Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti is one of only two people to have won races in Formula 1, IndyCar, and NASCAR. Mario loves racing. Racing is his passion.
But passion wasn't enough. (In fact, one of Mario's big breaks was getting the Indy rookie test slot Roger Penske gave up to focus on his business instead.)
Unfortunately for many, passion is easy to confuse with an interest. Or a hobby. Or something you really enjoy doing for fun... but not as a way to make a living. I love South Park, but there's no pratical way for me to make a living from my love of the show.
The same is true for many things: Music. Movies. Theater. Sports. You can love something... but not necessarily love to do it.
Or be able to make a living doing it.
The passion test.
One of the most common pieces of career advice is, "Do what you love." Partly that phrase is so popular because people love hearing that advice. It's tempting to think you can do what you love and the money will follow.
A better test is to determine whether you can become outstanding at doing what you love: Become a leading thinker, become highly skilled, develop an amazing level of expertise.
And then determine whether that skill or expertise is something people will pay you for.
And then determine whether what people will pay you is sufficient for the lifestyle you wish to lead, and the financial goals you have set.
Passion doesn't find you. Passion is something you actively find.
Maybe you're lucky enough to have found your passion. That often happens for, say, musicians: Exposure to an instrument unlocks a burning desire -- even a lifelong desire -- to follow a musical path.
For most of us, though, the lightning bolt of passion never strikes.
Simple example: Some years ago I realized I needed to get in better shape. But bad knees eliminated jogging as a possibility. So I decided to start cycling.
The first time I rode a bike, I hated it. It was awful. I couldn't ride far, couldn't ride fast... I hated the bike.
But I stuck with it. After a week I noticed a little improvement. I liked that. After another week I had gotten a little stronger and in a little better shape. I liked that. So I kept riding. In time I started to learn about bike technology. I met local cyclists. And I kept improving... and one day realized I loved riding.
That's what often happens: You try something, you try to get better at it... and in time the process of learning and growing and improving leads to you becoming, at least in your own mind, the thing you do. I transformed from a guy who rode a bike into, in however small a way, a cyclist.
Passion didn't find me. I actively found it.
And you can, too. Take something you've always been interested in. Take something you want to learn. Create a process that will allow you to improve, to grow, to learn.
Then commit to following the two-week rule. You can do anything for two weeks. Stick to the process for two weeks.
Do that, and you'll definitely see progress. You'll definitely feel better about yourself.
You'll love that feeling. That feeling will help you keep going.
And best of all, you'll prove - to yourself -- that passion isn't something that can only find you. You'll learn that passion is something you can find.
Especially if you try.
And you'll learn that actively finding a passion will make you much more successful, both because you will work harder, work longer, and be more persistent... but also because you'll feel better about yourself in the process.
Which, if you think about it, is what matters most of all.