How Being Earnest Will Help You Find Your Passion

So you decided that 2019 is the year that you’ll finally find your passion.

Maybe you’re sick of your 9-5 job.

Or it could be that you realized you’re not getting younger.

Whatever the reason:

who wouldn’t want to find their passion and do what they love?

But the sad fact is that most people won’t ever find their passion or stumble into their dream life. And that’s because they’re not putting their heart and soul into the things they’re doing now. Or persisting in them.  

They don’t know the importance of being earnest.

What is earnestness–and why does it matter to you?

Earnestness, as defined by Merriam Webster, is the sincere and intense conviction of a pursuit. In plain English, it’s doing what you’re doing as if it were the most important thing in the world.

Do you remember the last time you felt that way about anything? (First dates not included.)

If not…

Well, you probably don’t know what it’s like to be in earnest. Which means you’re one of the many people still waiting to find their passion.

But don’t hang your head in defeat just yet!

The brilliant part of earnestness is that you can practice and perfect it in everything you do!—making your bed, doing the dishes—your day job, even.

Doesn’t matter how piddly or tedious the activity is.

When you become really consistent at doing everything like it was the most important thing in the world, you are guaranteed to live out your ‘combination of natural talent and experience’—your passion. (That’s a Charles Dickens quote. You’ll hear more from him later.)

I’ll explain in detail why this is true in just a bit. – And it will be an enormous relief to you.

But first, I want to show you how your life and dreams collapse when you aren’t living earnestly.

Warning: the accuracy of this next section in depicting your own life may be scary.

Why it’s impossible to find your passion when you aren’t being earnest

Here’s a quick breakdown:

If you aren’t doing something as if it were the most important thing in the world, then you aren’t doing it to the best of your ability.

And when you aren’t performing at your peak, then not only will you not get the results you want, and the positive feedback you need, but you’ll also be letting yourself down. Which hurts your confidence.

That lack of confidence will leave you feeling deflated, which means that you won’t work as hard or as well the next time you give your passion a stab, and that you’ll feel even worse about that activity when it comes time to do it.

Then when you come to associate your passion with feeling like a shell of a human being, you’re obviously not going to want to do it!!!—even if you actually are passionate about the thing!

Finally, if you don’t do something consistently, no matter how much you theoretically love it, and especially if you’re half assing it, you’re definitely not going to be any good at!

Once again, this is true even if the thing is your true passion!

This is why doing less than your best makes it impossible to see anything but the bad results that most people experience!

And it doesn’t matter how much less than 100% you give. – It could be 90%, or 75%, or 50%: the full on ‘half-ass’—you’re going to feel bad about your effort and your results.

So your next effort will be even less, and the one after that even less; – which gives you crappier and crappier results, and makes you feel even more miserable!

This cycle continues until you get so depressed that you have to quit—which, for most people, is sooner than later—and it convinces you of the false reality that you aren’t meant to find your passion or live your dreams….

And even if you do stumble upon your one thing, you won’t realize it. —Not until you’re pursuing it with ‘sincere and intense conviction’ and getting incredible results.

Now for the good news!

How doing your best will help you automatically find your passion

I’ve never known someone who put in a 100% effort and then immediately felt bad about themselves afterward, or regretted the effort. That’s just not reality.

When you’re doing something as if it were the most important thing in the world, that intensely focused effort is a huge reward in itself:

Doing your best makes you feel incredible and inspired and satisfied in yourself no matter what the results are.

(You know how when babies fall down a thousand times when they’re first walking, but they never stop giggling and enjoying themselves?  It’s kinda like that!)

But not only do you feel better about yourself when you do something as if it were the most important thing in the world…

perform at a much higher level, too. Exponentially better than half-assing, actually.

So each time you go back to whatever it is you’re pursuing—writing, arts, design, whatever—you’ll see more positive feedback in the improvement of your craft; which gives you hope that if you continue giving your 100% best, there’s nothing that can stop you from succeeding.

This makes you feel even better about yourself. And that euphoria makes you want to find your passion (it will be a passion at this point) with even more zealousness. Which increases the heart and soul you put into that thing. Which increases your quality and potential. Which increases your results. Which makes you feel better—and on and on and on, until you’ve arrived at the crossroads of your natural talents and experience. And you’re really successful at it.

Whatever “it” is.

And the really cool thing is that finding your passion is actually inevitable when you’re living the earnest life.

“My writing career, I felt, was a combination of natural talent and experience. And if I didn’t feel that way, I’m sure I would’ve found whatever that combination was.”

Charles Dickens

In writing this passage of the autobiographical novel David Copperfield, Dickens purposefully mentioned that if his passion weren’t writing, he would’ve found it eventually.

He didn’t state exactly why that was so. But if you read the novel, you would know that it was because of his earnestness; the trait he admired in himself and in others above all else. And he practiced it in everything he did—educating himself, studying shorthand, – even walking!

So if printing were Charles’s passion, or illustrating, then he would have stopped at writing, but would’ve fallen in love with formatting pages and tinkering with presses, or drafting new characters by freehand; and since he went hard-as-a-mug in everything else he did, he would’ve done the same with printing or illustrating, and he would’ve been very successful at those things, too. If that’s where his talents lay.

But Charles Dickens was a writer. Writing was his one thing—his combination of natural talent and experience.

And whatever your combination might be, whether you’ve discovered it or not, it exists just as surely for you as it did for Dickens or for anybody else.

The only way you can find your passion, though, is through earnestness: by pursuing everything you do with all the energy of your heart and soul; and by doing everything you do as if they were the most important things in the world.

Which you can practice all the time!

Like I mentioned earlier, the beauty of earnestness is that you don’t have to be pursuing your passion to perfect it!

This is actually where a lot of people get stuck.

They think that since they’re not doing what they’re passionate about, that gives them an excuse to half-ass it—which by now you already know this would make them unable to find their passion, even if it were staring them right in the face!

So they mope and complain all day, never realizing that they could be doing every little thing as if it were the most important thing in the world; feeling awesome about themselves, and discovering their passion by doing lots of things well, and getting incredible results from their effort.

Non-earnest people rarely stray from their comfort zone.

If you aren’t doing things in earnest, you won’t want to try lots of things. – That’s just what happens when you get bad results that make you feel bad about yourself: You don’t want to try new things.

You’ll want to stick firmly in your comfort zone, and you’ll want to pump yourself up with enough chemicals or indulge enough of your creature comforts so that you can feel tolerably well despite your lack of confidence and accomplishments, – which are the things that make you feel best.

So when you don’t do everything in earnest, you do less, which eliminates the possibility of your ever finding your combination of natural talent and experience—your passion.

Practicing earnestness every day

The easiest way to practice earnestness every day is by intentionally doing whatever you’re doing as if it were the most important thing in the world. And I mean ‘everything’…

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Praying
  • Meditating
  • Exercising
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Journaling
  • Spending quality time with your friends and family
  • Folding laundry
  • Playing your favorite sport…

The list goes on and on. But it doesn’t matter at all what it is that you’re doing, just as long as you’re actively reminding yourself,

“This is the most important thing in the world.”

And when you live like that, and have made earnestness a habit, then you’ll finally get the results you’re looking for when it comes to the thing that matters most to you. Because you’ll be getting the positive feedback and self confidence you need to sustain those results over the longterm.

This way,

when you try a lot of new things…

and you find your passion…

You’ll finally be able to stick with it and live your dream life!

* A practical way you can put this lifestyle into action is by writing out a simple message on a 3×5 card and taping it to your mirror or dresser, or anywhere you’ll see it frequently:

“Today I’m doing everything as if it were the most important thing in the world. Today I’m living earnestly.”

You can even program that message into your phone or computer as a daily reminder, like I do. I also recommend creating a recurring checkbox in your daily planner for ‘Doing Your Best!’ — and make it a big checkbox. (You’ll be surprised how effective that is for motivating yourself to that next level!)


Earnestness isn’t a topic that’s talked a lot about. So if you’ve been missing out on the benefits of living earnestly, don’t beat yourself up!

The point is for you to realize that every day is an opportunity to do your best and to practice doing everything you do as if it were the most important thing in the world. I know, it’s a foreign concept; but that’s the only way to get good results in anything.

Then after you make earnest living a habit…

You’ll either find your passion, or you’ll realize that you’ve known your passion all along.

Know what your passion is? Did this article inspire you? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Daniel Dowling
I went from being a highschool and college dropout to writing for the world's best publications in two short years. I owe ALL my success to habits like mindfulness and journaling. - So I built Millennial Success to share those incredible habits with you!