“What do you want to be when you grow up?” My dad would ask me this regularly but my reply would almost always be “I’m not sure yet.” Many kids are asked this question and some give grandiose answers but I never had one clear answer or specific passion.
Instead, my curiosity traveled many realms!
I would learn about drawing, which turned into sketching outfit designs, followed by the history of fashion, then into trends in history by decade, to biographies of people involved in big historical events, and so on.
Being homeschooled helped me be more self-directed and to explore all kinds of topics. Doing this showed me what kinds of qualities I liked from multiple interests.
(This map is a visual representation of my interests creating a chain reaction, growing off of one another.)
Years later, I became intimidated by this question: what did I want to be when I grew up?
With just a couple years left before turning eighteen, finding out what I wanted to be when I “grew up” became the big question in need of an urgent answer. I decided I had to finalize my life’s path by my graduation, so I began taking career placement tests and reading career books. The moment I started to focus all my energy on “finding my passion”, the more I felt the pressure and information overload.
Looking back, I now see that I had something called the Passion Problem.
An article on Harvard Business Review says this about the phrase follow your passion: “The verb ‘follow’ implies that you start by identifying a passion and then match this preexisting calling to a job. Because the passion precedes the job, it stands to reason that you should love your work from the very first day.” The author continues to explain how this is not the norm and is harmful to teach people.
When you become overwhelmed with the increasing pressure to find your ultimate passion and then the perfect career to fit with it.
After sulking in this stressful feeling for a while, I had an opportunity to start working at a corporate office job. I began this job only days after turning eighteen and was happy to begin my adult life in the workforce. Although I learned a lot from this job, it didn’t completely get me out of my ‘passion problem’ thinking so I still felt I was missing something. Everything changed with two words: Tiny House.
2,100 sq. ft.
That’s 91% of the total size!
Equals My House
Sounds crazy, right? I thought so too when my boyfriend (now husband) first suggested we construct and live in a house that little! My curiosity was piqued again and I started digging! Following tons of research and extensive discussion, Eddie and I decided to build a tiny house.
Through seven months of long arduous days working in harsh weather, we constructed and moved into our new home. I absolutely learned far more while making my bitsy abode than all the career placement quizzes put together.
I realized that aimlessly (and stressfully) looking for some airy career that I’m immediately passionate about doesn’t help me. Building my tiny house taught me that I was lacking intention, not a passion.
Once I decided I was going to construct a tiny house, I forced myself into situations where I had to be intentional with my time and energy or my house wouldn’t be built. For starters, I needed to select a trailer to put my house on. It was the foundation after all! I had to be very vigilant about finding the right trailer style, condition (used or new), length, and weight limitations.
Another example of the careful investigating I had to do is obtaining the best insulation. Did you know that some insulation doesn’t actually help contain any of the warmth in your house? Some insulation is made for interior walls and only blocks sound, which clearly couldn’t work for the tiny house. It’s pretty interesting stuff when you get into it.
How about electric work? I had to study how specific sized electrical wires can only carry a limited amount of electricity and had to determine what amount of power my house needed. If I didn’t spend time on this, then I may not have been able to use my electric cooktop stove due to lack of power!
In all my research for my house, I took very purposeful steps and found myself excited to learn more about each topic I went over. I became more intrigued with how things worked through my intentional practices, and in turn, I discovered the remedy for my passion problem. I call it the curiosity cure.
To always seek new things to learn and be open to growth opportunities, being intentional with how you invest your time.
I do not believe in having one passion anymore but I do think I should continue to explore my interests and gain extra knowledge in some of my favorites. Let’s say, becoming a Jill of all trades, and a master of some.
This is my next priority, to build on the “master of some” part. To do this, I am being intentional about my next growth opportunity, Praxis. Praxis is a college alternative that focuses on helping you find and build your skills, then actively put them to work throughout the program. One of the first steps you take with Praxis is writing a post about how you stand out from the rest, or rather, how you are breaking the mold.
After my grand life-changing event of building a tiny house, my first thought was I am breaking the mold because I built and live in a tiny house! Although this is a big part of my life, I’m not just the tiny house girl. I decided that I don’t want to be defined by my tiny house or even by Praxis. I want to be defined by my deliberate decisions to change my life based on my ever-growing curiosity and help others to do the same.
That is how I will continue to break the mold.