“More than intelligence or persistence or connections, curiosity has allowed me to live the life I wanted.” -Brian Grazer, book A Curious Mind
“Passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause.” –Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, book Designing Your Life
“Follow Your Passion” isn’t always the right advice. Especially for a young person.
Most people don’t know what they’re passionate about. Let alone have a passion. Studies including one from William Damon, director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence show that only one in five young people between twelve and twenty-six have a clear vision of where they want to go, what they want to accomplish in life, and why. Other similar studies suggest that 80% of ALL ages don’t really know what they’re passionate about. (These studies are referenced in the excellent book “Design Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.)
Passion comes from doing things. Seeing what you like, what you’re good at, what you’re interested in.
So instead, why not follow your curiosity as author Elizabeth Gilbert suggests below….
I am a big advocate for the pursuit of curiosity. You’ve maybe heard me talk about this before? We are constantly being told to pursue our passions in life, but there are times when passion is a TALL ORDER, and really hard to reach. In seasons of confusion, of loss, of boredom, of insecurity, of distraction, the idea of “passion” can feel completely inaccessible and impossible. In such times, you are lucky to be able to get your laundry done (that sometimes feels as high as you can aim) and when someone tells you to follow your passion, you want to give them the middle finger. (Go ahead and do it, by the way. But wait till their back is turned, out of civility.)
But curiosity, I have found, is always within reach.
Passion is a tower of flame, but curiosity is a tiny tap on the shoulder — a little whisper in the ear that says, “Hey, that’s kind of interesting…”
Passion is rare; curiosity is everyday.
Curiosity is therefore a lot easier to reach at 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 a 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.
Keep doing that, and I promise you: The curiosity will eventually lead you to the passion.
And that’ll be the end of boredom.