Focusing Passion Means Opening And Closing Doors

I wrote this post for Sam Spurlin’s evolving blog The Simpler Life, and it appeared there in January. It has never appeared on So Much More Life, so I thought today would be a good day to share it with those of you who don’t follow Sam.

Everyone has a real passion. Focusing on today’s true passion means opening and closing lots of doors before you step through one into a place that feels like home.

Lots of places, however, can be home.

If you think you aren’t really passionate about anything, I wonder if you haven’t stepped through enough doors — or closed enough of them.

When Sam agreed to run a guest post from me, I asked him if he had any suggestions about what I should write. I started writing news and feature stories when I was 17, and I always preferred editors to simply tell me what to write about. I always liked writing, so the topic didn’t matter.

Sam said he doesn’t offer ideas because he likes his guests to write on “something they are passionate about”. A lot of help that is. What am I passionate about?

I used to think I lacked passion, but what I really lack is focus. I’m passionate about a lot of things.

Have you ever been to a craft mall? I can learn to make just about everything in there. I come from a family of crafters, so that’s no problem. What about a flea market? I think running one of those stalls selling useless junk would be fun.

I have others passions, too. I’ve always been concerned by the number of animals killed on roadways around my rural home. Couldn’t I do something to help reduce these senseless deaths? I also like to tell people they don’t have to let religion limit their lives.

Focused passion is knowing all the things you can do — and choosing which ones you won’t take time to explore right now.

Here are a few things that might help you focus your passion.

Set aside passion-finding time.

You can’t focus on what you’re really passionate about if you don’t have any passion candidates. Whether it’s a Google search, a stroll through an unfamiliar section of a bookstore or a visit to a public garden to see what’s growing, let your mind and body see new things and have new experiences until you find ones that are inspiring.

Sam’s recent guest post at my blog talks about how learning something new can be part of your passionate adventure.

Close off rejected passions.

Avoid wasting your time going down paths you’ve already decided not to continue exploring. I’m not likely to ever make my money as a crafter, so I don’t own any crafting supplies.

You might could find completeness, for example, either as a freelance journalist or playing electric guitar in a band. Explore both, but if your passion for writing starts leading toward success as a writer, you may want to drop out of your ever-increasing commitment to the band.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the passion that sustains you either financially or emotionally and closing off the ones that don’t.

Don’t throw away the key.

For most of us, life is long enough to explore many passions, but it’s so consumed by tedious nonsense that we will only ever explore a few of them.

Even if you focus your passion in one successful direction, things can change. Don’t burn your bridges. Don’t lock the door to any part of your life and throw away the key. (Don’t write so many clichés.)

Changes in your life or the world may render your current passion irrelevant or used up, and you’ll want someplace to go next.

Live deliberately — sorry, consciously.

On So Much More Life, I suggest that my readers live simple, deliberate lives filled with the things that make them happy and fulfilled. Sam calls this living consciously, and it’s the same thing.

Living consciously helps you cut through the physical and emotional clutter of life and focus on what’s important — your current passion.

You see, living without focused passion leads to failure, and I close off doors that lead to failure. Do you?

How are you focusing your passion at the moment?

Writing is my passion, and it’s what I’ll do for the rest of my life. Although… There’s a stall open at the flea market only a few miles from here. I’m not interested, of course, but I like to keep up with these things.


  1. This is great advice Gip. I’ve been diligent over this past year about making time to engage in, or planning to bring to reality my passions (writing, exploring new places, etc.). Not only am I much more fulfilled, but life unfolds in surprising ways when we decide to give our passions the priority they deserve.

    I think the entire world would be a better place if everyone followed their passions to cultivate skills that would make the world a better and more beautiful place. Sorry, if that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. 🙂

    1. It does sound cheesy, I suppose, but I called my last post on perspective trite, so I’m obviously not opposed to cheesy. You’re right. Surprising things happen when we do what we really like to do.

  2. Great post Gip. Usually when one chooses to close the door on an old passion, to discover something totally brand new, there is an influx of opportunities and synchronistic events that take place. Those are good indications that new passion leads to something greater.

  3. Good post, Gip. What I took away from it might not be exactly what you intended when you wrote it, but for me it made me see that it is OK not only to change one’s focus, but perhaps to even broaden it if that’s appropriate to the situation. For example with my blog, I think my attempt to overspecialize led to stagnation. You’ve inspired me to be a little less tightly focused.

    1. I’m glad you got something from the post, Mike. I just signed up to follow your blog by email, and I hope some of my readers will to. It’s fun to watch things develop!

  4. Gip, there should be more folks with a head on their shoulders as you have yours. Because, it’s so difficult to get support for personal decisions made early in our lives. i.e..graduating Highschool, then deciding to travel with a group of friends to write music. I did this, and I wonder what would’ve happened if more of those influences around my immediate family would’ve been supportive, but informational, and helping. Instead, like many young folks, we get pushed, and “guided” into a direction in life where we find ourselves at an emotional dead end. With a feeling of “gag me” at the thought of following through with another day at a dead end job, making only enough to support ourselves, and nothing more. Run on sentence? I think not, for it is true. Great post Gip, thanks. 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jasmine.

      Older people who have lost their passion or never had it like to take out their frustrations on younger people. A better way for them to handle things would be to offer guidance when it is wanted and back off when it isn’t. That shows true maturity on their part.

      That’s the great thing about being 38: I’m neither old nor young and can see both sides.

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