Applying Passion To Every Day Life
January 21, 2012, 12:17 am
Filed under: Passion, Personal Development | Tags: , , , , , ,

Whilst following Leo Babuata’s steps to finding my passion, i’ve realised something fundamental, that finding a passion is like looking for a book in a library.  Finding it is not what is important, using it is.  I’ve also realised that I don’t need to find my most complete passion in order to start applying passion to my everyday life and making myself and my family happier in the process.

So today I’ve been looking at how to apply passion to everyday life.  Many people say that if you do even a boring job with enthusiasm and to the best of your ability, you find yourself enjoying rather than enduring it.  It’s true, after the novelty of working in the frozen department at a big supermarket had worn off, the shifts that I enjoyed the most were my most productive, and it was my being productive that made me enjoy the shift, not my enjoyment causing the productivity.  By doing the best that I could, stacking the shelves neatly and meeting my targets as to how many boxes of things I was meant to put out on the shelves, made me feel discipline and proud of myself.  The saying goes, if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and I truly believe this.  Half doing a job just creates a sense of dissatisfaction and an underlying sense of a lack of self-worth.

So how to apply the principles of passion to everyday life.  Rather than seeing ‘passion’ as something extraordinary, see it as everything that you like, everything that you are interested in.  Are you interested in parenting, if you have children then probably you are, it’s difficult to avoid.  So make a little bit of time every day for your family, and when you are with them, spend the time focussing on them, not on the pile of washing in the corner or the television that’s on in the background (turn it off).  Take a moment to enjoy being with them, to see their smiles or hear their voices/giggles, whatever the things are that make you truly appreciate them.  Or are you interested in writing?  Then for just 15 minutes each day, allow yourself to write with no distractions, shut the door, turn off the radio and unplug your telephone.  For those  15 minutes immerse yourself in your writing.  If you are passionate about something, you wouldn’t allow other things to creep into the time that you have doing whatever it id you are passionate about.  A good example for sports enthusiasts would be if you are watching your team, would you be as capable of enjoying it if you were also trying to have a conversation on the telephone and cook dinner? No.

Each thing that you do with your day, whether it be spending time with a loved one or doing the ironing, stop multi-tasking.  Do whatever it is that you are trying to do, as if you were passionate about it.  I think that you will be amazed at not only how much more enjoyable it can be, but also how productive you are – leaving you even more time to discover various passions that you have.


A little disappointed

Four days ago I took it upon myself to start three little challenges, and so far so good.  I’ve drunk my water, done my little bit of fitness and read my son at least one story each day.  I know it has only been four days, and I don’t entirely know what I had expected, but I feel a little bit of disappointment.  I had honestly hoped for a sense of achievement, or some magic makeover, I realise now that was simply ridiculous.

I think that this is a common problem in today’s society.  We live in anticipation of what will be, rather than focussing on the moment.  We often read only what we want to read, listen to only what we want to hear and miss out the other vital quantifying parts.  None of the bloggers that suggested starting with small changes to develop new habits said that you would get the same sense of achievement as when you achieve a much bigger goal, just that you are more likely to succeed.  And that this success could be built upon to develop into the bigger goals you may choose to set yourself.

In order not to get carried away with much of the hype that sweeps us through today and tomorrow and all of next week, one thing that I am trying to do is to make at least some moments in my day truly conscious.  Like today I was walking through some woods, it was muddy and frosty underfoot so each footstep felt different, sometimes squidgy, sometimes crunchy.  I could hear birdsong, water running somewhere, crackling and rustling of leaves and sometimes a distant train.  Then there were smaller things, the sound and feel of my hands brushing past my leg, the sound of my own breathing.  I was carrying my son on my back so there was his wriggles and warmth and little sounds now and again.  I used to spend a lot of time worrying about the future and that I didn’t know what I wanted from it, and worrying about how I hadn’t done enough with my past and yet this meant that I wasn’t able to enjoy the present moment and largely I went through my day without even realising what I was doing, falling into routines and habits that then become difficult to change.

So as i’m searching for my passion, and have the goal of trying to make a living for myself and my family from doing something that I really love, I also want to make sure that I enjoy today.  From my personal experience these are my tips to help:

  • Go outside, stop, look around you and breath deeply
  • Put post-it notes up in places that are likely to have habits you would like to change (such as on fridge, computer screen, television) that say things such as ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ and ‘is there something I’d rather be doing’.
  • Take your shoes and socks off and feel the carpet/ground beneath your feet
  • Have a sip of a cold drink and feel it inside you

All these things can help remind me that I am alive now and that the now really matters.  The questions allow me to change my mind about things that I would really rather not do as often as I do, and yet I seem to just fall into the pattern of doing them day in day out.

Good luck!

Passionate Thoughts…

It’s surprising how difficult it can be to clear one’s mind of negative ‘practical’ thoughts when trying to write some simple lists.  All I was trying to do was write a list of what I was good at, a list of what I was really interested in or enjoyed doing, a list of the sorts of things I choose to read about and finally a list of things that I had secretly dreamed of.  In particular I found it difficult to write the list of things that I was interested in without having the quantifying factor that this was a list that hopefully I’d be able to find a career from.  It made me want to miss off things like singing and swimming in the sea – because nobody would ever buy my music, and I definitely don’t want to become an open water swimming champion etc.

I would challenge everyone who reads this blog post to just take five minutes per list and write.  Maybe if you get really stuck ask a friend, and once you have a couple of ideas, more will just flow.  Even if you aren’t trying to find your passion, or career ideas, it really does just allow you a few moments access to who you are, and I’d be very surprised if you didn’t think of something and decide that you wanted to try that again.

The list I enjoyed the most, was the list of things that I secretly dreamed of.  Here there are a couple of really unrealistic things because I just don’t have the talent, such as being a West End leading lady, but it’s made me realise that I could maybe enjoy a local amateur dramatics group or similar.  It’s also got my childhood dreams of being a pilot or the next female Prime Minister.  Both these again are not out of the question, although they perhaps give better insight into the kind of things I’d like to focus on, such as making a difference and a sense of freedom, rather than being hard and fast career options.

It’s amazing how enjoyable it has been to think about these things – I shall follow on the with the next steps and report back soon.

Finding My Passion – Step One

I am beginning, but I would define my passion as doing what best aligns me with our universe to enjoy every day and have the feeling of inner-peace.  This may change and if so I shall let you know.  But that’s what is important to me and many others that I have spoken to.  Those moments where you just feel ‘right’.  I can vividly remember two of these moments, the most clear was when I was driving home in the sunshine with my windows down and some of my favourite music playing.  The other was when I was much younger and driving to our family holiday destination – I have no idea why but it seemed like I’d suddenly learned how to smile – I felt so free.

I have been reading a lot of Leo Babuata’s ZenHabits blog (I would thoroughly recommend you to do the same!) and I am going to use the following guide in order to help me discover my passion:

I have set aside a special notebook and I have started with the first step.  I have also asked a couple of my closest friends and family members to help me and I shall take this coming weekend to write a list of all the things that I think I am good at, all the things that excite me, all the things I take time to read about and also a list of my secret dreams.

I shall come back with a pared down list – and then take each item in turn with the next steps.