Is Your Passion Really Your Passion?

Is Your Passion Really Your Passion?
Carly Jacobs
This post was first published in 2015 but I think we all need a lil’ reminder! 

t’s come to my attention recently that there’s a huge difference between what people think they’re passionate about and what they’re actually passionate about. For instance I’m ‘into’ health and fitness but if I won the genetic lottery with a naturally slim body and a ragingly effective metabolism, I’m 99% sure I’d never go to the gym or drink a green smoothie again. The healthy living thing is something I do and enjoy but it’s not something I’m passionate about.

Phone Camera

Like one of my mates has ‘travel’ written as a passion on his Instagram account bio but he hasn’t left his home town in 6 years. When I quizzed him about it he said ‘Oh I love travelling but it’s so much work… the long flights, packing, trekking around hotels… I just couldn’t be bothered… but I totally love it!’.

I have to call a little bit of bullshit there. If you start saying ‘I couldn’t be bothered.’ regarding something that you’re supposedly passionate about, I think it’s pretty safe to say that you’re not very passionate about it. It’s the difference between liking the idea of something versus the reality of actually doing it. For instance sex on the beach seems like a good idea but in reality it’s pretty awful. The concept is fantastic – who doesn’t want a horizontal mambo with a glistening sea hunk while waves crash over your frenzied writhing? The reality is more like slowly drowning while someone repeatedly jabs you in the mouth with their tongue as a science fiction level influx of sand takes residence in your lady garden. The point is that you may think you like something but the act of doing it is just so much worse than you thought it would be.

So how can you tell if you’re actually passionate about something?

It’s all in the process. You have to love the process of doing the thing you love, or at the very least you need to be able to happily tolerate the process.

Woman with guitar at sunset in the park

Take me for instance. I love singing and I’m not terrible at it but it’s not my passion. How do I know this? Because I hate singing lessons, reading sheet music annoys me, I don’t enjoy the discipline of having to do scales and I find warming up my voice really boring. I do these things when necessary, but I find the process of singing really tedious. It’s not my passion, I wanted it to be my passion, I’ve tried to make it my passion but trying to make passion happen is like forcing someone to love you. It’s just not something you can fake.

I know this because I have two passions that are like the Chandler to my Monica. I don’t even have to try with these passions – it’s  a no brainer. I am totally, completely, head-over-heels-lets-buy-a-house-and-have-babies passionate about writing and acting.

I love writing because I love the process of writing – I love keeping folders in my phone of excellent words I want to use, I love deadlines, I love re-writes, I love hitting the publish button on my blog. I love acting but I also love the process of acting – read throughs, rehearsals, theatre bump ins, costume fittings, photoshoots. None of these things are particularly thrilling on their own but they all add up to my most favourite things in the world; writing an article that even one person loves or stepping out on stage on opening night of a play I’ve been rehearsing for months. The actual thing I love accounts for a very small percentage of the process but because I love the process it makes it worth it.

This doesn’t mean that I always totally love my passions. I hate formatting my writing. It drives me bonkers but it’s necessary to make my work readable. I hate, hate, hate learning lines. God I hate it so much but I happily tolerate it because it’s a necessary stepping stone in the process of living out my passions. Another thing to remember is that just because I do the things I’m passionate about doesn’t mean I’m any good at them and I don’t have to be good at them. Both my passions bring me joy so I keep doing them… and I don’t do the things that I’m not passionate about because it’s a waste of time.

Artist's Brushes

Take blogging for instance. I’ve seen so many people struggle with it. They start, then they stop, then they start again and they beat themselves up over how much they struggle with it and I just wonder why they bother. It might sound harsh but if something is that difficult and it’s causing you stress then don’t bloody well do it. This is why I don’t play a musical instrument. I’ve fantasised about being a kooky violin player like the hotties in The Corrs but I’m just not passionate about music. I love music… but I’m not passionate about it.

I think it’s important to take a step back sometimes and have a look at the things that you like, the things that you love and the things that are your passion and dedicate more time to the things that you adore doing and less time to the things that you find mildly enjoyable.

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What’s your passion? Have you ever had a rogue passion? Something that masqueraded as a passion but was really a love?


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P.S – If you want something a bit silly, uplifting or interesting to read every day make sure you follow Smaggle around on the ol’interwebs –  FacebookTwitterBloglovinInstagramYouTube and the Smaggle weekly newsletter. Sometimes I swear though… arse pelican.


  1. Averil 7 years ago

    This article is really making me stop and think about what my true passions are. You’re so right about loves masquerading as passions. For me, now that I’ve had a think over my morning cup of tea, my greatest passion would have to be reading. I’m a voracious reader, it’s something that I adore and always find time for, and that now has made me passionate about my kids loving reading too. Last year every week I volunteered at my kids school and did reading groups with kindergarten boys, and I loved every minute of it.
    Thank you for such a thought provoking read!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      What a fantastic passion! See reading is one of my loves… I enjoy it but if I could skip the reading part and just have the knowledge and entertainment I’d do that instead and save myself the time! What an excellent idea to volunteer in connection with your passion! Brilliant!

  2. Nadine 7 years ago

    fantastic article young lady! My passions are working with kids (me and kids are like magnets) and teaching – I actually really love all the planning and prep that goes into it as well as the main event. And I will never ever get sick of watching dance, but sometimes at a party getting out on the dancefloor seems just a bit too much like work . . . (I’m a dance teacher)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      See there you go! I love teaching but I hate all the prep that goes with it – you’re passionate about it, I merely love it! 🙂

  3. annamichal 7 years ago

    I’ve been a singer for a long time and used to think that was a passion. But I would dread training, dread rehearsals and especially dread the loooooong nights of performing. And I love cooking, but it doesn’t make me come alive, it’s just fun and also delicious. And I like what I do for work, but I wouldn’t do it out of choice in my spare time if no one was paying me.

    I’m pretty sure I only have one passion. I love writing and the process of writing and can’t remember a time when I didn’t. That’s enough, though. It’s pretty all consuming.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      I think is a particularly exhausting passion. It is all consuming and very difficult to be good at. Writing is plenty enough passion. x

  4. I know writing and running are my passions because I just can’t not do them. A day or two without doing one or both of these things and I just don’t feel quite ‘right’.

    Brilliant piece gorgeous – you are on fire at the moment! (more so than normal!)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Thank you love! I’m concentrating hard on only publishing stuff that people will actually take something away from. There’s enough crap on the internet without me adding to it.

  5. Recycled Interiors 7 years ago

    Fab piece-I have so many passions and I know they are passions because I love all of them, my issue is having too many to fit in! I have always been a singer too and have taken lessons and sung on stage. I also loved acting as a kid and performed in a few shows as an adult – but I hate the performance part. I am however totally passionate about singing. I sing all the time. I have a mike at home and use it often, I sing when I am running with my headphones on, loud, and don’t care what anyone I pass by thinks. I am passionate about writing, always have been. Poetry, stories, blogs – journalism was my childhood dream and now as a blogger, I am living it. I find it hard to not just write when the mood takes me, so discipline is not my passion, but the writing is. My English teacher parents instilled the love of words in my soul. I am also a painter and even went back to school a few years back to study art but found that study was not my passion! But painting is. I am also passionate about running and exercise and being fit. You can probably toss in hard rubbish scouring, vintage shopping, upcycling and DIY! I think I am probably what is called a multi passionate! 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      That’s absolutely thing! Perhaps creating things is your passion? 🙂

  6. Jana Millerj 7 years ago

    “… if something is that difficult and it’s causing you stress then don’t bloody well do it.” Agree!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      It’s so important to remind people of that. I’ve done plays with people who have done nothing but complain the whole time and I’m like ‘Dude. This is a hobby. It’s totally not compulsory. If you hate it, leave!’. Der!

  7. Jackie @ Hippie Mumma 7 years ago

    My passion is horses and working on the land. I did a course in agriculture and it was the happiest ive ever been. Continuing it as my career wasn’t realistic because of a long stretch of injuries needing 5 surgeries that followed. So I had to discover a new passion which takes time.. years in fact. I too love blogging. I also love crystals and anything spiritual. So I’m trying to make my passion my career because who wouldn’t want to do what they love for work?! Okay, some people like to keep their passion separate, in fear that making it their daily job will ruin their love for it. Perhaps that another post for you to cover haha.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh good one! I actually have a theory about your passion your career and how carefully you have to tred to preserve your passion for it. I feel a blog post brewing!

  8. homebase5 7 years ago

    Great article! My challenge is that my work used to inspire me and be my passion, but that passion has slipped away. Trying to work out whether it’s time for a break up, and find something else, or if I need to put in more effort (maybe just got complacent). So I’m currently working through a series of ‘find your passion’ type material to identify the very things you are talking about.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      There’s a theory that you shouldn’t ever make your passion your work – I don’t love the idea of that but it has merit – writing has certainly changed for me since it became my job. That’s why I do other stuff too like consulting and speaker because I don’t want to ruin it.

      • homebase5 7 years ago

        Interesting thought – I think Kelly Exeter has also written something similar. More to ponder …

  9. BEST LINE EVER: “… who doesn’t want a horizontal mambo with a glistening sea hunk while waves crash over your frenzied writhing?”
    So glad this is my final thought before dozing off. Major lols Smags!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      You are welcome! Let’s hope your dreams were filled sexy sea fantasies.

  10. mumabulous 7 years ago

    Writing is my passion. I wish it weren’t the case. Why do I have to be passionate about the activity that is the least likely to bring in any financial reward. Why couldn’t I be passionate about statistical analysis or tax accounting?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Totally. I’d love to be passionate about coding or making people not die.

  11. Bec @ HoP 7 years ago

    Wow, that’s sheer simple brilliance! Thank you.

  12. I freakin’ love this, my talented friend! I couldn’t agree more. For me, I’m all about communicating and connecting. My passion is definitely writing and so my blog affords me an outlet to do this. The bonus of my blog is social media. Blog + social media = happy Sonia! x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh you ARE all about that! And you’re bloody good at it too. x

  13. merilyn 7 years ago

    a good post smags!
    i love your stuff! … it always show when someone is passionate about something!
    I love to paint and make art I think you know this! .. lots of love m:)X

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      I do know that! And it’s obviously your passion… you’ve been doing it for so long!

  14. This really made me think Carly – right now I’m going through some sort of mid-Jan crisis about what the hell I’m doing. It could be PMS or it could be that I’m so bogged down with boring paid writing that my passion, which is creative/other writing is taking a back seat! Bloody money!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Oh I know it’s the worst! That’s another great thing about knowing something is your passion – you even enjoy the shit part! I do more boring writing than dun writing (although I know it appears the opposite online!) and even if I’m writing about microwaves I still enjoy it… obviously less than the other stuff!

  15. Bec 7 years ago

    Sometimes I think I’m not passionate about writing because I have to do it for work and it becomes tedious. But I’ve kept my blog going for almost 4 years. So maybe. Maybe. And also, no one is passionate about bump out!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Bump out sucks. I fucking HATE bump out. I had the best way of avoiding back in the day… it was a complicated process of always carrying things around! I think if you can maintain a blog for a significant period of time that counts as a passion!

  16. Maxabella 7 years ago

    I’m loving your words right now, Carly. Better than your better which was already better than most. My passions are definitely writing and photography and you could probably

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      Thank you so much that’s lovely to hear! I’m concentrating really hard this year on not posting any crap! It’s hard work but there’s enough filler bullshit on the internet without me adding to it! 🙂

  17. Maxabella 7 years ago

    throw my husbie and kids in with that and I’m all passioned out. Except growth – I’m passionate about that too.

  18. Tahlia Meredith 7 years ago

    I love your distinction, you’ve described it perfectly! For me it’s my blog – even when I think about all of the things I need/want to do and feel overwhelmed I still freakin’ love it. Same with writing. I think Sonia captured it above: communication and connection. Yep!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 years ago

      It’s the consistency that adds to it too… if you can maintain a blog for a decent period of time you can say you’re pretty passionate about it! I’m coming up to 8 years this year! Good lord!

  19. Nardia 7 years ago

    I love this post… but man it has made my head hurt. I have not been able to get it out of my mind all week because I’m not 100% sure if I agree or disagree. In the end I had to do a brain dump to work out why – thanks for the kick up the arse I needed to go there. Feel free to check it out – It’s not pretty but it’s got the cogs ticking and I think there’s a lot to unpack there. Thank you!

  20. hugzillablog 7 years ago

    YEEEESSSSSSSS! Spot on. It’s writing for me too. I love the craft, the editing, everything. Even when I’m writing freelance copy, I still love the process, even if the content leaves me cold.

  21. Shell 7 years ago

    I’ve always loved sewing, and still do. Now it’s also my job, its to my surprise still something I love, even though some parts are tedious, so I niw say its my passion. Whereas gardening was something I enjoyed, I tried to incorporate it into my job but enough love isn’t there to sustain my interest!

  22. So glad Kelly pointed this post out to me, somehow I missed it first time around. Very pertinent for my current dilemma of trying to ‘find myself’. Figuring out what is a passion and what isn’t and then trying to turn that into a career.

  23. yinyangmother 7 years ago

    Glad to have found this post via Kelly – so much sense in it and a reminder to take another look at how I spend my time. I feel there are things I get lost in the flow of writing (most of the time) and video making – just need to work on making these things into my own thing, rather than part of my job/sideline hobby.

  24. Jessica 7 years ago

    Where have you been all my life? Love your posts. I found you through Hair Romance so a shout out to her also for helping me find you. This particular post was really eye opening to me. Maybe I am forcing myself to much thinking something is my passion, when it is not.

    You know when you see the phrases all the time about “loving the journey” and stuff? I always thought, “Yeah, love the journey. Right on.” But after reading your post I realized I totally didn’t get it. The journey, the process, same thing. I’m trying to hard and I’m not enjoying the process so maybe what I am working on is definitely not my passion. Time to rethink things a bit.

    Keep the reality checks coming. They are much appreciated here.

  25. Mysa 4 years ago

    I am doing degree in fashion designing but I am not interested in this field and also don’t have passion for this, I love singing when I sing I feel so happy and I just feel relax and when I sing I really sing from my soul, is it singing my passion?


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