“If you were to go on a hike alone, you would befriend a rock.”
I heard this spoken aloud by my dad, in the arrivals terminal at the airport, just after I had told my family about a friend I had made while on the long flight from Dubai to Boston. It was one of those moments when he was commenting upon my uncanny ability to make friends and connections everywhere I go.
I bring this up because I have heard similar comments from various people over the past few years and have always laughed it off or thought nothing of it.
I rarely stop to think about why people comment on it. That in fact it must be something remarkable or different in some way. Possibly even a ‘talent’.
It is a learned behavior from multiple experiences of starting over in new schools, states, communities and countries. But it is something that others struggle with and I find rather fun.
What is funny though is that, to me, it is nothing special. It’s a completely normal part of life. It is something that I enjoy and enriches my life - but I don’t consider it noteworthy.
Which is what I really want to talk about.
I recently re-stumbled across a favorite blog post of mine by writer Mark Mason titled, Screw Finding Your Passion. It challenges the popular notion of going out to find that ever fleeting passion that we supposedly each have.
In it he states,
“Because here’s another point that might make a few people salty: If you have to look for what you’re passionate about, then you’re probably not passionate about it at all.
If you’re passionate about something, it will already feel like such an ingrained part of your life that you will have to be reminded by people that it’s not normal, that other people aren’t like that.”
Which is why I brought up the above quote.
I’ve never considered my ability to connect and build community to be unusual - but in many ways it is - and it’s ultimately a passion of mine.
And I believe each of us have at least one, if not many of these.
In fact, as I think about friends of mine, I can think of things that each one of them is notably good at.
One friend I went to college with always had the uncanny ability to make a dollar stretch to the very end. I have another friend who absolutely adores writing fiction and completing book writing challenges just for the fun of it. I know another girl who is the go to person for fashion - not that she ever studied it - but because she has an eye for what looks good, and another with an incredible eye for interior design and making any space feel like a home. Another friend of mine is incredible at ballroom dance and yet another has an amazing eye for nature photography.
Not every one of these things is something they will choose to make a living off of - or even make money off of at all - but they are passions and things they naturally gravitate towards that others recognize.
So rather than looking for our passion, maybe its time to start paying attention to what others already say about us. If you’re anything like me, you may not realize that writing a blog for the fun of it on a consistent basis isn’t considered a ‘normal’ activity.
We may find that those sketches we fill our notebooks with while sitting in a meeting isn’t typical of most people.
Or our obsessive love of a sport or lifestyle isn’t something considered normal and we can provide support and tips to others on the same subject.
Or our ability to host large groups of people and bring them together over a shared meal isn’t something that many people enjoy organizing.
Or that our homemade baked treats we are asked to make for every get together are something special and unique.
Or the way we make someone feel loved when they are in our presence.
Many of these traits are unique and shine a light on our passions and natural giftings.
And I believe if we continue to live pursuing our curiosity, rather than what we think others will deem worthy, that we will find many more of these types of passions with passing time.
If we choose to do things because we like it - not because of the potential impact it may have on our future - we will be aligned to stumble across those things that are or will become a part of us.
Its a matter of following our curiosity.
Just as a child chooses an activity due to his love for it - this is the way we should pursue interests in our own life.
Because it is in your curiosity and in those things you assume to be normal that others think are remarkable that you can find your passion.
What is something people always say about you? Let me know in the comments below.