I’m a passionate idealist, and proud of it.
I’ve always been risking it all to have it all: my freedom, my creativity, the bank balance, the travel, the perfect lifestyle. Why? Passion — that juicy feeling that makes everything worthwhile.
Passion is that magic carpet that sweeps us off our feet and carries us far beyond our dreams so swiftly, we don’t even notice time passing anymore.
I’ve always been afraid of waking up one day and having passion disappear like a fleeting dream amidst the reality of everyday life. So many people say to me: We don’t know where it went, and we don’t even know where to start looking for it.
Do you have to quit your job and chase your dream just to live a life of meaning and fulfilment? How do we find passion and creativity in our lives without risking it all? Can’t we just have it all?
Good news: You don’t have to risk it all.
But if we don’t have passion in our lives, we risk losing the most important thing of all: feeling fulfilled as a human being.
I’ve taken the risks, so you don’t have to. Here are 10 steps you can start taking every single day to cultivate more passion in your own life, starting today. Pick one, or do them all.
- Do less: Make space and time to play and discover yourself. Pull out your agenda and identify 2–3 blocks of time in your week to do nothing, with no one but you. Don’t schedule a grocery run, a workout, or a chat with your friend in this time. Just spend some time alone, in a peaceful environment, write or draw or simply let all your ignored thoughts flood freely through your mind, without judgement or editing. When you make this a regular habit, you’ll start to learn more about yourself and what your passion is, spontaneously.
- Do more: Creativity comes from uncertainty, productivity comes from clarity. Not knowing the answer to a question is the best opportunity for creativity, because everything is still possible in the unknown. As soon as you start to find clarity, you start to focus and eliminate possibilities, which makes you more productive, but also less creative. So the next time you face uncertainty, see it as an opportunity for adventure and exploration. Make the most of the time you spend not knowing the answer, and use it to explore any and every possibility without worrying about practicality. You can always figure out how to change a possibility into a probability afterwards.
- Embrace discomfort: too much convenience creates stagnation. As humans, we constantly strive for more comfort and convenience in our lives, and this desire to depart from discomfort elicits a heartfelt effort to find innovative solutions to make things easier. But when everything becomes too convenient and comfortable, we fall into a routine, we stop being challenged, and we turn into zombies. Find at least 5 things in your daily life that are making you too comfortable, and challenge yourself to change something. Go to a different gym or grocery store, meet a new group of people, take a different route to work, or put one entire month’s pay check into your savings and pretend you have zero money to spend, if you dare.
- Your passion might not be a thing but a process. Most people don’t think deeply enough about what makes them passionate, to realise that most of the time, it’s not the thing but the process of discovery, of delight, of actually uncovering something previously unknown, that raises our pulse and gets our blood rushing. Each time you start to feel excited about something — an idea, a project, a conversation topic, an interaction — make a note on your phone or notebook about the key elements — who’s it with, what’s it about, what time of day, and what mental and emotional resources are you using at the time? Over time, you might start to realise that you feel passionate when you’re in a certain state of being, and not necessarily about the same subject.
- Your passion might stem from your frustration. Often, we get really passionate about something that we are missing in our lives, a previous experience that left a deep feeling of inadequacy or injustice within us. It makes us want to stand up and do something. To uncover these deep-rooted passions, we have to dive into some of our most uncomfortable feelings, but the reward is often the ability to identify a passion that can give you a clear sense of focus about what you really want to do with your life. Use a daily journal to explore some of your most hidden feelings of anger, sadness, fear, pain and frustration, and allow them to guide you. They’re there for good reason.
- You might have more than one passion. And you may not be able to choose. Often, a deep or practical need helps us to create focus and make a choice. But the luxury of options can lead to confusion about what to pursue. Make a list of everything you’d love to do, and then rewrite the list in order of priority. Ask yourself: If you only ever did #1–3 on this list before you die, would you be content? Rearrange your list until your answer is yes. Now you have a starting point.
- Treat your passion like your secret lover. Everyone is following their passion into entrepreneurship or digital nomading these days. It’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out if you don’t join them. But what most people don’t tell you is that when they start doing what they love every single day, they stop loving it as much because it goes from being their joy to their job. So abandon the idea that your passion has to lead to a career change, and just do it for pure love — treat it like your secret lover — something only for you to enjoy, free of any practicalities, obligations and daily drudgery.
- Don’t chase the outcome, just enjoy the ride. A dog wouldn’t know what to do with a car if he caught one. The fun is in running after it anyway. So often, we feel like we have to know how things will turn out before we begin at all, which takes us out of the present and into a future we can’t predict, creating anxiety and fear that paralyses us, and before we know it, we’ve lost the heat of a moment altogether. Chuck it. Don’t think about the outcome. Just do what you love with abandon. Enjoy how you feel in the present moment, notice every detail, feel every sensory experience like it could be the last time. Stay in that flow, and it will amplify your passion with every passing moment.
- Don’t wear your passion out. Cherish it. Once you find what you love doing, it’s sometimes hard not to do more and more of it. As with most things, overdose leads to death — and it certainly applies to passion. Maintain a healthy relationship with your passion, give it the right space in your life, and don’t overdo it. Allow time in between to savour its effect on the rest of your life, and how much more energy and vigour it brings to the more mundane activities in your life. Let it remain a bright and light part of your life, and don’t smother it.
- Reinvent your passion. Have you had the same favourite food all your life? Our tastes change, we grow and evolve, and what once excited us may not be enough anymore. Keep an open mind to new experiences that might lead us to new, uncharted territory within ourselves. Don’t be limited by what life has thrown your way in the past. Try a new activity once every month or two. Try it 2–3 times. Give yourself a chance to come into contact with your emotions while you’re doing it. You might just discover a whole new passion to focus on.
I know it can be scary to even confront your passion, let alone facing and embracing uncertainty. That’s why it’s my mission to help people who want to infuse passion and creativity back into their lives by lending them my courage and a bit of my experience.
If you’re ready for more, come to a free introductory workshop with me, artist and passion-seeker for life, and let’s try them out together. And if you love what you experience, sign up for a 10-week workshop series to bring more passion and creativity into your life. With or without quitting your job.
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Is something missing in your life?
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