“Find your passion” has gotta be one of the most broken-record phrases ever repeated throughout someone’s life. It’s difficult to fathom anyone who hasn’t been told at one point and while it’s great that you might already be in a position where that “passion” represents your career or your job, I’m come to believe it’s equally important to have something you’re also passionate about but that you selfishly pursue outside of the confines of normal work hours.
It’s no surprise to anyone at work that I’m “passionate” about photography. In fact, I’m the guy most co-workers come to with anything related to the topic. Regardless of how good we may be at our profession, it’s up to us to establish /some/ form of parameters that reminds us that what we do for a living is not the only label that defines us. There’s more to us that just being a friend, a co-worker, a boss, a spouse, a partner, etc. The catch is that it’s up to you to discover and explore what the selfish pursuit is.
From experience, here’s a few reasons I believe you should place emphasis on having something you pursue outside of work for yourself even if it means being selfish at times:
It keeps you curious - what I often observe from people who lack in having an interest outside of work is that there’s limited scope about what they may know other than the task they perform day in and day out because there’s a deficiency in having a curiosity to seek out new information.
My kids assume that adults are inherently predisposed to know everything but obviously that’s not the case. Think about something you’ve always been interested in knowing more about and see where that curiosity leads you. It could involve pottery making, volunteer work, Jiu Jitsu, etc.
For me the way in which I gravitated towards photographing a lot of personal trainers in New York was because I selfishly wanted to learn more about living a healthier active lifestyle and what better way to glean knowledge than from professionals as an adjunct to the self-education I’ve been giving myself.
You’ll never be bored - I honestly can’t recall the last time I felt genuinely bored. My camera has truly been a license to meet people and discover new places without the need of having to board a plane. My mind is constantly churning on what I can do the moment any free time pops up. I have an ongoing list of books to read, topics to write about, Netflix documentaries to satisfy my curiosity, places to eat that it’s all a matter of plucking anything out from that bag to keep me occupied.
Being bored is the equivalent to not knowing what to write about in the sense that if you can’t come up with a topic then you’re more than likely are not being curious enough in anything.
You become comfortable with being on your own - Back when I was single, I cringed at the idea of doing anything social on my own because there’s always that fear of being perceived as a loser. It’s a normal feeling, especially when you’re still in the process of developing that confidence that will eventually make it crystal clear to you that there’s a difference between being lonely and being comfortable with being on your own. There’s the presence of confidence in the latter and not in the former.
It doesn’t bother me spending time on my own, especially on days when my wife is at work, the kids are at school and I happen to have a random day off in the middle of the week. If you’re a parent, you’re well aware that time for yourself is a rarity which you should learn to treasure when it comes along unexpectedly. It’s a healthy component to seek for your our own sanity. Heck, there’s been times when I’ve gone and have brunch or watched a movie on my own and it’s never bothered me.
You’ll become more understanding of what people have going on during their own time - I don’t convene with friends as much as I would like to especially between having parental responsibilities, work, and what mainly occupies the majority of my free time which is my photography.
I have a friend who’s an amazing painter, one who is equally elevating their photography game and another is who pursuing their transition into the personal training business. I can’t ever hold a grudge against them for any missed opportunities we may have for meeting because I’m understanding of their grind because I’m doing the same on my end.
Working is part of your life, but it does not have to consume your WHOLE life hence the my plea to find something that keeps your mind off of work when you’re not there.