I'm not here to ramble off the same pedantic quips and catchphrases you heard before, I've heard them too and I don't really know if I care for them all. But, they are right. It's best to do something you love. The big question is how do you really know what it is you love. That question sounds like a no-brainer but it can be a tricky one. The first assumption you're going to need to get over is that you'll be able to do what you love as a job, or at least your main occupation.
The world's just not built that way. The world would be better off with too many farmers, doctors and janitors, than it would be with too many painters and musicians. As essential as art and music are to a good life, food and health are more important
Just because you may not be doing what you love for a day job, which may be a good thing, doesn't mean you can't pursue your passion in your spare time.
For one thing, if you turn your passion into your meal-ticket you may grow weary of it and begin to begrudge your talent and take no joy from it. Especially if what your doing is bent to the whims of clients and customers. I love to write, but most of my income still comes from working in retail.
Enough of that though. How do you identify what you love. You have to get inside your head and dig through the memories. It's as simple as that. Look through your whole life, and try to identify patterns of things you keep doing, things that don't go away.
There's three things I love to do:
1) I love to write, and I like to think I'm fairly good at this.
2) I love art, I even did graphic design for awhile. I'm above average for this but well below the average actual designer. I have friends who are graphic designers and when I want to feel humble I look at their work and compare it mine.
3) I like to make things and improve on things. In short I like to tinker. I'm quite good at that too but I don't know if I could make a good run of it over the long term.
Now, if we get back to what I was saying. I can look through my whole life and see these three things pop up again and again. I'd take apart my toys to see how they worked, it was awhile before I learned to put them back together again. I can remember writing all throughout my life, sometimes in fits and starts but the memories are there.
But there was also drawing, in fact I used to have trouble writing because my hand just wanted to draw stuff. All in all it came down to the writing though. the drawing has peaked out and I only see incremental gains, but the writing is something I'm still growing at.
So, sit down in your favourite place to think and go through your life and try to find three things you've always loved. You're looking for motifs and recurring themes. These are your real passions, these are the ones that you love because they are inside of you scratching to get out. They are not there because you saw them in a movie and thought it would be cool, or because you think you'll make a whole bunch of money doing it they're there because they are you.
Remember, when you go searching look for something you would willing do for free on top of everything else you have to do to make a go in this crazy world. I used to think I would get into computers because there's money in computers and people need money, but that bored me silly. I used to think I could write the perfect novel and be a millionaire. That was a good dream, but now I know it wasn't the money I was after it was the writing. My brain was just tricking me into following by passion by dangling the money carrot in front of me.
How do I know this is true, because I'll write for free, for the sheer of joy of it. That doesn't mean I don't want to make a living of it, it means I've found what I love.