A fulfilling life is one filled with passion and purpose. But doing what you love is quite complicated. Many of us have been told to pursue our passions, but the reality often comes with challenges that can be daunting.
So how, exactly, do we find and then live our passion? Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham, wrote a fantastic 2006 article about it called How to Do What You Love. It’s absolutely brilliant in its entirety.
Gathered here are insights, so-called quotes about passion, from ten thinkers who have contemplated the art-science of making your life’s calling a living.
10 Quotes about passion
“There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that’s less than the one you’re capable of living.”
– Nelson Mandela.
“When you live your passion, you never work a day in your life.”
– Mathew Knowles in DNA of achievers
“Find something more important than you are, and dedicate your life to it.”
— Dan Dennett in The secret of happiness.
Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
— Oprah Winfrey
“Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself.”
— Paul Graham in his 2006 article, How to Do What You Love.
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“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatsoever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
– Martha Graham, in Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham by Agnes De Mille. pg. 264.
“Make sure you have something to fall back on”
“It is in the realm of uncertainty, that your passion is found.”
“Passion is a feeling that follows action. It tends to be created or discovered, not predicted or planned. You don’t find your passion. It finds you as you get in the mix and try things.”
– James Clear in his july 6th 2023 neesletter edition: 3-2-1: Discovering passion, the power of your mind, and how to do your best work
It’s always a pleasure to hand-pick these inspirational quotes about passion for you. In the 10 out of 10 newsletter, I share a thoughtful and inspirational quote every month, as I’ve collected many of them along the way. Sign up for this newsletter if you haven’t yet.
Further reading: Hand-picked book recommendations