Uncovering Your Passions: 10 Ways To Discover Your Passions15 min read

Share With Friends On:

My Facebook feed has been increasingly flooded by things I spent an ungodly amount of time engaging with as a kid. There was a video of my favourite video game back then and many stunning car pictures. And, even though I am no longer that into games or cars, I still felt nostalgic and couldn’t scroll away. 

So it got me thinking; Were those my hobbies, time wasters, or my genuine passions?

Many people grapple with the question of whether their interests are mere hobbies or genuine passions. I think there is an overlap as well as critical difference, and understanding this might give you an edge.

What Is Passion?

While our hobbies are interests or activities we enjoy during our spare time to ward off boredom or to relax, our passions are those interests or activities we find deeply meaningful and desire to engage in for as long as we can.

Passions are characterised by sustained engagement, a willingness to overcome obstacles, a sense of personal meaning, and a desire for mastery. When we’re passionate about something, we experience flow states and emotional fulfilment doing them. And, our passions often become intertwined with our identity.

Even interests often dismissed as just hobbies, play, or a waste of time can also be passions. For instance, some gamers delve into GPU specifications or game design principles, and some car enthusiasts become experts in car history and features. These individuals aren’t just enjoying a pastime; they’re exhibiting key hallmarks of passion:

  • Intrinsic motivation, independent of external rewards
  • Deep engagement and continuous learning
  • Identity formation around their interest
  • Emotional resonance and fulfilment.

Countless things fit into this definition: dancing to Afrobeats, creating social media skits, binge-watching Nollywood, playing street football tournaments, hairstyling, doodling, etc. And, it is hard to say which is more valuable than the other.

The Value of Passion: Why It Is Important To Pursue Your Passions

All genuine passions contribute to personal growth in one form or the other, bring satisfaction, and some even have the potential for greater societal impact or career opportunities. 

Take, for instance, Tunde Onakoya who turned his passion for chess into a vehicle to support underprivileged African children to get an education, or Hilda Baci who leveraged her passion for cooking to put Nigerian cuisine on the map and to inspire young African women to chase their dreams (whatever it may be).

Even seemingly trivial passions can lead to unexpected opportunities or impacts: entirely new fields can arise (like Isaac Newton, whose keen observations revolutionised our understanding of the universe with his laws of motion and calculus), awareness can be raised about often ignored issues (like Wangari Maathai, whose love for trees sparked the Green Belt Movement, highlighting deforestation), and small yet significant improvements can be made (like Chika Ofili, a 12-year-old Nigerian boy who received the ‘TruLittle Hero Awards’ for discovering a new mathematical formula).

This doesn’t diminish the value of passions with less obvious external impact. The personal growth, joy, and sense of purpose derived from any genuine passion are intrinsically valuable. In a world that is convoluted and often grim, passions can be all that keeps one afloat.

Sure, finding ways to channel our passions into a broader positive impact can add an extra layer of meaning, but this isn’t a prerequisite for a passion’s validity or worth. It is also okay to have multiple passions with some being more personal or impactful than others.

Fully embracing our passion(s) can guide us towards discovering our purpose and enhance our overall enjoyment of life. Whether it’s chess, gaming, cars, or any other pursuit, leaning into our passions can lead to a richer, more fulfilling life experience.

Get our free eBook on how to live a happy and meaningful life when you input your email now.

How To Identify Your Passion(s) In Life

We and our passions are like different types of vehicles on different terrains. Formula 1 cars excel on smooth racetracks, tractors do well in muddy fields, jeeps conquer rocky trails, and normal cars cruise comfortably on highways. Each vehicle struggles when placed in the wrong environment. But when matched with its ideal terrain, it performs effortlessly and efficiently. Similarly, when we align our lives with our passions, everything flows more smoothly and feels more enjoyable. We find ourselves navigating life’s challenges with ease, much like a vehicle on its perfect terrain.

Hence, figuring out your passion isn’t just about having fun; it’s about leveraging your strengths and contributing to the world in a way that is original, natural, and fulfilling. When you’re passionate, you can go further than those who aren’t passionate about it.

“Passion is like a fuel, it makes you excited to work harder towards it, it kind of makes work not feel like work.”

– Viktoria Sekrier

Below are some ways you can identify what your passions are in life;

Reminiscing On Past Exploits

Sit back and think about all the things people have given you accolades for doing very well, even though you didn’t see it as much. Maybe you helped them paint their room, explained a maths problem, or simply fixed a light bulb. 

I recall how my roommate and I went on a painting rampage after we painted our room and had lots of neighbours and friends come and admire it. We started off by painting the rooms of those neighbours and friends, then friends of those neighbours and friends, and on and on. Soon the Engineering Department in my School reached out to us, and we were awarded the project of painting the Engineering lecture halls. 

What do you have a flair for doing? Think back on what you did so well people started giving you accolades. Maybe you should double down on those. 

Check The Browser History

The places we visit on the internet speak volumes of who we are. Unless you’re a writer who has to Google a myriad of bizarre topics, you probably have a few topics that you search about on the regular. 

You may be the type that loves searching about health-related content, or maybe you’re more of the tech person, or the arts, or something more niched – like ceramics, pet fishes, or antique watches. I don’t know…

What is it that you love learning about? Perhaps you’ve even been called a weirdo for having such interests. Maybe that is the thing you should pay more attention to.

Scrutinise Your Social Media Feeds 

Social media algorithms are great at identifying our interests (that is how they get us hooked and scrolling). If you’re interested in fashion and design, you will have a lot of posts suggestions and page recommendations in line with your fashion interests. It is also expected that most ads that would be served to you would be fashion-related. 

Hence, by intentionally observing what pops up on your social media feed, you can have a sort of objective perspective of what your interests are. 

I understand that our feeds are not all 100% our interests, some might just be trends or bad news, and even most of the things we engage with could be memes and skits, but look closely. What is the underlying theme (aside from the noise)? Not even everything is funny to everyone; so there’s still something to glean from those. 

The more you find a specific type of content repeating itself, the more you know that it is what you truly love. Maybe you’re into Ankara and wedding gowns. Maybe you love art and poetry, or maybe you’re all about healthy living. 

Ask yourself, what have you been seeing and enjoying online lately?

Look At Your Receipts 

Aside from our basic needs, spending money comes with a lot of emotional investments – we seldom spend money except we feel it is worth it. So, even if some aspect of your internal world may be hidden from your eyes, your behaviour with money can expose it.

Check the receipts; Look at the things you have bought, then ask yourself why you spent your money on those. Consider the things which you have spent the most money on or often pay for repeatedly. 

For example, I’ve invested a lot in books and courses. Needless to say, I have a keen interest in writing. And I’ve found more satisfaction and purpose in my life doing it. 

What have you been spending money on?

Focus on your unique characteristics and strengths

Many complicate this already complex journey by mindlessly emulating others, forgetting that apart from our distinct physical and mental traits, our environment (family, culture, religion, society, country) shapes what resonates most deeply. A muscular man may excel in boxing over sprinting. An empathetic woman may thrive in healthcare over military life. Even entrepreneurial pursuits face varying challenges across different societies.

While learning from others is wise, we must remember that we’re all dealt unique cards. 

Don’t ignore or fight what/who you are – male, tall, black, etc. Lean towards your natural inclination – be it art, logic, design, etc. 

Ask Your Loved Ones

Ask your friends and family to tell you what they think you’re good at. It may surprise you, but it may be clear to everyone else that you are good at sewing, singing, or cooking, whilst you take these things for granted. 

Simple observations like this can mean the difference between deciding to take the Music career path or becoming a Chef. You can even press on to find out what kind of dish or music they think you are better at…The more information you gather, the better. 

I never dreamt of being an artist, but as more and more people admired my scribbles, I decided to make them more than scribbles, and that was how I became a professional artist – earning wages for playing with art.

You can ask them:

  • What do you think I’m a natural at?
  • What do you think are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What other thing do you think I will be great at (supposing I’m not doing what I’m doing at the moment)?
  • What would you be willing to have me teach you or do for you?

Track Your Energy Levels

Start an energy journal to track how the activity you indulge in leaves you feeling.  Make time to write down how different activities – whether it’s work-related, a hobby, or just hanging out with friends – affect your energy and mood.

Don’t just focus on the big things. That 30-minute doodle session while on a boring call? Log it. The time you spent reorganising your bookshelf? Note it down.

It doesn’t have to be a complicated log. You can use a simple scale:

  • Energised or thrilled
  • Neutral or bland
  • Slightly drained
  • Exhausted and demotivated

You can give yourself two weeks to gather enough data. After that time, look for patterns. Which activities consistently energise you? Which ones leave you feeling drained? You might be surprised to find that some things you thought you enjoyed actually deplete your energy, while others you’ve been taking for granted give you a real boost.

Remember, your passion isn’t just about what you’re good at – it’s about what makes you feel alive. If you find yourself consistently energised by certain activities, even if they seem trivial, pay attention. That spark of energy could be pointing you towards your true passion.

Take A Personality Test

Now, this might be strange to you, but a personality test can help you figure out what your personality type is better at doing. It is like perusing Horoscopes, only that it is backed by science and statistics. 

I’d recommend 16personalities.com because of its friendly interface, stunning visuals and animations, and use of simple words in explanation. It’s really cute, and I think you should check it out. Besides, you also get to know some great people who share the same personality as you. 

For instance, I share the same Personality as Albert Einstein – because we are both Logicians. Anyway, remember, the aim is not to be like someone else, or fight who you are, but to embrace it fully to maximise your potential and talents. 

So, take a personality test today to better know who you are.

Experiment and Explore New Activities

Sometimes, our passions aren’t apparent, or may not be within our routine lifestyle. That’s why it’s crucial to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Channel your inner child and be adventurous. It’s like trying to find a date – you don’t just sit and wait for the perfect one to walk through the door; you go out and meet different people, connecting with those that pique your interest. And, just like getting to know someone better after connecting takes a while, passions too need time to crystallise. You may not know how much you enjoy something until you overcome that initial stage of confusion or not knowing what to do. Only then can you start experiencing flow and genuine enjoyment.

Challenge yourself to try out new things. You don’t have to fully commit to any activity. Just take on mini-challenges that will help you gauge your interest without feeling overwhelmed.

Your true passions might be just outside your usual routine. Go find them.

Consider What You Would Still Do Even If There Was No Success 

Does it light up your soul? That should be the most important question. 

No way is easy. To make headway in any direction you must surmount immense obstacles. People who do things with the sole aim of succeeding – gaining external rewards of some sort – often get discouraged somewhere along the long, unforgiving path. 

That is why you need passion – a motivation that springs from your soul. You should be able to do it whether you are getting accolades or mockery. You should do it because it is the reward.

You have to enjoy the thing itself – be it cooking, singing, dancing, writing, etc. – in order to paradoxically succeed. And, perhaps, it is the reason the greats, the truly passionate people who succeed often don’t put the money, fame, or whatever success brings on the pedestal.

Charles Bukowski, a famous American poet, novelist, and short story writer, even argued that to succeed as a writer, you have to be willing to keep writing even if it means spending your money, sacrificing comfort, giving up love, risking rejection and isolation (he even called isolation a gift), etc. It should be something beyond you – something you want to spend the rest of your life doing – something you may even be willing to die doing.

Now, while I understand that there is such a thing as obsessive passion which can be quite toxic, the point is that you have to find your passions intrinsically beneficial.

“Allow yourself to shine, without the desire to be seen.”

– Unknown

Conclusion: Passion is Not Comfort, It Is A Call To Adventure

Not many people take the time to consider their natural inclinations and what they should invest their time in. Few people discover their passion, and even fewer live it. As a result, most people never maximise their full potential. Yet, they do live quite comfortable lives.

You can live your entire life without ever figuring out your passion, and you may find that life to be quite comfortable and pleasing. Meanwhile, someone who discovers their passion might end up living a more stressful life – take, for instance, a person who realises their passion and life purpose is in fighting forest fires, feeding children in war-torn countries, or boxing. 

But as Jeff Bezos once said, “You can choose a life of ease and comfort or you can choose a life of service and adventure. Which one of those, when you’re 90 years old, are you going to be more proud of?”

Book Recommendations To Help You Find Your Passion

  • Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, by Hector Garcia Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles
  • Mastery, by Robert Greene
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Real World, by Cal Newport
  • The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Did you enjoy reading this or do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments section. Also, don’t forget to share this content with friends and family, they may also find it helpful. Thank you.

Below are some other content you might enjoy reading:

Dick David is a freelance SEO content writer and editor with over 7 years of experience in content writing, digital marketing, and sales. He is the founder of Pawns Digital Agency. Throughout his career, he has authored over 4 books, published hundreds of SEO articles attracting thousands of monthly visitors, ghostwritten numerous works, and edited hundreds of content pieces across various industries. Currently, he works with Robert Taylor Media and has also worked with Tobi Digitals and Branditechture Design Agency, among others.

Get our free eBook on how to live a happy and meaningful life when you input your email now.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply