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boos on finding your passion

5 Surprising Books on Finding Your Passion In Life

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For most of my adult life, I have been trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up”. I can remember back to my early 20’s, spending countless Sunday afternoons in the self-help section of the Barnes & Noble in my NYC neighborhood, with piles of books on finding your passion and purpose in life. I had fallen into a lucrative career that was personally unfulfilling and I yearned for something more meaningful in my life. 

Most of the time, reading those books on how to find your passion and purpose only made me feel worse. I was looking for an easy answer, a quick fix, a step-by-step guide.  And yes, I found many books of this sort, but they seemed to leave me feeling even more confused, like maybe I had no passions at all.

I didn’t realize at the time that the answer to what felt like a big mystery to me couldn’t be found in a book on how to find your passion.  It could only be found in how I was living my life and I had been missing this key element.  

Related: “This is 40(ish): A Letter to My Younger Self”

How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

For the majority of people, defining what you’re truly passionate about is no easy feat.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who is able to figure it out, then living a life driven by those passions is even more challenging.   Life’s circumstances and responsibilities often get in the way, but we’ll save that for another post.

In this post, let’s talk about how to find your passion and purpose in the first place, because it’s certainly no walk in the park to figure this part out. A lot of people never do.  

I used to spend hours thinking about this, journaling on it, reading books, looking for someone or something to give me the answers I so desperately wanted.

But I was missing something.  I was missing the most important ingredient.

I wasn’t living my life with curiosity.  I wasn’t open to the “what if’s ”.

Sure, I would try new things, but I didn’t have the right intentions behind why I was doing things, as I had not developed or nurtured a sense of curiosity about the world around me.

My fixed mindset did not allow me to believe that new experiences could be opportunities for growth and learning and thus I was not viewing the world from a place of curiosity. I failed to see the possibility in things and instead believed that every new experience would ultimately disappoint me.

It was like I was going through the motions, doing things so I could check them off the list, because I should do them. Rarely thinking what if this new experience leads me to something great.

“I should try this new gym class because it’s really popular” NOT “What if I try this new gym class and I love it?”. 

“I should meet my friend at the film festival because I haven’t been out in weeks” NOT “I’m going to meet my friend at the film festival because what if the movie is really interesting and I learn something new?”

If you are trying to discover what you’re passionate about, simply being curious about things and being open to the “what if’s” in life is the most important thing you can do.

Related: “5 Legit Reasons You’re Feeling Stuck in Life”

Why Curiosity Is Key to Discovering Your Passions

Sometimes it may feel like too much pressure to “find your passion in life”.  As mentioned above, a lot of people can’t seem to figure this part out.

It’s much easier to feel what you’re curious about versus knowing your life’s great passions and purpose. Having a sense of curiosity about life is the entry point to discovering your interests, what fascinates and excites you, and thus the things that may become your passions in the future.  

When you’re passionate about something, it has great meaning to you and you find it so interesting that you want to know as much as you can about it. But this also works the other way around.  The more curiosity you have, the more likely you are to want to learn about something and consequently it becomes more interesting and meaningful to you over time.  

So just try being curious, open yourself to possibility and follow the “what if’s”.  Don’t worry about the outcome, just let it lead you where it will and you’ll see that you will learn new things about YOU.  

You might find out that your passions have been there all along. And remember, it’s never too late to start creating the life you want.

Related: “The Truth About Why You’re Not Going After What You Want In Life”

5 surprising books on finding your passion in life

5 Surprising Books on Finding Your Passion In Life

I started this post talking about how reading a book on how to find your passion is not going to give you the answer you’re seeking; it never did for me.  However, if you can unleash your curiosity, and start seeing the possibility in life, then you are on your way.

Therefore, below are some books that may surprise you, as they are not some step-by-step guides or the typical books on finding your passion in life. Rather, I hope they will inspire you to see things from a fresh perspective and help to awaken your curiosity:

1.) “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is all about following your curiosity rather than listening to fear. It is for the creative souls who may be scared to pursue their creativity.  “Big Magic” explores what living a creative life really means, how to follow your curiosity to find your passions as well as more joy and meaning in your life.  The message sometimes touches on the spiritual, but also remains pragmatic and inspires readers to live a life driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.  I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author, and found Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice to be both soothing and encouraging.  

book on how to find your passion

Listen to “Big Magic” on Audible, read the Kindle e-book, or buy a classic paperback or hardcover.

2.) “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle

I love everything Glennon Doyle does – her books, her podcast, her super cute blended family, and I’m sure I’ll love the new TV series that will be based on “Untamed” as well!  This book will inspire you to think about everything in life differently.   More about how to find yourself, than how to find your passion, it will show you how to live a beautiful and full life, by listening to your knowing (intuition), setting personal boundaries that honor yourself, and breaking free from familial and societal expectations that have been ingrained in you.   

book on how to find your passion

Listen to “Untamed” on Audible, read the Kindle e-book, or buy a classic paperback or hardcover.

3.) “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis is a mom of four, CEO of a multi-million dollar lifestyle brand and media company, best-selling author, and in “Girl, Wash Your Face”, she is both your biggest cheerleader telling you to go for the goal, and a life coach giving you the tools to do so.  Each chapter of this book breaks down the biggest lies we tell ourselves as women, that keep us stuck and unable to move forward in pursuit of a life full of passion, authenticity, and purpose.  As you read through “Girl, Wash Your Face”, you’ll be fired up to get out there and start going after your biggest dreams and goals in life.  

book on how to find your passion

Listen to “Girl, Wash Your Face” on Audible, read the Kindle e-book, or buy a classic paperback or hardcover.

4.) “What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey

“What I Know For Sure” is a compilation of Oprah’s powerful wisdom on joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, and clarity from her own life experience.  Oprah encourages readers to stop and look around so we won’t miss the tiny “miracles” we tend to overlook everyday.  It will remind you to be mindful of what truly matters in life and open your eyes to all that is possible, including how your own personal way of spirituality plays a role in leading you to find your passion and fulfill your purpose.  Do yourself a favor and get the audiobook so you can hear Oprah’s beautiful words in her own melodic voice.


Listen to “What I Know For Sure” on Audible, read the Kindle e-book, or buy a classic paperback or hardcover.

5.) “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown

I will admit that I haven’t yet had the chance to read this one, but it’s at the top of my list.  Dr. Brene Brown is a world-renowned author, research professor, and thought leader.  In “The Gifts of Imperfection”, she provides a set of powerful tools with which to cultivate a richer, more fully engaged and connected life by embracing who you are and moving past who you think you’re supposed to be in order to live a more “whole-hearted” life.

book on how to find your passion

Listen to “The Gifts of Imperfection” on Audible, read the Kindle e-book, or buy a classic paperback or hardcover.

5 Surprising Books on Finding Your Passion In Life

I hope you will check out some of these books and that they inspire you to look within yourself to find your natural curiosity. In doing so, you will be able to see the world around you from the lens of possibility and become open to all the “what ifs” that life has to offer you. 

I’d love to hear what your favorite inspirational books are.  Comment below.

For more help finding your passion in life, try starting a journaling practice! Check out my FREE Journaling Guide below and this post: “Types of Journaling: Which Is Best For You?”.

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how to find your passion and purpose

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7 thoughts on “5 Surprising Books on Finding Your Passion In Life”

  1. Glad that I found this blog post! I am at that age where I have a lot of options and it can get confusing? Can’t wait to read these books

  2. As someone in my mid-thirties, I struggle a lot with some of the same sentiments. I happen to be a big nonfiction fan and plan to add several of these recommendations to my TBR list. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Interesting list of books! I’m in my forties, a new mom, and have already found my purpose in life years ago, but it’s nice to see what’s available now for the younger generation 🙂 I never had that help when I was young, but I traveled the world so much and studied abroad for many years, so that I never had time to think about anything but learning languages, being a teacher, and having a career that I loved.

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