How to Live a Meaningful Life When You Don’t Have a Passion to Follow

Published on: September 26, 2018

Having a passion is great, but it’s not something that is clear-cut for everyone. Here are some approaches on how to live a meaningful life regardless of whether we’ve found a passion or not. By Carolina Herrera   When we are looking for more meaning in our lives we are often told to follow our passion. And that’s great advice if you have one. But what happens when you don’t?  When I was growing up I liked doing many things, but there was never one thing that I felt truly passionate about and this made me feel disappointed in myself. Did that mean I could never be as successful as the people around me whose lives had been transformed when they discovered their passion and went after it? Also, how was I supposed to know what to do, which projects to take on if I didn’t feel passionate about any of them?

How to feel fulfilled and successful without a one passion

So, I decided to research and find out alternative ways to feel purposeful and to give my life direction. I needed to figure out if and how I could feel fulfilled and successful, despite not having a passion to follow. Now, I would like to share some of my findings with you in case you feel like this too. This is what I’ve learnt:

1. Author Elizabeth Gilbert says: “Follow your curiosity.”

She explains that passion can feel inaccessible especially during hard times, when we are feeling down, lost and confused, whereas curiosity is always within reach. Gilbert says:
The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort… Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. And see if there is something there for you?
She adds:
For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.

2. Vishen Lakhiani, founder of the Mindvalley University, says we can find our spark and feel purposeful by getting clear on the experiences and the growth we want to have and the contribution we want to make to the world.

When we ask ourselves these questions we create a meaningful vision for ourselves, where the journey is filled with memorable moments, meaningful insights and impact.

3. Try stuff out – prototype your ideas.

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, authors of the Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, tell us to “think like a designer”. Brainstorm and come up with options, ideas of the stuff we like doing or that we feel curious about. Then start trying stuff out and see how it feels. Make mistakes, learn from them and see where that takes us. In their research, Bill and Dave found that around 80% of people don’t know what they are passionate about and that passion actually comes after having tried something out. In their words, “passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause”.

Prompts for your life

Reading this and learning these lessons was music to my ears! It gave me hope! And it inspired me to come up with my own prompt for living a more meaningful life. One that I want to share with you now.

Step 1: Think about your different roles – the different YOUs within you (maybe stick with 5, to begin with).

My list includes these: MOTHER • WIFE • SISTER • DAUGHTER • FRIEND (you can include colleague, leader, writer, teacher, whatever is important to you).

Step 2: Think about the person you want to be in each of these areas of your life.

Who do you want to be as a mother? Who do you want to be when you’re the wife/ the sister/ the daughter? For instance, when I think of myself as a mother, I think that I want to be patient, loving, understanding and inspiring.

Step 3: Ask yourself WHY do you want to be this way? Why is it important you become that person?

A clear WHY will become your key motivator/ driver moving forward. For example, I dream of my children coming to visit me in the holidays when they grow up and bringing my grandchildren over for special occasions. None of this is going to happen unless I start building a tight bond with them NOW. And that’s my driver for wanting to be super patient, loving, inspiring and understanding when I’m with them.

Step 4: Turn your answer in Step 2 into your personal mantra – this will give you direction and help you make choices.

Knowing who it is you want to become allows you to be selective about what you do. This clarity will enable you to create and pursue experiences that will hopefully offer growth, enjoyment, progress and a sense of fulfillment. Now, I hope these ideas will show you that following your passion is a good way to live but it’s not the only path towards a meaningful life.  

About the Author

Carolina is founder of, a practice designed to help women live more authentic and meaningful lives. Originally from Colombia, she grew up in London and now lives in Bangkok with her husband and kids.
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI News welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact