passionist electrocardiogram-2858693_640At a recent and jovial countryside lunch, I landed on a new word that I’d not come across before: a passionist. [To be clear, we were not talking about a Roman Catholic Passionist.] To be a passionist we reasoned would be someone with a strong passion. I loved the idea of finding a noun for people with passion. I feel as though, throughout my life, I have endeavoured to accumulate passionists in my circles. But the truth is that many people don’t have — or don’t feel they have — a passion. How does one go about getting one if we are not so endowed? Well, the first port of call is to gauge whether having a passion is of interest in the first place. De facto, a passion is consuming. It means having a strong attraction, interest or belief. If you consider yourself a balanced, well-rounded individual, maybe having a singular passion is of less interest?

How to create a passion?

But for those who might feel their life is missing something without a passion, it’s possibly a daunting task to conjure up a passion. To wit, it is not possible just to wave a magic wand and become passionate about someone or something. It’s quite possible, meanwhile, that you’ve never accorded yourself enough time to figure out what turns you on. Here are three things I recommend for those who are keen to spark a passion:

  • Be curious. By opening up your chakras, especially by discovering new people and their activities, you will be exposed to how others have found (or also struggled to find) their passion. Collect the ideas in a notebook and add notations. Over time, you might find a theme or an activity that crops up more or less voluntarily!
  • Do stuff. Explore new activities. Read voraciously (watch out: reading might become a passion). You may not have come across the passion before, so it’s normal you hadn’t find your passion! Look at the things you do and see if you can see any patterns. What links them?
  • Figure out what might be your purpose, beyond just yourself. If you feel strongly about a particular ideology, activity community of people, you’re on the way. A strong purpose is one where the benefit goes beyond yourself. Otherwise, check out your pain points. What are the biggest issues or pains that worry or perturb you? Adam Rubin, executive director of Renew, said in a podcast: “Your greatest pain is always your greatest purpose.”

Jack of All Trades?

Just as you may or may not have found your passion, another challenge on the other end of the spectrum, is having too many passions. This has been more my case: Too many passions, not enough time. The consequence, I never can go deep enough. My task has been to pare down the subjects and ask myself what were the most important activities or subjects.


As my father once said to me, it’s best to be a jack of all trades and master of one (a T-shaped personality). Personally, I think being master of two is a better deal (Pi-shaped). And, because of my boundless curiosity, I subscribe to the comb-shaped personality… with deepening teethes! Caleb and I wrote about these concepts at the outset of our book, Futureproof.

Part of the thrill of having a passion is the notion that your life has a sense. Click To Tweet The more that passion is attached to a bigger purpose, the more energy it returns to you in exchange for your time and attention.

Ready to be a passionist or a passionista?

Please share your thoughts or alternative suggestions!

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