A few weeks back I wrote a post about loving your life by always finding time to do what you love. Today we’re going to go into that a little deeper, because it’s such an important topic. Bringing love into your life starts with you – and it starts with loving your life.
And what makes you love your life? Passion.
The kind of passion we’re talking about here is the kind that makes you feel excited, alive, and enthusiastic. The kind that puts a skip in your step, and gives you smiling eyes. The kind that makes you want to get out of bed early to spend time doing it, and makes you late for work because you lost track of time. The kind that gives you a zest for life.
You see, before you can have passion in your love life, you need to love your life. And the way to love your life is to be passionate about something.
So what do you do when you’re not feeling the passion at least sometime every day?
Find a Passion
Note that I didn’t say “Find your passion”. Many people feel like they have to find their one true passion, and when they don’t find any one particular thing that rises to the top, they give up and go see a movie. Sound familiar? Don’t worry; it happens to most of us.
The key here is to just find a passion – something that you can be interested in and enjoy to the point of loving life while you’re doing it. Something that you can look forward to doing every day; something that can be that little haven in an otherwise mundane day.
Something to get us out of our rut, into the world, and shake things up a bit so we can start loving our life!
It’s not as easy as it sounds. When asked “What do you love to do?” most of us find ourselves struggling to come up with an answer. Particularly when you take entertainment, such as movies, TV, reading, etc. out of the question.
So why do we have such a difficult time coming up with something we love? Because we’ve spent most of our lives being programmed by our parents, by our schools, by the media, by our society to follow directions and do what we’re told to do. What we’re supposed to do. What we should do.
In trying to follow the right path, we wind up spending all of our time and energy trying to figure out exactly what that “right” path is, what’s acceptable, what will make everyone else happy. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we don’t have any time or energy to find out what it is that we love to do.
So start by asking yourself the question What do I love doing?
If you already have one or many things that you love doing then that’s great, and you’re well ahead of the game. Go ahead and skip to the next section.
But if you’re like most of us, and you don’t know exactly what you’d do if your time was unlimited, then it’s time for some soul searching. This is where the fun begins! It takes some work, but it will be well worth it in the end.
The first thing to do is come up with a list of things that you think you might find interesting.
Close your browser, turn off the TV, grab a pen and paper, make yourself a cup of tea, and set aside an hour or so to go through this exercise. Do it right now. OK, if you can’t do it right now, if you’re at work reading this on your phone during a boring meeting, then commit to a time – say tonight, right after dinner. Or even during dinner.
Instead of watching TV or picking up a book or magazine, grab a pen and paper, your tea, put on some soft music (instrumental is best – no distracting vocals), and start figuring out what you love to do!
A good place to start is by writing down everything you’ve enjoyed doing throughout your life. The only constraint that we’ll put on it right now is that it needs to be something you can start doing right away. So if you want to spend the next year traveling the world, but don’t currently have a fat bank account and can afford to take a year off from work, then let’s table that one for now. Remember, we’re looking for things we can do immediately to inject some zest for life into our days. We’re not yet trying to be an astronaut. Baby steps.
Maybe it’s something you did a few times as a kid but never had the means to pursue it at the time. Maybe it’s something some of your friends do that you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe it’s learning a different language, learning to play a musical instrument and playing in a band, building something with your hands, or trying a new sport. It needs to be something active; think: doing, creating, teaching, helping. So if you love reading romance novels, think writing a romance novel.
Get the idea?
Just write them all down – chances are, once you get writing more and more ideas will pop into your head.
If you do have trouble coming up with ideas, take a look at your bookshelf or your internet bookmarks – what do you like to read? What do you find yourself talking about with your friends or co-workers? What documentaries do you like to watch? What have you secretly daydreamed of being or doing, but were afraid to try (or even admit)?
The point is to be open to new ideas, talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to, read books, magazines, or websites that you wouldn’t normally read. There’s a whole world of possibilities out there that you probably have never even known existed.
It’s in this expanding of our lives, discovering, learning, that we begin to feel the excitement, the sparks, that can fuel into a lifelong passion.
So once you have your list of things you might become passionate about, it's time to…
Overcome Your Fear
Why is it that we don’t we go out and try new things more often? One simple word: Fear. We’re afraid that we won’t be good enough. We start thinking thoughts like “who do we think we are that we think we can try this at our age and become great at it?”, or “I don’t know the first thing about (fill in the blank) – I don’t even know where to start”.
These feelings are, once again, unfortunately very normal. We’re led to believe that people that are great at what they do are just fortunate to have been born with some innate talent that just naturally made them great. And the media propagates this belief with sensationalistic “overnight success” stories that we all love to hear and believe.
But the reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth. While natural talent certainly helps, people who are currently at the top of their given fields got there because they were passionate about what they’re doing – so much so that they just kept on trying, right through the inevitable failures, until they became great at what they do.
So it’s time to overcome your fear, and allow yourself the chance to become passionate. You are worthy; there is nothing stopping you from finding passion except your reluctance to get started.
It helps to know that you most likely won’t be any good at first, and to allow yourself that. In fact, tell yourself that for the first few months, you’re going to be really bad at it. But if you really love doing it, you’ll continue trying, and you’ll keep getting better.
And if you find after a few months you’re just not interested anymore, that’s OK; cross it off, go down your list and try the next one.
If you want to try something that requires a lot of expensive equipment to get started, then rent the equipment at first until you’re sure that this is something you truly love doing.
Now you know what you want to do, and you’re ready to get started. At this point you’re very likely thinking “This is great, I found something I think I’d love doing, but I just don’t have the time”.
Again, all too common. The only answer?
Find the Time
Because it’s just that important. A life without passion, and the zest and enthusiasm that it brings with it, is a life that’s being wasted. So take a good look at what you’re spending your precious time on, and evaluate whether or not you are getting true life satisfaction out of it.
Do you have your “must see” weekly dramas? I get it, I’ve been there. Best thing to do? Just quit, cold turkey. Trust me, after a few weeks you won’t even miss it, and you’ll wonder why you spent so much of your time watching. In fact, it will get you more time than just the amount of time the show is actually on. You don’t realize how much time is lost because you don’t start anything when the show is coming on soon, and after it’s over, it feels like it’s too late to start into a project. So the time lost to TV is more than just the actual time the show is on.
Working long hours? Remember the old saying that nobody ever said on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time in the office”. That next promotion isn’t worth it if it leaves you without any time to enjoy your life. So unless you absolutely love what you’re doing at work, then cut back on the hours and don’t worry about missing out on the promotion. Being passionate about life beats a big paycheck any day.
Spending too much time on housework? Several options – either don’t worry about it (a messy house never killed anyone), outsource it (what’s your time worth?), or downsize to a more manageable living situation (takes time upfront, but the payoff is you have more time once you’ve made the move).
You get the idea – there’s only so much time in a day, but if you streamline your daily routine to minimize the amount of time maintenance takes, get rid of the excess entertainment, and keep a balanced work/passion schedule, then you’ll find some real time to devote to learning something new and exciting. Something that you’ll become passionate about.
And then your eyes will be smiling.