Living a Passionate Life

By Lorie Rosenberg

Symphony orchestra on stage, hands playing violin

Have you ever woken up at 4:30 in the morning so agitated about something that you just couldn’t sleep? If so, it was probably for one of two reasons. You were either so stressed out about an issue you needed to resolve that you couldn’t stop thinking about it…or you were so excited about something happening in your life, such as a vacation or a special event, that you couldn't keep your mind off of it!

When you live a passionate life, you incorporate in it the types of things that excite you and keep you motivated about what you're doing. And who isn’t passionate about a long-anticipated vacation…especially if it is to someplace warm, sunny, and possibly tropical?  Or it may be a trip to Disney World with your children or grandchildren, a Caribbean cruise, or a cross-country bike trip for two.

You may have decided it's time to pursue a new hobby or passion, finish your educational degree, or undertake a new business venture.  Whatever it is for you, when you decide to pursue your passions, life becomes much more fuller and richer.

The definition of passion is a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object, concept, event, or avoca­tion. It’s an intense emotion you have about something in your life that makes you incredibly happy or that you are extremely fervent about. It’s something that you identify with or feel extremely connected to.

People have a variety of passions. These passions are what drive their behavior. It may be their particular work or profession. It may be a par­ticular cause or charity that they’re passionate about. Or it may be the people in their lives that determine where they spend their time.

These type of passions keep us involved and engaged with life. The problem arises when people are devoid of passions or fail to have any real interests that spark this type of intense emotion.

When you're not passionate about anything, you can become lethargic or lack desire or intention about anything. You can become bored with life because you lack any real interests that keep you engaged and excited about the opportuni­ties they present to you.

How Do You Develop Your Passions?

For some people, this is easy. They have many interests that keep them busy and motivated. They grew up doing specific things that became a major part of their lives. For instance, playing a musical instrument or being involved in a sports activity.

I have a long-time friend who was interested in photog­raphy from a very early age. He attended college and studied photography and has made a career from a passion that started out as a hobby.

For other people, there seems to be nothing that sparks their interest or that they're truly passionate about. There is nothing that they want to fully engage in or dedi­cate themselves to. So how do you go about developing your passions?

Your passions are not necessar­ily a love or hate proposition, meaning that you have to absolutely love something in order to do it. Your passions can be developed.  They may not necessarily be something that you absolutely love right now…but they can become “learned” passions. If you’re wonder­ing how you do that, here's how.

Explore the Possibilities

One day, I was working out with a friend of mine at our local fitness club and she said that she was thinking of doing a triathlon. I had never done a race before, but I thought about it for a minute and thought that it might be fun to do with her so I said, “I’ll do that with you!”

For the next several years, my friend and I trained and did quite a few races. For someone who hated to run and swore I would never do it, I actually started to enjoy running and it became a passion for several years. Sometimes all it takes is trying something new and seeing if you might enjoy it. You’ll be surprised when you find that something you thought you hated ends up becoming a true passion for you.

Set Specific Goals

When we began our triathlon training, we set goals and developed a training plan to get ready for our races. I took swimming lessons to help me improve my stroke. Swimming is a very difficult sport if your technique is bad. You exert much more energy than you need to, consume a lot more air, become totally out of breath after only one lap down the pool. With practice, you can improve your technique and develop your lung capacity so you can swim longer distances than ever before.

It’s important to set goals, devel­op strategies for achieving them, and watch as the goal becomes a passion for you.

Be Creative

When you’re young you have no inhibitions for drawing, imagin­ing, or being creative. It’s when you start to get negative feedback from others that you tend to hold back your creative endeavors because of fear of rejection. It’s time to start being cre­ative like you were as a child. Even though you may never have done anything artistic, it's time to try a draw­ing or painting class, pick up a musi­cal instrument, or learn a language. It’s never too late to start a hobby that may turn into a true passion.

Just remember, you don’t have to be talented and you don’t even have to be good at it. You just need to have fun with it and it just might turn into something that will add real enjoyment to your life. Think like a child and let your creativity blossom within you.

Focus Your Energies

Life today is full of a multitude of responsibilities and endless distrac­tions. That’s why it’s so important to develop skills for focusing your attention fully on your passions. Certainly, you can’t do that all day long or even every day, but you can schedule time periodically to focus all of your attention on something you truly enjoy and eliminate any distrac­tions that will interrupt your focused time. When you become so involved with something that you lose track of yourself and your time, it’s amaz­ing how incredible you feel and how much you can accomplish.

Use Your Talents

We all have gifts and talents. Some people’s talents are more ap­parent than others, but everyone has a gift or a talent. It just needs to be revealed to you and nurtured for it to grow. Think about all of the things that you like to do. Are there any that stand out? Are you interested in sports? Do you have an artistic flair? Do you enjoy writing? Do you like to help others in need? There are limitless possibilities. The challenge is discovering the talents that bring you the most joy and then deciding how you can use them.

Develop Your Associations

You still may be saying to your­self, “I just don’t know what I want to do.” You might be able to associate yourself with individuals you admire and who have interests similar to yours. Their success may rub off on you and help you to develop pas­sions that may include your friends or family members. In that way, you’re doing something you love with the people you want to be with the most.

Put Passion into Your Work

Not everything we do in our jobs is fun. Most jobs include tasks that are routine and boring but that need to get done. Find ways to make them more enjoyable. Turn on some music while you’re working. See if you can make a game out of your tasks. If you have a passion for your work and see the larger picture of what you’re accomplishing, you’ll find more meaning in your job and it will be far more satisfying. Passion will fuel your efforts regardless of what others think of you. Passion will keep you motivated when things get rough, and it will bring you satisfac­tion for the contributions you have made.

Finding passion is so important in your business and personal life. Without it, life can become mundane and boring. With it, you can find incredible joy and the satisfaction of accomplishing something truly important to you.

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