“The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now.” ~Robert G. Ingersoll
It seems that in recent years people have really started waking up to the fact that they can do what they love, which is great. But what’s not so great is when it makes you miserable.
Finding your passion can become another goal to be achieved in the future.
Suddenly you find yourself believing that if you could just find that perfect passion, your life would be perfect and then you’d finally be happy. But life doesn’t work that way.
You already have passion, joy, and purpose in your life. Following your passion is about starting where you are and realizing that all you have to do is follow the passion already present.
Let’s Start with the Problem
The core problem is waiting for something to happen. It’s believing that you can’t be passionate and happy right now.
You didn’t come into this world understanding the concept of passion. When you were a child, you enjoyed life as it was, without concepts and without shoulds.
In my own life, I noticed the tendency to think that if I could only get something or achieve my definition of success, I’d be happy.
For example, I used to think that money would make me happy. Then I earned more and nothing changed. I was still me.
After that, I thought that a relationship would make a difference, but I was still me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my partner, but it’s not up to her to make me happy.
I changed because I got sick of chasing happiness in the future and saw how this created suffering.
I was lucky to realize this at an early age. Right out of high school, I became a professional poker player because it allowed me to travel the world and make more money than I needed.
When I first started playing I enjoyed it, but as the years passed I did it solely for the money, and it prevented me from doing what I truly loved.
I now know that what I’m truly looking for is what’s already inside of me. I still get caught up in my old patterns of waiting, and when I do, I become miserable and powerless. I start losing hope. I start questioning whether I’m on the right path. And I wonder why life has to be so hard.
But then I bring myself back. I take a deep breath, and I settle into the present moment. I realize that while following my heart is tough at times, it is the only way forward.
The Art of Being Happy
As I bring myself back to the present, I notice what brings true happiness into my life. And that is to simply follow the nudges of my heart.
I might notice that I need a rest, so I’ll listen to what I feel interested in. I might read a book, watch a movie, or play with my son, Vincent.
What makes your heart sing will be different from me. What matters is that you listen to and follow your interests, passions, and fascinations.
Living a passionate life doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in love with your life 100 percent of the time. It doesn’t mean that you never come up against challenges.
In fact, the opposite is often true. You face more challenges because you need to let go of a lot of limiting beliefs, fears, and doubts. You will often know where your heart is pulling you, but you may not believe it’s possible. If you can let this baggage go, you’ll be well on your way.
Following your passion means listening to those inner nudges. Because what living a passionate life comes down to is being happy in this moment. And to increase the happiness in your life, you have to do what makes your heart sing.
Sometimes these nudges will be a subtle whisper, an inspirational feeling, or simply a thought that pops up out of nowhere while you’re washing the dishes.
If finding your passion is making you miserable, the solution is to stop waiting. Stop believing in the lie you tell yourself that if only you could have this or that, everything would be fine.
Stop waiting and take an inspired step. Center your attention in your heart and notice where you feel pulled. Let go of what may come out of it and just enjoy the ride.
Use What You Have, Where You Are
Put down the heavy baggage of what you think passion should look like and accept the way life is right now.
Notice what you’re interested in, and above all, notice where your heart is pulling you.
It’s not by listening to other people that you’ll uncover the life you want, but by listening to your heart.
You are the expert on what you need. You have to be willing to take responsibility and stop thinking that some event in the future will make things better.
A simple way to connect with your heart is to sit down, take a few deep breaths, and focus your attention on your feelings. There may be pain, but sit with it. Feel it fully. As you do this more and more, your connection with your heart will deepen, and you’ll activate your inner GPS.
A Question You Can Ask
Another way to connect with your inner wisdom is through writing. Ask yourself questions that help you uncover the gold inside you and then write until you run out of words.
You don’t have to be a writer to do this. And you don’t need any particular tools. All you have to do is write down what goes on in your mind. Even if you don’t come up with anything coherent, you’ll get more clarity and feel better.
To get you started, here’s a question you can ask: “In the future, when you’re already living a passionate life, what advice would you give to the present you?”
I know we touched on focusing on the now, but asking a question like this is helpful because it helps you bring resources from the future into the present moment.
Always remember to live life from this moment. Do your best with what you have, and forget the rest.
“What If I Feel Lost?”
Life is always in transition. If you try to figure life out, you’ll feel lost and overwhelmed. If you try to control life you’ll feel powerless, because it’s not up to you to control life.
It’s not being lost that is causing you grief but thinking that you shouldn’t be. If you drop the thought that you’re lost, you’re just living life right now, which is all you need to do. It’s all you can do.
When you let go of any need to get anywhere, or be someone, you immediately relax. The problem isn’t about feeling lost or stuck. Those are concepts you’ve learned.
When you center yourself in your heart and follow your inner joy, you’ll get to where you need to be.
The Bottom Line
Following your passion has the power to change your life, but it can also make you miserable if you make it into another thing you have to achieve before you can be happy.
You have to be willing to walk your own path. You have to be willing to listen to your heart and follow what feels true for you.
The reason there is so much conflicting advice out there is because different people need different paths. If you try to listen to everyone, you’ll end up confused.
That’s why it’s important to tap into your inner wisdom via meditation or writing. Center yourself in your heart and notice where it’s pulling you, then take the first step.
Let life take care of itself. Relax and enjoy the ride, because that’s all you can do. Set the intention to be happy first, and your passion will come to you. And if it doesn’t, so what? You keep on going.
About Henri Junttila
Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where you can get his free course: 7 Steps to Building a Lifestyle Business Around Your Passion. He's also the author of Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself and Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life.