Not so long time ago, Elizabeth Gilbert, a world-renowned writer and the author of a bestseller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, 12 million copies of which were sold worldwide, opened up in an interview to Oprah about her attitude towards passion.
In Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Conversations”, Elizabeth Gilbert told how her passion-driven life was changed by a woman, who attended one of her meet-ups. That night, Elizabeth delivered a big speech on how all people must find a passion to follow because passion is the only power that motivates us to achieve success. And a woman, overwhelmed by this message, wrote a huge post on Elizabeth’s Facebook profile, saying, how depressed she felt after hearing this.
This shocked Elizabeth to the core. She was the person who preached passion-driven life since she was a girl. She had to re-read the message to finally realize that this woman didn’t know what her passion was. She spent many years looking for it, and not being able to find it made her feel like a failure.
That’s exactly what many people feel when they cannot find their passion. And celebrities, who reiterate the importance of a passion-driven life, make this feeling even worse. And this is what made Elizabeth Gilbert change the vector of her motivational speeches completely.
Curiosity. Inquisitiveness. Motivation to explore.
We are curious before we become passionate. Curiosity is the only way to find something you’ll be passionate about.
Psychologists knew about the power of curiosity a long time ago. In a research paper back in 1994, George Loewenstein, an American educator and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, pondered on how curiosity influences our motives and decisions throughout our lifetime. “It
has been identified as a driving force in child development and as one of the most important spurs to educational attainment.”
The first step of a baby, eager to reach the waiting arms of a mother, and an application to enter a college and study literature instead of becoming a doctor – this was all driven by the motives of curiosity.
Why did we give preference to passion?
Because our actions and decisions are constantly being judged.
Do these decisions fit your lifestyle?
Are they in line with what society wants from you?
Will your choice and your actions help you fit in more?
A person, who is driven by curiosity and often changes focus, is perceived as indecisive and useless by society. Instead, a person, driven by passion, is considered a role model, dedicating their whole life to one thing that (preferably) serves well to that same society.
We are all social beings and we all have a fear of not being accepted. And, apparently, this can get so serious that people have to seek assistance from a therapist. “During my practice, I had visits from people with athazagoraphobia (fear of being forgotten or rejected) almost every month”, says Paula Jefferson, a former therapist and the Head of Research at Flatfy.
That is why we gave up on curiosity and let passion take over. As a result, people get lost on the way to success because they simply don’t know what their passion is.
Yes and no.
Curiosity is simply a method or an approach that you need to exercise to achieve success. It doesn’t guarantee immediate success.
But what you’ll get in return is an immense satisfaction with what you’re doing because you love doing it and you’re curious about doing it.
Curiosity doesn’t ensure finding your ultimate passion. Instead, you’ll find multiple passions, some of them will stay with you and some of them you’ll eventually give up.
Is it a bad thing?
Definitely not. But by approaching everything with curiosity, you’ll feel that your life makes more sense. More than if you choose to spend time trying to blindly find your passion.
Curiosity is also an antibiotic for judgment. Once you are driven by curiosity, you simply find all the judgment not important, as your inquisitiveness takes over and motivates you far more than what someone thinks of you and your actions. And that is the ultimate driving force of success.
Elizabeth Gilbert now defines herself as a hummingbird, constantly migrating and always being thirsty for nectar. But instead of nectar, she is thirsty for exploring and approaching everything with curiosity.
This thirst is an impetus, giving us the strength to achieve success not only in work but in life as well. Curiosity frees you from judgment, giving you the motivation to strive for more.