*Warning, long and self-aggrandising post
Let's go down the list of my current passions.
Sketching random Scribbles on this site.
Was introduced to the book 'Ignore Everybody' by Hugh Macleod in mid 2009. Saw some of his sketches and said 'I can do better than that!' and started sketching on whatever I could find. I had always doodled on random stuff about random subjects since I was a child, so I had a self-inflated confidence that I could achieve the goal of being a world renowned artist.
1.5 years on, and I'm not there yet, but I'm willing to continue for the next 99 years to get there.
Playing the Guitar
Got an acoustic guitar when I was 14 after a short tutorial in school. Immediately thought it was 10x better than playing the piano (which I don't anymore), and proceeded to practice an hour a day. After a year, got an electric guitar, and proceeded to practice 2 hours a day on weekdays and up to 8 hours on weekends.
Almost 6 years later today, I'm still going strong with an hour a day and intend to do so for a long time to come.
- Software Development and Associated Fields
Being faced with the impending onset of adulthood at age 17, I was wondering what I was going to do for a living. My forte in school was in math, physics and chemistry, and I pondered a route as a scientist.
Read some random articles, decided that becoming a successful theoretical physicist took too long, and stumbled upon the essays of Paul Graham. He got across the point that one could create tangible value really quickly by making software, and that in the world of software, it was possible to make exponential gains given the right focus.
Decided to pick up the weird obscure programming language called Common Lisp, not knowing what I was getting into and coming from 2 failed attempts of learning programming (first with C++, then with Java). Forced myself through half a year of wading through parentheses before falling in love with the language as well as the act of programming. 2 years on, it spurred my current interests in parsing, parallel computing, and other fields of computer science.
The Broader Topic
The topic about being passionate about your work - that you willingly pursue and are almost enlivened by your work - has become an increasingly popular discussion.
It shouldn't come as a surprise really. Today's world is demanding ever more unreasonably that people stand up and do work that matters - to become an indispensable part of their ecosystem.
Doing such work then demands a certain level of expertise and forthcomingness, something which can only be attained by the relentless pursuit driven by a fervent, almost irrational will to work and succeed in the task.
Unfortunately, the discussion of passion has been largely centred around those who have yet to discover what they are truly passionate about.
If my experience is to be trusted, then the discovery of passion is a random, but ultimately rewarding endeavour, motivated mostly by chance and governed mostly by stubbornness. Sometimes it was an instant click, like it was with me and my guitar. And other times (most of the time), it was only after pushing through a painful process and being able to just barely hold my ground that I found that it was something that I wanted to do forever.
So, how do you know that you've found your passion? You get lucky, then you get busy.