even Martial Arts. So, maybe there won’t be one thing for most – but there might be One over-riding theme. Excellent post my friend. :)

    1. Stuart,

      Thank you for the kind words. I think it is great that you like writing, art, design, and music. What I see there is what I see in a lot of people like us, we are the humanities types, we like to investigate the why and the how of people.

      My bachelor of arts degree is considered useless in the “real” world but I would not trade it, or the great time I had in earning it, for a PhD in rocket science!

      BTW, I really can arrange flowers, that is not made up!

      Kudos to you for embracing your love of the many!

      DC

    2. Like you Stuart, I opened up my passion to describe my purpose. Your purpose it to create and help others create. My purpose is to live and love openly and through my example inspire in others the desire to be better/to do more and support them in becoming who they’re meant to be.

      There are a million ways I can do that, and thousands of them that I actually enjoy. And when I help someone become that person they want to be or accomplish that thing they wanted to accomplish, then I feel amazing!

      Darrell, Great article. Thanks for spreading the word about people like us. I did think I was alone!

  4. Darrell, I’m a big fan of your analysis and desire to grow. It’s the perfect mental balance to emotion and stupidity. It’s my first time on this site, but I’ll be back for more!

    1. Mike my new friend!

      Glad you stopped by!

      Most important thing first, what kind of dog are you holding? I’m huge dog lover. I have a shepherd myself. Best dog I’ve ever had. He is sitting at my feet as I type.

      Mental balance and stupidity. Yes! I love your to-the-point opinion because that it what it really is. I do stupid stuff all the time. Only recently did I determined I should learn from my stupidity!

      Yes, I encourage you to follow The Change Blog. There are a ton of interesting folks featured here from all over the world. I learn something new in every post.

      Much gratitude for stopping by and commenting.

      DC

  5. Hi Darryl, great post. Another term I tend to us for this is ‘scanner’ and it was a great relief when I found it! It was John Williams ‘Screw Work, Let’s Play’ that helped me initially. I tend to have short-lived ‘passions’ – I’ll be really interested in something for a few weeks/months and then move onto something else. Work-wise, I was the same – changing jobs every few years and doing different kinds of work although somehow managing to stay within a particular field. I used to think there was something wrong with me (when I compared myself to others) and occasionally I do get a bit frustrated with myself because I don’t often allow myself to get really good at something (I lose interest once I’ve mastered the basics!)

    I’m self-employed now so can do different things within that to earn a living and I do really enjoy what I’m currently doing – but I have changed the balance of the work I do to reflect my current interests! It means that I also have time for other interests that I don’t necessarily want to turn into an income stream.

    1. Hi Gina,

      This is what is so great about having a “scanner” passion; as soon as I read that you found solace in a work called “Screw Work, Let’s Play” by John Williams, I stopped dead in my tracks (dead in my reading of your note!) and googled that. My curiosity was peaked and I HAD to know what it was.

      More disciplined folks, I guess, would finish what they were doing and make a note to check it out later.

      Like you, I spent way too much time comparing myself to others and wondering why I didn’t have the drive to excel at one thing. I admit, sometimes I still wonder but now I have a greater understanding of what really urges me on and I don’t beat myself as much as I used to.

      You are very fortunate to be self-employed and able to pursue things on your schedule. I’m still working for “the man” but hope to get where you are soon.

      Many thanks for reading The Change Blog and contributing your voice.

      DC

      1. Ack. I can so relate! I’m a bit of a generalist too, but have stayed in the same job (understaffed) for so long that I feel run down and ill equipped for very much. Of course, I have many, state-dependent, transient and shifting passions–none of them suited to generating $, at my current mastery level. I recently (freaked out and) resigned without having another gig lined up.

        Darrell, the relief you felt at finding the blog you mentioned must be very like the relief I felt reading your article. I’ve been through a lot of similar soul searching (INFJ)–especially recently, in light of the joblessness. I intend to visit your blog poste haste. ;)

        And Gina, I too stopped dead… my clipboard is poised with: John Williams ‘Screw Work, Let’s Play’.. Thanks! I can really identify with your post. I’m REALLY glad to hear that you’re self employed and finding time for your many varied interests (bodes well for me, I hope). ;)

        Thanks, both! See you ’round the blogosphere, I hope!

    1. Karin,

      Thank you so much for asking. I feel terrible that I didn’t include these initially. As a fairly new guest poster I didn’t want to upset the apple cart with a bunch of outbound links. I’ll post them here so that others may take a look as well.

      Thanks again for reminding me. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      A few folks have been nice enough to point out that I forgot to include links to the two site where I found and received such great advice. My apologies. I will correct that here and now!

      The Multipotentioalite site is called PuttyLike and may be found here: http://puttylike.com/

      And it was Jonathan Milligan who referred me to PuttyLike: Jonathan may be found here: http://simplelifehabits.com/life-habits/4-tips-for-the-scattered-personality-type and here: http://bloggingyourpassion.com/

  6. Darryl,

    Thanks so much! I’m excited about checking into your blog and the other writers mentioned here and in the responses.

    I will add that I used to think that I am just arrogant because I have interest in doing so many different things. I’ve always held steady jobs but even in the ones I loved the most I always found myself interested in trying something else. Somehow that left me feeling unsettled and self critical. Now I just try to accept that I am a sampler, maybe like Gina’s scanner.

    1. Hi Charme,

      A sampler! I love that! May I use it?

      What a great way to describe ourselves.

      I understand what you mean about arrogance. If you are like me, and it sure sounds like you are, you learn new things real fast and then, well, been there done that.

      People who don’t understand us think we are arrogant because they see us as having learned a little and then we seem dismissive of that which they dedicate their lives to.

      On the contrary, they should be complimented because we only stop to learn about things that really interest us!

      I encourage you to accept you self-entitled moniker of “Sampler,” there is nothing wrong with that.
      As you can see, you are not alone!

      Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself.

      DC

  7. Darryl,

    That was a very insightful post. Thanks for that! You referenced a blog site for polymaths. Can you point me to that? Thanks.

  8. I grew up in an educator family. It was my parents passion to uncover their children’s passion and talents. Someone consider my brothers and I pretty lucky because our parents had that desire. The net result is I learned that I love to teach that I had a passion for drawing and I love to cook all of that at a very young age. As I grew I didn’t believe that was my passion. I just thought maybe they might be wrong. as it turned out they were right so here I am writing a blog about life stories to teach, food and wine because I love to cook in the kitchen. So I say congratulations on your discovery, that’s awesome. Continue on and live your life, be passionate about the things that you love and enjoy. In the end that’s all that matters. Great post my friend.

    1. Susan,

      It is great to hear from you! You are lucky to have had parents who were concerned that you do that which fulfills your needs not someone else’s.

      I’ve tried to do the same for my kids by not pressuring them into things; however, I sometimes think I may have left them directionless. Floating on a breeze.

      Time will tell. Teenagers are hard to peg!

      My wife, like you has a passion for cooking. Specifically baking. My waistline can attest to how good she is at it!

      Food is such a wonderful thing to be able to share with others because everyone needs it and it brings so many of the senses into play. I just need to reduce my passion for eating it!

      Thank you very much for visiting.

      DC

  9. For some people the question it is not “what is your passion” but what is stopping you from having one. From my work with my coaching clients I have found that it is a person’s core beliefs that stop them from their passion. It is these core beliefs that keep people from moving forward by creating a block from happiness and success. On the other hand a core belief can become the building block to success and forward momentum. To read more about core beliefs here is an article I wrote http://drbilltollefson.hubpages.com/hub/Open-Your-Mind-Heal-Your-Body-and-Expand-Your-Spirit

    Darrell I am happy that you have found that you do have a motivator to help you move forward. Kepp moving forward and thanks for the great blog!

    Dr. Bill

    1. Dr. Bill,

      I’m, glad you added your thoughts and experience to the conversation.

      The core beliefs you mention also keep us, or a least they kept me anyway, from excelling at corporate jobs.

      My core beliefs kept me from telling a white lie just for the sake of a sale. They kept me from treating customers as mere widgets in a never ending supply. My core beliefs kept me from involving myself in disgusting and useless office politics.

      In short they kept me from kissing –s!

      What you write is so true. Having stayed true to my core beliefs they are now lighting a new path, a better more fulfilling path.

      Thanks Doc, for the Rx!

      DC

  10. Daryl,

    I’m interested to know what teh two blogs are that you mentioned you happened upon to help you discover your multi-dimensional passions.

    Best,

    Kellie

  11. Love your writing, Darrell. A calling is usually nothing more than a habit we begin early in life combined with some sort of predisposition to it. Like the guitar for me. I began when I was 14 and now I am 43. I have never stopped practicing and therefore have a lot of experience so it is fun and I love it and it, but it does not feel like a calling. It feels like many 10s of thousands of hours of practice and years of guitar exploration.

    You are good at many things which is marvy, Darrell. Have a blaster of a day!

    1. CJ,

      I am having a blaster of day! Thank you.

      I only wish I had some musical ability but as you say, it is what we learn as kids that really stays with us. By that analogy I should be the cleaning person. Oh, right, I am!

      My mom was laid up for quite a while when I was eight-years-old and being the mama’s boy that I was I wanted to help. So I started cleaning and doing the laundry. I even had a schedule written up and details of what clothes went with what. What a little geek I was!

      I’ve been cleaning and doing laundry ever since!

      It must be great to have something like the guitar that not only are you good at but is fun for you as well. As you say practice makes perfect.

      Plus you are able to entertain people. I think people would find it pretty weird if they invited me over for a function and I said “Thanks for the invite! Now, where is the laundry room?!”

      Thanks for chiming in and also for the kind words.

      DC

      1. Thanks so much for your humorous and generous reply, DC! Someone somewhere out there must know a high-level laundry/cleaning position, you know, as one of your many multipotentialite ventures. Laundry room designer, engineer, specialist, cleaning consultant, programmer, delegator, etc.

        Or you could simply continue this delightful writing and services that you offer those who want to abandon crappy jobs. Wish I knew about you in 1999 after my first year of elementary music teaching!!!

        1. Thanks CJ.

          I’m not embarrassed to say that if someone came up to me today and said “I need you to organize the cleaning of this facility and make sure everyone’s uniforms are tidy”, I’d probably take it!

          It’s interesting that you picked out the delegator moniker as that is the one area in the corporate world where I sort of fit in visi-a-vis project management. I like to organize so it was a natural fit.

          Very perceptive of you!

          I’m with you. I would really like to continue on the web but there really isn’t any money in that for me. I’m just enjoying the heck out of it though!

          DC

  12. Great blog site, I don’t read all the entries, but do read them closer when I see something that looks familiar.
    I’m once again unemployed and after 92 days of trying, I’ve had only 1 in-person interview, 5 phone screenings that got screened to nowhere, and the only thing good about this is free time during the summer! (but can’t do as much as I would like due to cutting back spending).
    I’ve been doing desktop support for about 15 years (“office computer guy”) and I really feel that I don’t have the passion for it. My work has always been just that – work – then go home and persue my passions (and I have lots!). I had a professional do my resume and she saw my interests and said “you are quite the renaissance man!”. I always feel that I’ve done much more impressive things outside of work that I’m proud of than ANYTHING I’ve done at work.
    – Flight instructor
    – Backyard Astronomer
    – Kit plane builder (building a Van’s RV-7A aircraft)
    – Carpentry (mostly furniture for my home)
    – Sailor
    – Scuba
    – Photographer (mostly in my backyard observatory)
    – and more….

    I see jobs that I would fit in, but I don’t have a 4 year degree, so I’m shot down immediately. There is a space telescope startup here (ARKYD) that I tried several times to get notice. Working on spacecraft would be my ultimate dream job – but no – not an engineer or anything. Why can’t my interests and true passions ever work into a job that I would love?
    Years ago I made MANY attempts to become a real engineer, but calculus was the filter that blocked me from that. So my dreams of engineering was destroyed. I’m still annoyed over that and have just “settled” for computer jobs that don’t seem to pay as much as I should be paid. Now I just really want out of the corporate world of cubicles and being just a “number” in a large company, but just feel trapped.

    Anyway, just some venting while I search the job sites! Thanks for the great blog, I learn a lot from this and see that I’m not the only person with similar thoughts.

    T.

    1. Hi TG, I recently wrote a series of blogs for those stuck in a rut (I was once), if you go to my blog and look in the category ‘Change Jobs’ there should be some useful info there. I could put a link here but I think that would be bad blog etiquette. :)

    2. Hi TG,

      Man, I can feel your frustration in your writing and I way can sympathize.

      Like you, I spent a ton of money to have my resume tweaked to highlight my skills instead of my experience. Even so, it is really tough to convince people that you can do what they want you to do if you have never been “paid” to do it!

      Stupid corporate crap!

      I’m a bit of an anomaly because I left a family business that my dad turned over to me when he retired. With him gone it no longer held appeal for me and I felt as though I was stagnating.

      So I left it behind and went to school to earn my degree in…wait for it…Intellectually History.

      I’ve been happily employed in the intellectual history field ever since. Not!

      What I’m saying is that the degree thing is so not relevant to what many people do. It is another one of society’s “signs” of maturity and adulthood. Whatever that means.

      There is not one job I’ve had since I earned my degree that is relevant TO the degree.

      I really wish I had the answers for you here. I could make suggestions such as “Try this here and maybe this will happen.” But if you are like me it may just annoy you! Sometimes we just need to work through this stuff on our own timing.

      If you want to know how I made my switch. What I gave up to do it. And how long it took. That I can share and maybe it would help you as you keep moving forward.

      I really do wish luck on your job hunt because I know exactly what it feels like.

      Always, always stop here or at my pad if you need to vent. Venting is a good thing.

      Thanks letting lose!

      DC

    3. Hi TG,

      Man, I can feel your frustration in your writing and I way can sympathize.

      Like you, I spent a ton of money to have my resume tweaked to highlight my skills instead of my experience. Even so, it is really tough to convince people that you can do what they want you to do if you have never been “paid” to do it!

      Stupid corporate crap!

      I’m a bit of an anomaly because I left a family business that my dad turned over to me when he retired. With him gone it no longer held appeal for me and I felt as though I was stagnating.

      So I left it behind and went to school to earn my degree in…wait for it…Intellectually History.

      I’ve been happily employed in the intellectual history field ever since. Not!

      What I’m saying is that the degree thing is so not relevant to what many people do. It is another one of society’s “signs” of maturity and adulthood. Whatever that means.

      There is not one job I’ve had since I earned my degree that is relevant TO the degree.

      I really wish I had the answers for you here. I could make suggestions such as “Try this here and maybe this will happen.” But if you are like me it may just annoy you! Sometimes we just need to work through this stuff on our own timing.

      If you want to know how I made my switch. What I gave up to do it. And how long it took. That I can share and maybe it would help you as you keep moving forward.

      I really do wish luck on your job hunt because I know exactly what it feels like.

      Always, always stop here or at my pad if you need to vent. Venting is a good thing.

      Thanks for letting lose!

      DC

      1. Yes! You get it.
        I’m always very proud of the things I’ve done outside of work, and I often bring these things up in interviews hoping it will push them into seeing that I have a certain skill. I’m always asked how I deal with non-technical people. I always say I’m very patient and used my flight instructing -passion- as an example. I usually get a blank stare.

        I say how I have built a totally computerized observatory in my backyard, do they care? No.
        Do I have a 4 year degree? No.
        Can I go back to school? Sure, but I’ve never done well with exams. I do the assignments well, but when it comes to exams I lock up and fail.
        Do they look at my LinkedIn page and see that I’m very well rounded and not a total computer nerd? No.
        Do they care that I do things other than work? No.
        Can I prove to someone that just since I don’t have a fancy degree, I have a lot of experience and give me a chance? No.
        Does my job come before “life”? No.
        Do I want to get out of “cubicle world”? YES!!!!
        Am I frustrated? Yes!

        Grumble, grumble, moan…..
        (back to the basement to put some rivets in my kit plane) *sigh*

        T.

        1. TG,

          Stay away from the airplane glue!

          All I will say is keep applying, even for the weird stuff you think you would never get. One day you may hit just the right person.

          It happened to me. I was an Optician for 12 years…12 years! Then I went to school for four years; got my degree; and worked as a school counselor at Johns Hopkins (could not bring myself to leave the academic confines!) for three years.

          I finally got up the gumption to apply to be a construction manager. And you know what? I got the job! Great pay too.

          The division manger said “I see here that you really don’t have any actual construction appearance other than this little sideline painting business that you list.” I told him that was true, and then I decided just to lay it out there.

          I told him “I promise you that I can learn this job, really well, within three months so that anyone not in the know would think I’d done it my whole life. If I don’t feel free to fire me at the end of 90-days!”

          He hired me on the spot. No lie! And I performed and was promoted six months later!

          Look, they are pissing in your corn flakes now anyway, so you’ve got nothing to lose!

          Best of luck.

          DC

          1. Ha! :-)
            This plane is a real aircraft, no glue – yet. Just a lot of rivets. Google for “RV-7A” and you’ll see what I’m building with my girlfriend. I’m hoping this construction can give me credit toward hours required for an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) license to work on aircraft. That might open some other door sometime? I’m -Really- enjoying this project. But will an employer see these as useful skills? Not of they want some guy that can fix a Windows 7 computer. ….bleah….

            Anyway, good discussions going on here. I enjoy this blog since I feel many times that I’m not alone when reading the entries!

            TG

  13. Way cool to find so many like minded people in a matter of minutes! One of the few emails/article/blog I have actually completed reading.

    1. Greetings Jolie!

      Yup, we are out here. I always thought I was alone and what a great surprise to learn that there were others and that there is a name for us!

      I feel like part of a real group. If feels good.

      I’m glad this is one of the places you take the time to stop and read. The diversity here and the breadth of experience makes this one of my favorite spots on the web as well.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave your note. I mucho appreciate it!

      DC

  14. Great post Darrell.

    I too came to the realization that it is OK to NOT have a passion, and even better to free oneself from trying to find the one ‘true calling’. Some definitely need to find and follow their passion. For others of us, that can be such a limiting belief.

    I like the term Multipotentialite. It describes me so well. I know that I can do anything that I want to do, and be successful doing so. I also have a load of interests and pursue each one diligently (notice that I change every 5 years or so).

    Many have tried to convince me to stick with one thing and follow it. For me, that’s boring and akin to dying (for I would be giving up on my life).

    Reinforcement of one’s beliefs is great, and your post did that for me. THANKS

    Am now entering year 5 of my current interest pursuit – I wonder what will be next, and is it time to change? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, just thinking of the possibilities gets my mojo flowing!

    John B
    jb

  15. Welcome fellow traveler John,

    Interesting. Five years huh? That’s about where I am too and the itch is starting here as well. This time, however, I’m going to attempt a little bit of planning. That seat of the pants stuff is really tough!

    It’s great that you have lots of interests and the ability to make the changes necessary to keep yourself motivated. Change can be tough. I’m preternaturally cautious to the point where I can get stuck, but I’ve learned to push through.

    I’m with you, sticking to one job is boring as can be.The thing is to not listen to those who would have you stay where you are. They are frequently motivated by their own fears. And if you change it reminds them that they are stuck and not doing anything about it. What they really should do is follow your lead.

    I’m glad you found a similarity to yourself in the post. It’s nice to know we are not alone.

    Don’t let that mojo get you in trouble!

    DC

  16. Great article DC, love your writing! A multipotentialie… I like that. Despite outside pressures, I too gave up trying to fit into a single mold. Trying to adjust my curiosity or love of learning and denying my talents and gifts to be acceptable to others just didn’t work for me. I’m on my fourth major career with a couple of minor ones in the mix, successful and prosperous in all, right and left brain oriented. For me, if I apply the qualities of what I’m passionate about (curiosity, engagement, creativity, excellence…), pretty much any job can be fulfilling, interesting and stimulating. When a career runs its path, I look for something new and start to move in that direction. It’s all about my attitude and what I want to make work for me.

    1. Hi Lorna,

      Isn’t that what is so great about being a “scanner” or a “sampler” as Charme called us? Four major careers would have been unthinkable to our parents but now, and in the future, I think it will be be the norm rather than the exception.

      I’m starting to discover that there are more people like you and me than I ever imagined. Some have figured out a way to make it through, like you, others have a harder time.

      The best we can do is welcome them to the fold when they find us, and remind them that they – we! – are normal and everyone else is missing out on the fun!

      Love your attitude! Spread that around, we need more of it!

      Thanks for contributing.

  17. I’m the same way. It’s nice to know that there are others out there like this. I always think I’m the only person who is indecisive about myself.

    I’ve felt very very guilty not knowing what my passion is or “true-calling” in life if you will. People always ask me what I’m passionate about and what career path I plan on taking since I’m in college right now. I think I’ve changed my major at least four times in the last 7 years.

    I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I want and I sure as heck haven’t the slightest idea what direction I should be on. Do I conform to society? Do I just ride the wave? I don’t know…

    I’ve taken a hard look at my life and have noticed that there are certain things that I consistently do and have done throughout my lifetime that I never waiver from. One thing is my love of research and how I love to collect information, look for information and organize it. I love to search and search so when Google was invented I thought it was a gift from God himself! I love spending hours in the library, I love books always have. I love sewing, always have. I love cooking, always have. I love to garden and grow things. I love nature. Does this mean that I should make a career out of one of these things? I have no idea.. If for some reason it happens that way then it happens that way.

    Right now I’m taking Psychology and have one year left, what I will do with that degree I don’t know..

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Please don’t feel guilty that you don’t know what your calling is. I’m convinced that this a societal pressure and we are expected to conform as soon as possible.

      I suggest you attempt (wink) to stop thinking so hard about it and enjoy your last year of school. For a polymath there is no greater place to be. If I had the ability I would join you in a second.

      I’ve not made any career-like suggestions in any of my replies here today but since you are in college, and since I have a daughter in college, I think I’m going to break down and do it!

      Stay in academia! Not many people truly love research. You can combine research with all kinds of things including food, plants, and gardening.

      The best part about working at a college or university is that you can jump around from department to department or even university to university. Plus, the folks at a college are geared to help you learn. Well, the good ones anyway!

      Hope you don’t mind the advice. It’s the dad in me.

      Best of luck in your last year. Go and enjoy it.

      DC

  18. Gee, another polymath. I thought my husband was the only one. Are you also a flutterby going from one interest to another? I got to admit no dull moments in our household but a wonderful adventurous life

    1. Hi Roberta!

      Well yes, now that you ask, I am a flutterby!

      Your husband is definitely not the only one and I can tell, just from your note, that your husband is a genius and a scholar and your are darn lucky to have him!

      (If you should happen to hear from my wife, please state the above to her verbatim.)

      Thanks Roberta, for stopping by. I’m glad that your soul-mate has such an understanding and helpful spouse, as I do. I can’t imagine what it would be like otherwise. We are both very fortunate.

      Thanks again for your note.

      DC

  19. Darrell – Susan Cooper suggested I visit your guest post and I must say I am thankful she did. This was such an inspirational read. I too have searched for my passion and realized that I have so passions that I couldn’t begin to narrow them down for a career. I believe that finding your calling is not necessarily about passion but what you find rewarding in your work. Susan Cooper helped me find that rewarding career and that is why I created Virtual Admin to Go. I find it very rewarding to help people succeed and with that reward comes passion. I will be checking out your site and following your blog. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      That Susan Cooper, she has been very supportive of me. I must be sure to give her a personal thanks the next time I speak with her!

      I’m glad you found the essay inspirational and I appreciate your kind words. You must be so thankful to be able to do what you love as your everyday gig.

      I’m still working into a situation like that but I’m determined to get there. And when I’m determined, well,…you can guess!

      Thanks for visiting The Change Blog, and thanks for checking out my place as well.

      DC

  20. Hi Darrell,
    Fine posting here. The search for one’s life passion is a mystery to me …I just do what I enjoy and minimise stuff that I don’t. People tie themselves up in knots searching for their ‘true passion’.
    My ‘true passion’ is Living.

    Be good to yourself
    David

    1. Hi David,

      Well, you are one of the lucky ones! Scanners, polymaths or whatever you want to call us tie ourselves up in knots because the labor we sell for money is not fulfilling for us.

      Outside of our “careers” we are likely doing exactly what you do, minimizing stuff we don’t like and doing things that we DO enjoy.

      I’m so glad you you stopped by!

      Keep enjoying!
      DC

  21. Hi DC, my husband read this post and now I just had to read it too! He is the classical guitarist, and I am the “I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up” one. Actually, I do have a M.Ed. in education and am thoroughly enjoying running my own tutoring business. Does it bring enjoyment? Yes! Money? Yes! I feel that, because I worked very hard at it, I am proficient. This may be where my enjoyment comes from – well, in addition to seeing children learn to read and write, of course! Do I think this will be what I do for the rest of my life? I don’t know! As for the one thing that I love that I would do for free? Share what works in my marriage. We have been together for 15+ years and went from “existing” to “living” and are the happiest we’ve ever been. I suppose that is as close to a calling as I have in my life, and I’ll take it! I love meeting others who don’t have that “one thing” and thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Tammy,

      Give my thanks to your hubby for sending you this way to read my post. What a bright guy!

      I think it’s great that you find fulfillment in tutoring. The fact that you can actually earn a living at it as well is the cherry on the top.

      And even if you don’t tutor for the rest of your life as a “job” I imagine a skill such as tutoring is a life skill that you can utilize in almost any situation.

      Take your marriage for instance. What an awesome thing that you have had 15+ years of a happy marriage. We all know the statistics about marriages that go south. 15 years is an accomplishment to be proud of.

      As a professional educator you may be in a perfect position to help others who may be struggling to keep their marriage together. There are plenty of places that might benefit from your background and experience and if you wanted to volunteer your time, man, what a great benefit for folks who cannot afford to pay for couples therapy.

      Just spit-balling even though you didn’t ask! Heck, if I don’t start spending less time on the computer I’m going to need marriage counseling myself!

      Thanks for adding to the conversation!

      DC

      1. DC, what a thoughtful reply, and I love your spit-balling (had never heard that and must add it to my repertoire!). Yes, I hear you on the time-on-computer vs. face-time. We are very careful to say, “Ok! It’s time to talk!” It is beneficial that we blog together, have time limits and work together at our “day job”, and I would imagine if we didn’t, one of us would say, “Alright! Enough!” ;)

        Hope you’re enjoying your day!

        1. Thanks Tammy. I wish could blog with Jenny, my wife; however, she is one of those people who, when they get near a computer the computer immediately locks up!

          Oh well, she is an awesome cook, a great mom, and she puts up with me. What more could I ask?!

          DC

  22. Hey there,
    Umm, I too would like to do some venting and get some useful feedback, perhaps.
    I’m at a crossroads myself, I’m on my second year of college and I’ve got to make a choice on a career path which somehow is proving to be the hardest decision I’ve ever been faced with.
    Ok, from the beginning: I never had the passion for studying as such in school and my grades weren’t that great except for computer studies. I seemed to have a passion for IT, I used to do quite some programming and was known as the IT guy in class; always called upon to hack the school computers whenever needed. I thought that was it, that’s the dream. I’m going to be a computer engineer. But alas, things began to slip away. Bit by bit I lost the passion. I took math and applied ICT in A levels anyways. But messed things up and by the end of high school I didn’t care the slightest bit about IT.

    Time to go to college, I enrolled in a business program, finance to be exact. I spent a week in college before withdrawing. I hated the idea of studying again. I worked a few jobs here and there in events management, Motorsport, sales (which I abhorred – I would end up making fun of the clients), and even security management and protocol. I worked with my dad in his business for a while where I learnt alot about business.

    I honestly made it quite big for a “kid” wherever I worked, I would climb the company’s hierarchy at the speed of light and up in managerial positions in no time. However there was obviously a ceiling. I lost half the jobs either because of arguments with higher management regarding this ceiling (I was literally shown the middle finger by one of my bosses before i stormed out) or because I lost hope and found no reason working if I wasn’t going to grow and branch and learn new things and tackle bigger challenges.

    So I decided to go back to college. Obviously not into a business program anymore after all my experience. After alot of counciling which didn’t help I enrolled in a physics program thanks to a kind (and rather cute) lady at the admissions office who thought I had a “thing” for physics. But that’s not working. Jobs I hear are rare for physicists and many of my professors have urged me to a “proffessional job” where my talents would be appreciated (since I’ve got a CGPA of 4.0 the professors are all gaga over me).

    So I’ve set my eyes on engineering now. I’ve narrowed things down to civil or mechanical engineering, since they are, as I’ve been led to believe, the broadest fields. Civil from the study plan seems to be easier than mechanical and my heart tells me go easy. However mechanical seems to offer more stable and higher paid jobs and my walnut tells me to go mechanical. What would you say?

    I apologize for posting my sad life story here and yeah great post !

    1. Hh

      The world has changed since I graduated from Agricultural Engineering in 1986. In the 25+ years since I graduated, I have done civil engineering, mechanical engineering and others. I did this by focusing on construction contracts and project management, and not the design side of engineering.

      It is the understanding of engineering theory that has allowed me to succeed.

      A recent graduate who started work with us graduated in Mechanical Engineering. Since his start with us, he has been working in Civil and Municipal.

      Good employers will not be as concerned with what you have for a piece of paper. Their focus is that you have a piece of paper and have a willingness to learn and to succeed.

      Will it matter which one you decide? Likely only to you, and to employers that you probably do not want to work for (especially when viewed through the lense of 20/20 hindsight!).

      Go for one of them and have fun with the journey.

    2. Hh,
      Your frustration comes through in your writing. I can feel it. It is palpable. And I understand it.

      I’m so glad John Bulmer jumped in because the engineering/math side of my brain has an IQ of about 60.

      That being said, I did spend three years as an academic adviser at Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering program. At the time, the highest rated BME program in the country.

      And what John writes is true. Businesses will look to verify that you have an engineering degree; they will not focus in on the specific concentration necessarily. What you will have proven, even though we should not be “required” to go to college to prove such a thing, is that you are a capable and responsible learner.

      In engineering, where your calculations and decisions, if done incorrectly, can cost lives, this is simply how it must be done. You need the degree the get in the door.

      What I’m sensing that John didn’t discuss is that you may not even want to work in engineering. If I’m wrong tell me so. I’m wrong frequently.

      What I infer from you note is that you are extremely independent and capable of self-management. I would guess you don’t suffer fools gladly and, and that the seemingly arbitrary rules and “traditions” of the corporate world drive you nuts. And because you are smart you question the rules.

      I’m deathly afraid to steer you wrong because I’m not a certified life coach or career counselor. All I can do is offer the benefit of my experience.

      What I would do – and actually did do – if I was you is find the smartest, most beloved professor in the humanities depart at your university and meet with him or her. I know it may sound stupid, but there are two sides to the brain and it sounds like you fire a lot of neurons from BOTH sides.

      If you are seeking advice only in the engineering school you are neglecting the other side of your brain.

      Take my advice for what it costs. And by way of full disclosure, I am a humanities type of guy. These are the people I flock to when I get myself stuck and need to talk it out. Linear, mathematical analysis and thinking is no help to me in a personal struggle.

      Those are my thoughts.

      John B, I hope I did not insult your profession; that is not my intent.

      Hh, I wish you the best of luck. Find that individual you can confide in. Even if I’m wrong about everything I inferred from your note, you will receive great value from such a relationship.

      Good luck.

      DC

    3. Hh,
      Your frustration comes through in your writing. I can feel it. It is palpable. And I understand it.

      I’m so glad John Bulmer jumped in because the engineering/math side of my brain has an IQ of about 60.

      That being said, I did spend three years as an academic adviser in Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering program. At the time, the highest rated BME program in the country.

      And what John B writes is true. Businesses will look to verify that you have an engineering degree; they will not focus in on the specific concentration necessarily. What you will have proven, even though we should not be “required” to go to college to prove such a thing, is that you are a capable and responsible learner.

      In engineering, where your calculations and decisions, if done incorrectly, can cost lives, this is simply how it must be done. You need the degree the get in the door.

      What I’m sensing that John didn’t discuss is that you may not even want to work in engineering. If I’m wrong tell me so. I’m wrong frequently.

      What I infer from your note is that you are extremely independent and capable of self-management. I would guess you don’t suffer fools gladly and that the seemingly arbitrary rules and “traditions” of the corporate world drive you nuts. And because you are smart you question the rules.

      I’m deathly afraid to steer you wrong because I’m not a certified life coach or career counselor. All I can do is offer the benefit of my experience.

      What I would do – and actually did do – if I was you is find the smartest, most beloved professor in the humanities depart at your university and meet with him or her. I know it may sound stupid, but there are two sides to the brain and it sounds like you fire a lot of neurons from BOTH sides.

      If you are seeking advice only in the engineering school then you are neglecting the other side of your brain.

      Take my advice for what it costs. And by way of full disclosure, I am a humanities type of guy. These are the people I flock to when I get myself stuck and need to talk it out. Linear, mathematical analysis and thinking is no help to me in a personal struggle.

      Those are my thoughts and suggestions.

      John B, I hope I did not insult your profession; that is not my intent.

      Hh, I wish you the best of luck. Find that individual you can confide in. Even if I’m wrong about everything I inferred from your note, you will receive great value from such a relationship.

      Good luck.

      DC

      1. Thanks alot gents. I really appreciate the time you’ve put out for the elaborate replies. Project management does seem rather appealing to me John, sir. Actually it’s what first jumps to my mind when I think about a career in civil engineering. I guess that’s also where the most money to be had in civil engineering lies.
        My greatest fear though is to just pick one, then realise somewhere down the line that “this is not it”. Going back to college then is not an option. And you’re stuck, doing that thing for the rest of your life, looking over at your mechanical or whatever engineering mates for example and going like if only I could do that. I mean I have seen people who have regretted their career choices.

        I don’t know about the independent and self-management bit Mr. Darrell but the rest’s a bulls eye. I am not a staunch engineering proponent but it’s not bad. I’m game. I do have a thing for building stuff; I’ve built some furniture, a small boat, a foosball table( which used to be my friends bed.) and even worked on modifying a friends racing cart.I like architecture too and I’ve made dozens of mental building designs. I’m definitely game. I’ve always admired the true engineers and polymaths like Newton and Galileo. But in a highly specialized world like the one we live in, such characters are purely fictional. Things went from engineer which means “genius” to a 1000 fields of engineering, each teaching you a little more than integration and look that’s a hammer.

        But talking about humanities. I don’t know if it comes under humanities, a little towards social sciences perhaps – but I’m also interested in psychology, which is how I got here in the first place. But I guess such knowledge (like that of psychology) would be good as a side dish so to speak. I wouldn’t consider it as a career option. Maybe because I wouldn’t want to end up as a teacher for the rest of my life and in such fields if you ain’t teaching, you begging. lol. Just a crappy personal opinion, no offence to anyone.

        Sigh. I guess polymaths will never make it big in today’s world.
        Anyways I’m ranting again. I beg your pardon. Thanks for your replies again.

        1. Hh, au contraire – polymaths can make it huge in this world (let alone big). I consider my life as the best one going, and the only one I want to live. There are no significant regrets.

          Possibly the first step for you would be to simply a decision and pursue it, without considering what your mates are doing or not doing. Focus on thyself and the world is waiting to please you!! Or at least that is how I view it.

          Although I am educated as an engineer and work as an engineer, I never consider myself as an engineer. Far from it. I am me – I am John.

          Interesting to see that we have a common interest in Psychology. Have taken 3 or 4 courses so far. It is a hobby for me, although it does have a lot of applications to my job.

          One thing never to forget. Whatever you end up pursuing as a career, never stop learning. Life long learning keeps you alive, and your mind young.

          Good luck.

        2. Hh,

          Maybe I was a bit unclear but I wasn’t suggesting a shift to the humanities and/or the liberal arts as a career or college choice, just that you locate a professor in those areas to talk about what you are struggling with.

          It’s great to discuss with your engineering adviser, but input from people like John B, or a history or philosophy professor might give you a better understanding of what you may want to do.

          And whatever you do, just know it is not something you are stuck with forever. The world is full of examples of people who made 180 degree swings in their careers.

          Feel free to contact me any time, here or directly.

          All the best,

          DC

  23. From a Renaissance woman to a Renaissance man…I’ve often said I specialize in being a generalist (even though that’s not a popular thing to say, as everyone says we must find our niche, be specific.) I have many, many interests and passions, and I can sometimes suffer from “possibilities paralysis”…so many things I love and so many things I love to do.

    So for me, finding one’s passion isn’t about finding one thing…it’s about unearthing the motivation that propels you…realizing that the spark is within you, and you just need to fan the flame. One day it might be for this, another for that. When I work with clients, it’s not about finding “the” thing (just like it’s not about finding “the” answer)…it’s about recognizing that choice not chance determines one’s destiny, and that finding purpose is really what passion is all about. Cheers! Kaarina

    1. Hi Kaarina!

      I’m glad that you dropped in and appreciate your support. Thank you.

      I’ve never come across the phrase “possibility paralysis” but , WOW, that is a fantastic description. There are so many things that interest me – us – especially online, that the paralysis engulfs me before I even know it is occurring.

      Unearthing a motivation that propels us is another wonderful way to describe what drives us “scanner” types. What we are doing here,now, really gets me going excited and gets me thinking. I simply HAVE TO be here right now, in this moment, typing a note to you. That is passion to me.

      Trust me, as I type this in my “other” office there are about 20 other things I need to get to but this is still at the top of my list!

      I’m so glad that you took the time to visit The Change Blog and read my post.

      Many thanks.

      DC

      1. My pleasure :) I’m sure we’ll have many more interesting intersections, possibilities (that hopefully won’t be paralyzed, haha!) and conversations as we tread the Renaissance way. Cheers! Kaarina

  24. Hi Darrell,

    Loved your post! It took me a LOOONNNGG time to find out too what you found. I am a psychology professor in El Salvador, and I love reading and learning anything… Maybe if DaVinci were alive now, we would be his students! A Renaissance School! Great to hear you found your PATH! Thanks for your post!