Trying hard to understand yourself and find out about your passion?

5 min readJul 31, 2021


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Every single day, most of us are usually kept occupied with our daily routine from schooling, commuting, working, volunteering to entertainment, relaxation, exercising and even drinking. Where do we learn this from? Probably from the observations, experiences, societal and cultural norms of the our environment. In fact, most of these activities come about very naturally and become our habits eventually. All it takes is time and repetition for us to be comfortable and used to them. So would they be avoidable if you have taken a proactive approach in designing and curating what you like to do in life? What I mean here is the activities that sparks joy and happiness.

1. Knowing what you want

It is a very common advice — Follow your passion. Do what you like. Choose the major that you are most passionate about. Yet, how do we find our passion when we don’t have the experience of doing the actual work and experience the reality of the future job in future? How do we balance our interests with the limited time to find out more about each of them and understand which one is really our passion? For those who are less fortunate, the opportunity to find out about the *existence of such major or topic* is in itself challenging and difficult as you are fighting fire for your survival every single day. You don’t know what you don’t know. When selecting a major or job, your concern probably be what’s the cheapest available that requires the least amount of time and effort invested and brings me the most returns (depending on your needs). Some might need to balance the time, money, energy and health conditions. Other might look into alternative education while working. Every one has their own circumstances. It’s just awful to think about how people just give sweeping “blanket advice” without much considerations these days. To really understand what you know needs time, effort, skills and even courage to find out. To me, it’s not something where everyone have the opportunity to explore in the first place.

2. The difference between what you think you want and what you actually want

We may often experience this in life, especially during impulse purchases. Companies are getting extremely good in advertising, just-in-time information, and engaging their customers to purchase the newest and greatest products. Sometimes I even wondered if companies knew when their customer pay-dday is. Looking through my mailbox, it’s filled with advertisements of related products or services that I frequently consumed which could potential triggers impulse purchases which I might not even need. Of course, it is possible to tune out the advertisement by email rules to auto-delete or archival these emails. Yet, part of you might even worry about losing out on good deals and discounts (tactics which these companies used to create a sense of urgency for consumers to make the purchase there are then). After clicking “purchase”, you wait for the item to reach you. Open it and realise “hey, I might not even need this in the first place”. Chuck it aside and hoard up the space you have at home. You soon realise you aren’t really happy about the purchase and go on a journey down another rabbit hole. Job hunting could also be a similar experience, especially when you failed the interviews of those companies that you have an interest to work for which often demoralises and brings down one’s confidence. Thinking about the opportunity cost and lost time that you may be in, you accept the next offer which comes your way and soon realise that you don’t like what you are doing.

Would it be possible for us to know the difference between what you think you want and what you actually want in the first place? At the point when you click “purchase” or accept that job offer, you probably think that that’s the best decision you could have made at the point in time. Many articles provide tips for us to reflect and give us some time off before making the decision. Are there evidences that show that reflecting and pushing back the decisions affects a person’s sense of satisfaction, fulfillment or security after the final decision was made? If so, are those results replicatable? Could it just be an underlying system design issue (i.e., advertisement, employment model, nature of the job market) that brought about this wide-spread phenomenon which effects are being amplified during the COVID19 pandemic? That’s why many are predicting waves of resignations and job shuffle. But what makes us think that the results wouldn’t be the same?

3. Comfort versus Discomfort

We tend to choose comfort over discomfort because that’s how humans are. It’s probably to protect ourselves from potential harm that could happen. Going about a route that we have always choose and know that it’s safe would be a better choice over choose a new route without prior knowledge of the dangers and challenges that lies ahead of us. If that was the case, it also means that we wouldn’t come to realise the opportunities and treasures that could have been lying there waiting for us. Our brains just makes it awfully painful and fearful when we are not in our comfort zone. It would be useful at times, and sometimes to the extent of saving your life in certain situations. However, it can also bring about lost opportunities especially when we are trying to find out about ourselves and our passion. You ought to be expose to a wide variety of activities and experiences to truly know and understand. That’s what I believe in. Otherwise, just listening to others, googling, passive ways of finding out tend to see it from the perspective of others and not yours.

At least for me, I don’t think that knowing yourself and your passion is an easy task. In fact, it is a life-long journey that one can choose to embark on if one considers that important in one’s life. Alternatively, we can all live with the “planned path” that the system has designed for the majority and just continue our days without thinking much about it anyway. No one would say anything bad about that as designed by the system.