Lifestyle

How to Discover and Nurture your Passion in Nigeria

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Discover and nurture your passion
Written by Robin Okwanma

Tell me, what’s your passion? Perhaps we should rephrase it, or make it clearer. WHAT ACTIVITY OR THING MOTIVATES YOU?  What excites you to give more of yourself? This is what sums up your passion. Your passion is that inner yearning, and the driving force behind the choices you make. It helps you to define your life goals and values. When you discover and nurture your passion, it can bring out the best in you. It can take you to unimaginable heights and achievements if you put in the work.

 

Discovering your passion involves some degree of experimentation: trying out new things and continuous learning, unlearning and relearning. Until you find those activities that truly bring out the spark in you. But discovery is only the beginning. You need to both discover and nurture your passion continually; in fact it is a life-long task. And it will mightily influence the direction of your life at the personal and professional levels. Here we have a few suggestions about how to discover and nurture your passion in Nigeria, for a rewarding personal and career life. 

Discover Yourself: Start with Your Hobbies, Interests and Talents

A good place where you can start to discover and nurture your passion is in your hobbies and interests. Find out which activities you naturally enjoy doing. Something you can pour your whole heart into, without feeling it. Again, what other things interest you – what activities, objects and events catch your attention or fancy again and again?  Much of that discovery comes out by trying new things (and sometimes taking risks). 

Channels of self-discovery include reading books, newspapers and magazines. It could be through going on fun trips or exploring different neighborhoods with friends and loved ones. Or It could even be through learning one or more crafts or skills that interest you. It might even be by joining social clubs and organizations; or participating in sports, music, public speaking, acting, charity and volunteer events. 

Equally useful is the habit of paying attention to your daily thoughts and activities. This is called MINDFULNESS. When you immerse yourself more and more in the experience of something that interests or excites you, it naturally becomes your passion. That way, you can discover and nurture your passion as your interest in that particular area or thing grows. 

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Nurture Your Passion from An Early Age (While You Can)

You can discover and nurture your passion at any age. Additionally, you may have one, or more passions over the course of your life. You might discover one early, and another one later in life. As such, discovering your passion has nothing to do with your age. However, it is a big blessing to discover yourself while you are still young. 

There are kids (even toddlers in some cases) who discovered their passion early enough to cultivate it. We know it would require additional help and support from their families and loved ones. Unfortunately, such a support system is not always available in Nigeria – as parents often impose their own career or life choices on their children. Such an aberration is often presented as their ‘tradition’, ‘religious belief’, ‘family heritage’, or just social class and peer pressure decisions.  Neither is the Nigerian educational system adequately developed to help people truly develop their talents and interests.  

Nevertheless, there is a good chance of succeeding early in life when you discover and nurture your passion from an early age. With some adult guidance, of course. It will help you to channel your energies in the relevant profession(s) and work in rewarding environments. It will also stop you from wasting quality years of your life on unprofitable ventures. 

Work on Your Character, and Cultivate Your Best Traits

Your talent can attract people and opportunities to you. But your CHARACTER will sustain your onward growth and success in life. It will help you to cultivate and keep valuable relationships, and help you to preserve your career. 

To develop a good character requires gathering real-life experiences, and learning positive behaviors and values from mentors who have succeeded. It is also a valuable tip to ensure you are in the company of like-minded, focused and positive people. Such persons will boost your morale, polish your character, and help you to stay true to your life’s goals and passion.

Developing your character also has something to do with the values you believe in. Your values help to shape and nurture your character, beyond your life experiences. Your values also combine with your passion to eventually secure you a job in organizations with similar values. 

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If you love Nature, your passion and values will eventually take you into a workplace that is passionate about Nature. It could be in agriculture, or environmental and climate sustainability jobs. It is necessary that you find yourself in a professional environment that aligns with your personal values. Without this, you will find it difficult to grow or succeed in such an environment. 

Constantly Put Your Imagination to Work: Get Creative

You want to succeed with your passion? You must WORK at it. There is no shortcut. Just as you need to exercise and flex your muscles to keep them in shape. For you to stand out above others, you will not be merely armed with your raw passion. You must work on yourself, continually refine your passion and talents, and make them stand out. You must put on your thinking cap and sharpen your creative edge. 

In the long run, your level of creativity and hard work will speak for you in a vast market of creatives. Out there, there is stiff competition; and scarce resources are the bane of Nigeria. But use what you have to develop yourself. Don’t ignore this critical fact. 

Keep Going: Be Focused and Consistent

Nurturing your passion is work, we already agree. But developing the attitude to stay focused is priceless. You will likely encounter challenges along the way. People will discourage or criticize you (including loved ones). But you must not give up what the Almighty has deposited in you. It is a treasure, continue working on yourself. 

Remember also that making a success out of your passion takes time and patience. At whatever point you discover your passion and talents, be ready to put in the effort and time they require to blossom. You will surely be rewarded over time. 

Yet again, do not exchange your passion for money. Never allow your need for money to override your passion. Otherwise, you will end up disappointed and misled. This is the unfortunate case of many Nigerian graduates, who have (willingly or unwillingly) abandoned their natural abilities and passion. In the pursuit of money to fend for themselves in other professions, they lose interest and morale, and eventually fall away. They go off yet again seeking for other money-making ventures, and may end up very unfulfilled – unless they retrace their steps. 

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The money may not come fast enough while nurturing your passion. But choosing what excites you as a career path and focusing on it, will eventually pay you off in the not-too-distant future. 

Continue to Gather Relevant Experience 

Experience is that invaluable teacher that accompanies you through life. You need relevant work experience to sharpen your skills and passion. You can gather experience that will positively shape your passion and future career in a number of ways. 

It could be through volunteer work. It could be through paid or unpaid internships in a relevant workplace. It could be through a work-study arrangement, or vacation jobs as a student (in schools that allow students to do part-time work). You might even apply to be a student or brand ambassador for certain organizations that align with your passion. 

We encourage you to do some findings of your own, and apply to organizations that align with your passion and interests. Some of them have immediate or eventual openings for people who are ready to learn. By applying to these organizations or firms, you are positioning yourself to be discovered. Also endeavor to make use of any existing connections you have with family members, friends, student colleagues, neighbors, clubs and organizations to secure such jobs. 

 

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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.