Curiously, I agree with Liz Gilbert



Forget about finding your passion.(Gasp! Sacrilege! Blasphemous!)I've been saying for a while that curiosity trumps passion, so when I heard Liz Gilbert (yes, the author of Eat Pray Love) say essentially the same thing, I was pumped. (I mean, it's Liz Gilbert, right?)

Liz talks about preaching the gospel of "finding your passion" for many, many years before she understood what a useless piece of advice this is. "If you have a central burning passion, you are doing it. That's the definition of what a passion is. And if you don't have one and someone tells you to [find it], it just makes you feel like you are being judged." So, she asks, what if you just take passion off the table and follow your curiosity? What if the question becomes, "What calls to you right now?"

Most people I know, myself included, have taken incredibly roundabout, circuitous, non-linear routes to "finding passion." Since I tend to do whatever I do with passion, discerning the one thing that I am most passionate about is a real challenge.

Is it seeing strengths in "high risk" youth? I am certainly very passionate about that. But I'm passionate about seeing strengths in anyone.

Is it personal leadership or change process or personal growth? All of those turn me on and engage my imagination to no end.

Is it music? Nothing can compare to the feeling of truly great jazz, or conducting a magnificent choral piece, or losing myself at the piano.

Is it all of these - or none of these? My personal mission is simply to love well in the world. All of these give expression to that purpose. So which is it?

What I am is utterly and unendingly curious about is how it all works - you, me, the Universe. As long as I get to explore that, I'm good. The who, what and where of it matters far less than getting to satisfy that deep curiosity.

So I'm good, thanks.

What about you? What if you traded in the big "passion search" and followed your curiosity instead? What if your only task was to move in the direction of what calls you next, and ask (yet again), "what does it look like today, in this moment?"

What if, by doing this every day, you moved one step at a time in the direction of greater passion until you found yourself living a deeply passionate life. "How do I get there?" might get replaced by "How did I get here?"

More curious than judging. More curious than right. More curious than certain.

Perhaps these qualities of inspired personal leadership are also the keys to a passionate life.

I'm curious. Are you?