Ted Talks: Finding Your Passion

Meet my friend Kyle. He’s perhaps what you could call a rare species: he wants to become an astronaut someday. I like to think of him as one of Walnut’s resident space enthusiasts – spend just a few minutes with him, and his space loving energy will infect you. From the SpaceX Dragon launch to the ISS crew switching, there isn’t anything about space exploration that Kyle can’t tell you about. He loves space so much that sometimes our friends play “Astronaut training”, where we pose as rogue meteorites, and he the hapless astronaut who must dodge the dangers.

I want to tell the story of Kyle because every time after our conversations together, I feel inspired by the passion he has for space. (Not to mention I learn something new every time as well, thank you Kyle.)

They also always spark within me some self-questioning and introspection – sometimes more of an uncomfortable self-interrogation – as I struggle to answer: where do my passions lie? And if it’s lying dormant somewhere, how can I unearth and develop it? Or, scarily, what if I don’t have a passion?

As it turns out, like most things in life, passion is rather complicated. There are a multitude of differing viewpoints on what passion is and how we find it. For instance, there seem to be many who are like Kyle, who have a passion, pursue it with vigor, and become successful following the path.

Yet there seem to be as many, if not more, people who are looking for their passions, through a variety of ways. A friend told me about the solitary journey of author Elizabeth Gilbert in “Eat, Pray, Love”, a compelling story of one’s search for meaning, and yes, passion in some beautiful and spiritual places around the world.

Another path is laid out in Professor Carl Newport’s rather controversial book, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” It makes the argument that passion is cultivated by acquiring valuable skills that result in feelings of autonomy, mastery, impact, and connection.

Is there one right answer? Perhaps not. Nevertheless, I hope that uncertainty doesn’t stop us from asking the question and looking for what is right, for each of us.

For those of you who know where your passion is – please share it with us, because that energy is contagious.
For those of us who are still exploring, don’t despair – with Kyle as an example, I’d say the pursuit is worth the effort.

Do you have a passion you want to share? I’d love to hear your story at

By Ted Zhu, Editor-in-Chief

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