We’ve all watched interviews with famous people who’ve said they’ve known what they wanted to do since they were little kids. For those of us who have never felt so certain, it can feel uncomfortable and even disappointing. Some people go through life never knowing or realizing what their true passion is.

I know someone like that. He signed up for the Air Force as a young man and made that his career, but in his downtime, building things always fascinated him. If he didn’t have a hammer or saw in his hands, he was reading a do-it-yourself carpentry book to figure out how to conquer his next project. When he was thinking about retiring, he told me he realized he should have been a general contractor and then he would have loved his job and his life a whole lot more.

We don’t always have to forge a career out of what we’re passionate about, but if we recognize what it is we truly love, we can choose to incorporate it into our lives on a regular basis and participate in what we love to do. That can significantly increase our happiness – and what a wonderful gift that is to give to ourselves and maybe even the world.

If you like the idea of pursuing your passion but aren’t quite sure what it is, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself:

  • What makes me smile?

  • When I see, hear or read about something, does it stir my emotions?

  • When people talk around me, is there anything they discuss that appeals to me, makes me want to listen more closely and join in the conversation?

  • What ignites a feeling of joy within me?

  • As I’m walking, waiting in line, reading or spending time online – what makes me want to pause and learn more?

  • What makes my heart beat faster when I hear about it?

  • If I won the lotto tomorrow, what would I do with my time and money?

  • What makes me do a double take?

  • How can I make the world a better place in a way that feels right to me?

  • What makes me feel good?

  • What activity makes me feel like it’s what I’m supposed to be doing?

  • What do I love?

As you explore your reactions to life around you, you’ll start to hone in on the deep-seated dreams that exist within you. You may discover you have more than one passion. Then it’s time to figure out how you can start to participate in activities that involve what you love. If it seems monumental, seek the advice of supportive people. If it’s scary to embark on a journey that involves following your passion, fake like you’re brave until you actually become courageous.

When you discover and pursue what you truly love to do, you are honoring your passion… your dreams… your very best self, and that is a wonderful, life-affirming thing.

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