8 Common Reasons Why People Never Find Their Life Passion

Too many people in the world are living lives of quiet desperation.

They get up, go to a job they don’t like, come home and watch a few hours of TV, go to bed, and do it all over again the next day. That’s not a life.

Some of us have lives less desperate than this, but still we feel empty and unhappy. Maybe we have times of happiness and fun, but mostly we think about the life we wish we were living. Even though we don’t quite know what that would look like.

When I talk about finding and living your life passion, I mean far more than finding a career you love or a hobby that’s entertaining or volunteer work that is fulfilling. I’m talking about an entire lifestyle that is imbued with passion and powered by a passion source. That passion source may manifest in a career or avocation or something else entirely.

But whatever it is, it colors the entirety of your life for the better.

When I talk about life passion, I’m talking about something big. Something bold. A total mind shift that changes the way you think about yourself and how you operate in the world.

Does that mean you have to give up your job or start over? Not necessarily. But maybe. It depends on you and what is most important and less important and worth sacrificing or pursuing based on your particular desires for a passionate life. Are you confused?

Let’s make it simple. You must decide you want a passionate life because you believe it’s a goal worth pursuing. Once you decide to pursue it, the details are manageable.

But most people don’t get that far. They don’t get past the first gate when they think about life passion and allow their minds to wander a bit toward what it might take them to get there. Then they turn around and scurry back to the status quo.

They don’t see passion as a goal worth pursuing because they aren’t clear on the result. They don’t know what a passionate life looks like. Of course it differs for everyone depending on their specific passions and lives, but there are some general qualities of a passionate life.

It looks like this:

  • You have a general sense of enthusiasm and purpose.
  • You feel deeply engaged in your passionate pursuit.
  • That engagement and the joy it brings spills over into other areas of your life.
  • You are forced to simplify your life because you want to spend more time doing what you love.
  • Problems and life difficulties diminish because you are happier and have fewer complications.
  • You have better relationships because you are more attractive, positive, and interesting.
  • You frequently experience the sense of being “in the flow.”
  • Even when you aren’t proficient at your passion pursuit, you enjoy the practice of it and the process of learning.

Think about people you know who are living passionate lives. If you can’t think of anyone, take a look at Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins, or at these passionate regular people. Is it worth pursuing a life passion? Only if you want a passionate life — like these people.

But so many people never find their life passion because they sabotage their search before they really get started. Here are some of the most common ways people undermine the most important pursuit they could ever undertake.

1. They don’t believe it’s possible.

Sometimes people begin the process with serious doubts about finding their passion. They just fundamentally believe that life is meant to be difficult and that happiness and fulfillment are out of their control. Or they believe the myths about finding their passion they may have heard or read.

2. They think life passion is silly, unrealistic, or too idealistic.

There are those who believe the entire notion of having a life passion is indulgent at best and a waste of time at worst. Some people are not comfortable creating their life around happiness and purpose. Perhaps they are motivated by money, power, a sense of responsibility, or a general seriousness about life.

3. They don’t give themselves the time.

The journey of finding your life passion takes some time. It involves self-discovery work, research, trial and error, and experimentation. This requires carving an hour or two out of your week to work on it. But many people aren’t proactive about this. They just hope that a life passion will magically appear.

4. They are overwhelmed.

Their lives are so complicated, busy, cluttered, and over-scheduled that the idea of adding one more thing — even if it could create balance, order, and happiness — is too overwhelming. They put a passion search at the bottom of the priority list.

5. They aren’t emotionally healthy.

People who are living with depression, anxiety, anger, and other debilitating emotions don’t have the energy to devote to finding their passion. They might try, but they will quickly lose enthusiasm and interest. The emotions must be treated and the root cause addressed before beginning a passion search.

6. They are stuck in their thoughts.

Thought without action will get you nowhere. You need to think through your options and the possible pros and cons. But eventually, you must take action. People who are stuck in their thoughts are too afraid to do anything for fear it’s the wrong decision. But a wrong decision is better than no decision, and often the wrong decision leads to something better than expected.

7. They underestimate themselves.

Some people just don’t believe they are capable of doing what needs to be done to create their lives around passion. They don’t believe they are smart enough, creative enough, deserving enough, or good enough. They assume that their perceived limitations will get in the way of living their passion even if they find it.

8. They give up too quickly.

Finding a life passion involves trial and error, practice, and patience. Many people view the process of finding a passion to be confusing and arduous so they give up when the going gets hard. But it doesn’t have to be hard. If you view the process the way you would perceive an interesting mystery, it can be fun and engaging. Most of the learning and growth happens in the process of the search.

Are you dealing with any of these roadblocks preventing you from taking the first step toward a passionate life? 

Are you trying to figure out . . .

  • How to overcome roadblocks on your passion journey.
  • How to deal with the fears and limitations holding you back.
  • How to decide between your many interests for a passion pursuit.
  • How to develop one interest when it feels like you have no passion.
  • How to find balance when recreating your life.
  • How to determine life priorities and eliminate the unnecessary.
  • What skills and aptitudes are most important for you.
  • How to enjoy the process of experimentation.

If you need guidance on your life passion journey, grab a copy of my book, The 52-Week Life Passion Project and begin the process of discovering the work you were meant to do.

Comments

  1. That’s awesome, Barrie!

    Good luck with the new site… it looks great.

    P.S. LOVED this post… you absolutely hit everything on the head when it comes to living your passion. Will definitely be checking into your new site regularly 🙂

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Brendan,
      Thank you so much for your warm wishes — and I’m so glad you liked the post. I look forward to seeing you here and there. 🙂

  2. R.M. Koske says:

    Number five makes me want to cry. So that’s why my progress (not even sure if it IS progress) has been so slow. At least now I know. I’ve been chipping away at solving my emotional troubles anyway.

    How do you tackle depression when you’re living a life of quiet desperation? (For now: deep breaths, physical exercise, journaling, and routines. Chin up, dig in, and keep trying.)

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi R.M.,
      Oh, it is so hard to make progress when you are depressed. For every step forward, your emotions pull you back down. I think you tackle depression with help and support. Doing the self-care is important — but getting treatment from a professional through counseling and/or medication is more important. I hope you will make getting emotionally healthy a real priority and find a really good doctor to work with you. It will be the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself! 🙂 If you have the energy to take just one action, make this be the one.
      Hugs to you!

  3. Finding my passion has been a long drawn-out, sometimes torturous process! But now that I’m there there’s this HUGE sense of relief. A massive part of my brain, which before was being used to figure out what I wanted, is now free to be creative and just get on with life. It’s an amazing feeling but it has taken years to get to this point. So thank you for your post. Perfect timing!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Katherine,
      Yes we do spend so much brain power trying to “figure it out.” I’m so thrilled you found yours, and I wish you great happiness and fulfillment with it. Congratulations!!

  4. veronica wambui says:

    hey Barrie. Thank you for sharing. Guilty as charged. I tried a passion and in the initial stages got too challenged and discouraged to continue, i actually gave up. With the newly acquired information, am now set to start up again. Thank you Barrie.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I’m so glad Veronica! Don’t give up. You will learn so much about yourself. I hope you will visit me at my new site to get some inspiration. 🙂

  5. The title of the post itself intrigued me! I was basically ticking off the points as you delineated them and making a mental note alongside as to what my problem areas actually are. It is always nice to know that there is a practical solution indeed for improvement. I’m too imbecile for philosophy perhaps! Made a note after reading this, making a minor tweak in my daily schedule.
    Thank you for a lovely post!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Rohit,
      There are practical solutions for improvement, but sometimes it feels so overwhelming we don’t know where to start. If you make enough minor tweaks in your life, you will create major change!

  6. Barrie!

    Really like the new website especially since it’s your name and also your photo right on the home page 🙂

    Also, liked the comment you made above . . . “Even when you aren’t proficient at your passion pursuit, you enjoy the practice of it and the process of learning.” I often find myself in that situation!

    Kurt

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you for your kind words Kurt. My kids always tell me that they like the weeks before Christmas better than they like Christmas Day. It is excitement, preparation, planning — the process — that brings the most joy.

  7. Candice J says:

    I literally have tears in my eyes ( at my desk at work) because I know I’m not living my life passion. I don’t know what it was about this article…but I have some work to do when I get home…I do not want to live a life that I’m not passionate about thank you…

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Candice,
      I’m sorry my article provoked tears — but maybe it’s the start of something great for you. I sure hope so. The very first step is to carve out the time to do the work to find you passion. Give yourself that gift! 🙂

    • Austin Kidder says:

      unfortunately because of replies like this I believe your article is well intended but a bit dangerous because it is essentially telling people it is not ok to live a normal life, which most people do.

      Your reasons do not include normal life circumstances like having to support a family and also carry a bit of post hoc reasoning meaning some people are stuck in their thoughts and cut themselves short because life has taught them to be that way rather than they taught life to be that way.

  8. Best of luck with your new site Barrie and…..here’s to a (continuing) passionate Life.
    be good to yourself
    David

  9. Wonderful post Barrie.

    I was fortunate to be raised in a family that was passionate, a bit crazy but passionate. For most of my life I have followed my passion or as I often refer to it my cosmic bread crumbs.

    My grandfather told me if you are going to be a street sweeper be the best street sweeper you can be. He had such passion for life his definition of doing your best job included doing the job with love, joy and passion.

    I am grateful I have the life I have. I live in Hawaii, write books and teach all over the world. In the process of getting here I waited on tables and cleaned houses. I brought my passion to that as well. I looked at waitressing as being of service and blessed the food. When I cleaned someone’s home I polished and cleaned with love.

    Bringing your passion to even the ‘boring’ things in life allows our magical, fun filled passionate life to show up a lot quicker.

    Thanks again Barrie for reminding me about passion.
    Susan

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Amen to that Susan. I couldn’t have said it better. You are an inspiration! 🙂

  10. ok, so I know I am capable of achieving a great life but I just don’t have anything I am passionate about. Where does one start to find that think that lights the fire inside them?

  11. it is depressing how depressed people are nowadays. They want too much, climb down from Your success ladder and be happy with what You’ve got. Bless Your children, Your husband, Your boss and bless the country you are living in. You can’t take anything with you when you die, material things are crap! Giving is more fulfilling then taking that should make You happy! Stop being so selfish! 90% of people in the world are living in poverty, You are not one of them!

  12. I really liked reading your blog, it made me feel better, I like how you write and it gives me hope. I do enjoy many activities but none make me feel passionately but I am continuing to try to find that thing that does.

  13. Well with many women nowadays that are very picky which certainly has a lot to do with it, and there are many of us good single men that are still very much available. Where are the Good Women nowadays?