Applying the Passion Test

Living a passion-fueled life can bring purpose, fulfillment, harmony, peace, and financial wealth.  With such a high reward, it’s crazy so many people simply just get by in life without grasping any substantial amount of passion.  Sadly, many never complete the few steps to truly think about their passions and take the action necessary to realize a passion-fueled life.  You can be one of the ones that succeed!

About three years ago I read Janet and Chris Attwood’s The Passion Test, and its teachings became a cornerstone of my decision-making process.  I’ll introduce their concept of the passion test quickly, however don’t consider this a substitute for reading the book! As you continue reading, I suggest you open and view this Microsoft Excel document which will give you a visual tool and example you can modify to your own situation.


Screenshot of the applied passion test tracker file.

Here’s the fundamental question:  “When my life is ideal, I am ___________.” The answer equates to your passions.  Do this now, and write down what pops into your head.

After you have a list of all the passions you can think about (at least ten), rank order them by determining which ones are most important to you.  Rewrite the list, placing the most important ones at the top.

Now that you’ve identified what your passions are, you still need to have a measurable aspect to them so you know that you are on the road to reaching them, or that you have achieved them.  In order to do this, the Attwoods suggest creating passion markers, or tangible proof you’ll have accomplished when you’re fully living each passion.  You can do this by answering:  “____________ will have happened when I am fully living my passion.”  Strive to have at least five markers for each of your top five passions.

Once you list your passions and determine their markers, you’re able to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how much you’re currently living those passions.  With the markers in mind, you can give a subjective answer to where you stand.  Don’t think about the number too long; rather, its best just to read the passion and markers and annotate the first number that pops into your head.  This gives you empirical data to show which passions you’re currently living in line with and which you may benefit by focusing more on.

Although this information is quite valuable, the minmylife community takes The Passion Test’s method a step further than the Attwoods’ book.  We think of the passions not just in the current time, but also in the past, and make assumptions about the future.  Doing this allows us to determine which time periods and situations in the past were most aligned with our passions and give us clues to how we can better intentionally live our life in the future to maximize our passions.  Additionally, we can use this mental framework to predict how certain life choices would impact our passions, and use that as a tool when faced with challenging life decisions.

Next to each passion that you’ve already marked with your current numbers, write time periods in your past (examples: school, jobs, locations, etc) and annotate the numbers of how well you were living in line with your passions according to your markers during each of those time periods.  You’ll probably quickly notice that the time periods you scored high in your passions were likely the times in your life when you felt most happy, fulfilled, and positive.

Now, the truly best part of this exercise is realizing how we can apply this mental framework to major life decisions.  When faced with a career change, geographic move, or other dilemma, you can run the numbers based on how you perceive your options will allow you to live in accordance with your passions.  Of course, there are some assumptions here, but it does allow you to think about the ramifications of life decisions with numerical data backing up your passionate tendencies.

Through this future application of your passion test, you can set yourself up to live a more intentional life.  The Attwoods write “when you are clear; what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent that you are clear.”  This sage advice advocates for us to think deeply about what life decisions will empower us to live a passion-filled life.  When we are clear on what option we should take, it will become reality.

I do this exercise about every six months, and before any major life decisions.  I find it brings clarity and helps take some of the short-term emotions out of decisions that will have lifelong implications on my ability to live according with my passions.  Doing this regularly also allows me to make slight changes to my lifestyle to optimize my ability to live most in line with my passions.  With this tool I’ve now achieved a life with more purpose, fulfillment, harmony, peace, and financial wealth and I’m optimistic this method can work for you as well.

If you’d like to learn more about living a passion-fueled life, check out the coaching page 

A quick Google search yielded this booklet which can step you through The Passion Test:

If you liked this, check out the Passion-Driven Life page.


2 thoughts on “Applying the Passion Test

  1. Great post! This is the first time I’ve thought of passions to be ‘worked on’ and analysed opposed to something that is automatic. To make a passion a success it needs work and attention. Going to pick up this book next week during my annual leave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the post, and you’re absolutely correct. I like to think of it this way: what we put attention on in our lives will become better–so why not do the same for our passions? I’m excited to hear what you think of the book!

      Liked by 1 person

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