Learning to learn: losing yourself in passion

Have you ever noticed that, when we’re younger, school and learning seem like a chore, and yet when we’re older, we wish we could just spend all of our time consuming information and advancing our knowledge?

Perhaps this is because our minds have matured with age, or simply because we always want to do things once we don’t have to. Or, maybe it’s because once we’ve been through certain experiences, we’re more capable of identifying our true passions.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who also happens to be an entrepreneur named Josh. (Whether he knew it or not, picking his brain was actually a part of my mission to learn more about entrepreneurship and running a business.) I was interested to hear that, once he started a company, even though it was based around his passion for social media, a large part of his work days consists of administrative and management-related tasks. In explaining this, he said the following:

“I work hard during the day, but at night I get to plan the future and expand my knowledge.”

There was my answer. As human beings, we may not always be able to spend all of our lives doing exactly what we want to be doing, but as long as there is something that we “get” to learn about in our off time, the drive will never fade.

How is it, then, that we come across this special subject? First, let’s figure out what passion actually is. According to Merriam Webster, passion is an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” When I hear this definition, a few things come to my head: social media, relationship building, and innovation, to name a few. What comes to yours?

If there isn’t anything that instantly comes to mind, try doing a few of these exercises:

  • Ask yourself, “What would I do with my life if money didn’t matter?”
  • Talk casually with your friends and colleagues and observe what makes you go on for hours.
  • Wander into a bookstore. What section do you immediately go for?

-Allow your brain to follow its own course. The things you don’t have to try to think about are usually the ones you end up giving the majority of your thoughts to.

Finding, and subsequently losing yourself in, your passion may not be easy, but when it does happen, it sure is worth it. Is there topic that you constantly find yourself coming back to in your reading and conversations? One that, once you start reading about it, the hours pass like minutes? Identify it, roll with it, and lose yourself in it.

And in case you needed one last bit of inspiration, I leave you with Josh’s words:

“Let’s say, you’re sitting in a coffee shop, minding your own business, and the person at the table over starts talking about a specific subject. You may only hear a word or two, but it’s enough. It registers. And before you realize it you’ve stopped everything you’re doing. Focusing on your own task/conversation/activity suddenly becomes impossible. Your heart beats super fast because you’re doing everything in your power not to compulsively jump in, ask questions, correct them, and find out who they are.”

About Ally Greer

Ally heads up community management, social media, and customer support at Scoop.it. She loves to geek out over anything social, Internet, or tech related. When she isn't working, you'll probably find her running the streets of San Francisco. Follow Ally on Twitter @allygreer.
  • http://about.me/jameshicks James Hicks

    Ally
    Great post, awesome picture!

    • Ally Greer

      Thanks, James!

  • Anya Iverova

    Ally, what a great post. This article is a reflection of my current life situation – I’m pursuing my passions, reading great books and watching documentaries, and taking classes I’ve always wanted to take. Everyone should pursue their passions and capitalize on their creative strenghs. If they don’t, they’re not living for themselves!

  • http://www.veille-digitale.com/ Jerome Deiss

    Great post Ally !

    • Ally Greer

      Merci Jerome!

  • http://www.clippingpathindia.com/clipping-path-service.html Bijutoha

    Nice share . “I work hard during the day, but at night I get to plan the future and expand my knowledge.” I thought it is the perfect thought to study everything in our business .

  • regis E rexleo

    THANKS a lot Ally ! i’m on the way n starting a new part of my life in a totally differentstate of mind than the first Half.. I’m a mature man , past 51, but i still can feel the same greedy passion for Learning and stay fit, physically or mentally!! NEW media and free sharing must be taken with care bec of the huge amount of informations and sources…PERSONAL ORGANISATION and management are essential to be efficient and lead to care about many fields of improvements…I’M WORKING ON IT each day now …

  • MeLissA

    Well written :)

    Ask yourself, “What would I do with my life if money didn’t matter?” — I stopped there but I couldn’t think of any :(

  • MIRIAN

    Great comment! I never think that QUOTE….

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Belinda Summers

    Learning is like growing. You can’t skip a day without it. Working adults seem to focus on their routine and usually tend to forget to grow as an individual, to move farther. Actually, we tend everything written above. Thanks for the wakening call Ally. :)

  • http://www.trendoffice.blogspot.com trendoffice

    “Have you ever noticed that, when we’re younger, school and learning seem like a chore, and yet when we’re older, we wish we could just spend all of our time consuming information and advancing our knowledge?…” – I suppose that it is just because we already know how much we don’t know :)

  • Drora

    We all need to pursue a passion – wouldn’t it be great if it were part of our life everyday? What if we could help others pursue their passions, does that add to our own? Can we encourage others to pursue their passions? enrich their quest for knowledge? I really have been contemplating this for quite a while, just this post helps get me motivated – now to figure out for what passion… Thank you for the inspiration

  • kimberley vico

    Nice article! ‘Allowing your brain to follow it’s course’ is precisely what gives you that direction. Thank you!

  • mceballos

    Very good article. thanks.