How to find your enthusiasm

You can be enthusiastic about everything, or you can be enthusiastic about one thing - as long as you’re doing one of those, you’re doing brilliantly. But if One Direction were wrong and you’ve not got that one thing, how do you find it?. It’s painfully easy to feel like you don’t know what that thing is, and the more you try and find one, the more it tumbles from your grasp. Everything suddenly feels like just habit masked with interest, rather than white hot passion.

It used to be the question I feared most when I was younger: What are your hobbies, Ellie? I had NONE. Literally, none. In a sea of classmates with discernible ‘things’, I had no obvious, tangible interests to call my passions, my enthusiasms - no sports teams to holler at, definitely no sports to play and be hollered at, no famed weekend routines that weren’t work. So, how can you find that ‘thing’ you’re enthusiastic about? How do you find your enthusiasm?

Think back to when you were a child

A great place to start is thinking back to childhood. What did you spend every waking second doing? What did you dream of becoming? What did you absolutely love before the tempting but tempestuous grips of adulthood set in? What would 10 year old you be expecting 30 year old you to be doing, right at this very second? (Try and think of the answer to this as a genuine childhood imagination, rather than one qualified with adult rationality - no “if money was no object” or “that’s not a real job”. Think about how 10 year old you would be expecting you to spend your days.) If nothing springs to mind, ask your family members or friends who grew up with you, as they may remember a whole formative hobby of yours that’s totally slipped your mind. How do you feel about that activity today?

Who do you feel good around?

Our friendships with different groups and personalities differ, so critically assess who you feel best around. That’s not to say that you feel bad around other people, but there’s some people who’ll consistently make you feel motivated, totally inspired, and like you’re in an 80s exercise video you’re so hyped. What do you do when with these people? What do they do? What would they say you’re enthusiastic about?

Where do you feel engaged and inspired?

Where’ve your best moments come from? Where’ve you been that’s made you come away with your mind and heart racing with pure adrenaline? Where’s seen you bounce with such excitement that it’s spilling out of your smile you just can’t contain it? Think about why it got you feeling that way, and specifically why it got you feeling that way there.


If nothing’s immediately jumping out at you - or, alternatively, something really has jumped out at you, but it’s no longer relevant, panic not. Keep an open mind and at some point you’ll stumble across something you could never have imagined being your Thing, but it’ll feel just right. Do both that thing you’ve always wanted to do - bucket list territory - and something on a whim - more like Yesman territory - as both may be illuminating. You’ll never know unless you try is such a cliché - yes, I do know I don’t like prawns without ever trying them, because they have eyes in them - but in this case it’s true.

Knowing that enthusiasm is important is half the battle, so be proud of yourself for getting this far already!