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Are there tools that can help me identify what kinds of tasks/goals I could be passionate about.

Any resources that provide insight into reasons why people are passionate about certain goals/tasks?

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Do you mean something like a new hobby? Or life goals? – Adam Aug 5 '12 at 21:51
@AdamTester I am more interested in identifying goals that are going to be a source of motivation in my daily life than in finding new hobbies. – AdiG Aug 6 '12 at 4:11

What Color is your Parachute is a classic for a reason. Good to get you started down the path of finding what you're passionate about. Also any sort of educational testing is helpful - even things like Myers Briggs can help you identify how you learn, which can help point you to topics of interest.

I wrestle with the idea of passion because there's lots I'm interested in, but few things I'm insanely passionate about. That said, a good indication of something you're passionate about is a topic where you can easily spend 5 minutes talking about what interests you about it. For me, that's things like collaborative consumption, UX design and a bunch of other ideas; for you, the trick is to find those things that get you excited, talking with your hands, a glimmer in your eye and more.

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There aren't really tools to help you find your life's passion; that sort of stuff is discovered. When most people become passionate about something, it's because they discover it through some means and something in their head just clicks.

I've always been passionate about computer science, and it's been so long that I can't really pin down why, but I do remember how I became passionate about linguistics. I was reading up on search engine optimization, and after reading a lot of explanations about how search engines process natural language, I followed link after link looking for more information. That was my first foray into linguistics, and as I learned more, I fell more in love with the field. It's usually just something that clicks.

That's why not everybody can find interest in every hobby. I would be bored to death by coin collecting; there is nothing in particular about it that interests me. However, there are some people that find certain aspects of the hobby very exciting, which is what keeps them interested year after year.

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What do you really enjoy doing? In any aspect of life, not just work. Do you enjoy competing, or are you a self-motivator? Do you enjoy solving, delivering, improving or creating?

Your biggest tool to identify your passions is self-assessment: really understand where you are happiest.

Then a useful key to improving work productivity is to tie work goals back to your non-work passions, so you can gain enjoyment from potentially less exciting tasks.

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