As Steve Jobs said, "You've got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking."
The problem is, a lot of us don't know where to look.
That's why Mark Cuban says: "One of the great lies of life is 'follow your passions.' 'Follow your passion' is easily the worst advice you could ever give, or get. Don't follow your passions. Follow your effort."
While most theoretical frameworks assume that passion sparks effort, the reverse is also true. Passion increases with effort and improvement. We all like to do things we're good at. (And the better we get, the more we tend to like doing them.)
Science says that also holds true for entrepreneurs. According to a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, the more work entrepreneurs put into their startups or side hustles, the more enthusiastic they get about their businesses.
As they gain momentum, gain skill, and achieve even the smallest non-financial successes, their passion grows.
If you want to discover a passion, the key is to find something you're interested in, and start.
Or better yet, explore something you've already started.
The Weekend Test
As Chris Dixon, a general partner at the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz, writes, "The fact that flip-flop-wearing hobbyists spawn large industries is commonly viewed as an amusing eccentricity of the technology industry. But there is a reason why hobbies are so important."
According to Dixon, businesses vote with their money, which means they need to create reasonably near-term financial returns on those investments, something every startup founder can relate to.
Hobbies, though, are what smart people do with their time when they don't need to generate near-term financial returns.
Which is why, as Dixon writes: "It's a good bet these present-day hobbies will seed future industries. What the smartest people do on the weekends is what everyone else will do during the week in 10 years."
That's a good framework to apply if you're considering where to invest your time or money. The weekend projects of the most intelligent and talented people you know may someday create a new industry or market.
But it's also a great framework to apply if you're trying to discover your passion. What you do in your spare time--not passively experience, but actively do--clearly indicates an interest.
As Cuban would say, you're already putting in the effort. So follow that effort.
Carve out a little more time. Put a little more structure around the process of improving, learning, and growing.
Because the more effort you put in, the more enthusiastic you will get. The more passionate you will become.
And the more likely you will be to develop the talent and experience required to turn a passion into a new career or business.