If you aren't passionate about anything, here's what you need to do.
I've long believed that passion begets mastery. Not the other way around. But as I've come to realize more about how social structures and the human mind work, I'm beginning to wonder if I have been wrong. Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast from Tim Ferriss featuring Kevin Kelly, I heard him explain it this way:
Especially when we're dealing with the younger generation, we may not have had the time to explore enough things and find out what it is that we love. For others, we may be incredibly passionate about multiple things. In either situation, choosing a skill we enjoy and pursuing it to mastery will not only help us clarify our passion but also give us the network, the discipline and the opportunity to pursue our passion whenever we discover it. The key benefit in this exercise is getting us to move. To break the paralysis of not knowing where to begin. Once you begin - once you've gained traction - it's a lot easier to simply correct course later.
Personally, I suffer from loving too many things. If I chose to chase every dream, I would have a lot of half-finished projects and nothing of worth to show for myself. So I picked one - photography - and ran with it. It would be my road to mastery that would lead me toward discovering what I'm supposed to do with my life. I've put in well over 7,000 hours of time into my photography career, amassing an enormous amount of knowledge and skill. But it wasn't the knowledge and skill alone that has been a blessing in my life. I've learned how to work with people, how to recognize beauty, how to turn ugly situations into beautiful ones, how to remain calm under pressure, how to manage my time, how to manage my money, how to set up and run a business, how to network - the list goes on. Perhaps, more importantly, I've honed my direction and clarified my calling. As I move toward mastery, I am mindful that this journey is a vehicle for me to understand myself better. Is photography something I'll do for the rest of my life? It'll certainly always be a part of me, but I know it's not the end game. I'm not sure what's in store, but at least I know where to start.
Unsure of your passion? Pick a direction and start running. You'll figure it out along the way.
I love this illustration from Elle Luna's book, The Crossroads of Should and Must. It depicts the battle in the minds of each person in search of their calling, understanding that at some point, we just have to pick up our tools and get to work. In the journey, we'll find our "why."