I’m Not ‘Passionate’ About Anything

But I am interested in many things

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

When I type in “definition of passion” into Google, this is what appears:

Passion: strong and barely controllable emotion.

Plus something about the death and suffering of Jesus. Anyway. I am of a mind that language belongs to those who use it, and meanings can be subjective depending on the intention. For me, when I see or hear the word ‘passionate’, my mind begins building stories of “doing it for the art!” or athletes punishing their bodies again and again because they are passionate about it.

I tend to view passion as an all-consuming desire, and I see a lot of examples of those who experience this deep emotion about that one thing, whether they gain success in that endeavour or not. In my own experience, I used to think I was passionate about music. I play instruments and have studied music my whole life. I do sometimes get emotional about the way certain music can make me feel, but I never thought I had that level of passion I saw other people had about it. To me, it was just something I was knowledgable about and good at doing.

Then when I compared my experience with others, I became quite depressed because why didn’t I have that one thing? Am I just some kind of emotionless robot? How do I respond to “follow your passion!”?

What if, like me, you don’t experience that level of passion, for anything?

I Shifted My Mindset

Or rather, my mindset was shifted. I came across the book What Do I Do When I Want To Do Everything? By Barbara Sher (not an affiliate link). She talks about coming across people who have lots of interests or abilities and finding ways of persuing all of the things that one is interested in learning about or doing.

You see, while I’m not necessarily ‘passionate’ about something, I do have a lot of interests. Typically I’ll focus my energy on two or three at a time. For example, at the moment I’m interested in writing, reading more and painting. Though I have dipped my toes into marine biology, photography, videography, mathematics, language learning, fitness… you get the point. I discovered these along the way of searching for a singular passion to guide me in answering the question of my purpose in life.

Barbara Sher would call me a “Scanner”. She gives this name to those who, instead of diving down into the depths of one area of interest, we will scan the horizons in search of many.

“Unlike those people who seem to be satisfied with one area of interest, you’re genetically wired to be interested in many things.”

While I’m not so sure about the science of that statement, it did feel validating knowing that I wasn’t the only person that experiences life in this way. Being someone who will become interested in something long enough to get some benefit from the experience and then let it go to move onto something else is quite liberating. Some might call that being ‘uncommitted’ but whatever.

It’s okay to be interested in lots of things when ‘the one’ doesn’t emerge for you.

I’ll carry on reading books about the mathematics of coincidences while painting landscapes and writing about personal growth habits outside of a day-job until I move onto other stuff because that’s just what I enjoy doing.

Aspiring Polymath | Freelance Writer | Business PhD Candidate | He/Him | alexanderbboswell.com

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