Passion: Passion is the inner drive that turns your dreams into reality. It is your unquenchable desire to achieve your goals and is ignited when you identify that which brings you great satisfaction and joy.
Passion is intimately tied to emotion and emotion is intimately tied to thinking. To be passionate is to think in a high energy way that propels you to do what you love and love what you do. Early in my life, I can only remember being passionate about one thing…. baseball. I wanted to be a professional baseball player and thought about it all the time. I then ran into a roadblock; I didn’t have a range of “Passion Habits” that I later learned were necessary to keep my original passion alive. I didn’t develop the skills needed until later in my life. Without these skills my baseball dream disappeared, along with a number of others.
In the early 1990s Dr. Seligman wrote the book Learned Optimism. In it he describes the early experiences and learnings that many individuals have which result in learned pessimism. He then describes the steps that individuals can take to over-ride the pessimism habit and replace it with an optimism habit.
The process involving passion is similar. Our early experiences and learning also greatly shape the level of our passion and for some people, the consequence of these early experiences and learnings is coolness, frigidity, indifference, aloofness and dispassion. That was my early experience. These habits can be replaced with the passion habit.
I wanted to become more passionate and embarked upon learning the skills and building the habits for myself. It’s a work in process and progress and has helped me enormously in my work. As with any habit, practice and repetition are required. If you want to be more passionate, here are ten characteristics that I have found help take and propel any initial desire for something into powerful passion and Momentum.
1. Perseverance – Your level of passion cannot remain constant. There will be ebbs and flows. When you develop an understanding and acceptance of this reality, and accept that to keep anything going requires the investment of energy, you foster your passion.
2. Love – You can learn to love and then learn to select things and activities that you love to fill your life. Ask yourself what you love and do more of it.
3. Courage – Staying the course and remaining passionate is often not easy. That’s because there will regularly be challenges to face. Many will require dealing with fears and pain in ways where you keep going, no matter what… because of the importance of what you are passionate about.
4. Dedication – Your life and any subset of your life, such as your goals, all are subject to the crests and troughs that are the dominant waveform pattern in our universe. With this knowledge, you can remain passionately committed even when things don’t seem to be going your way because you know that the trough is only transitory.
5. Optimism – This habit is powerful and required to help you sustain your passion. With this way of thinking, you can keep the light of your passion alit as you deal with the inevitable doubts that gnaw away at your Momentum.
6. Inner Motivation – When you are doing something you love and doing it for meaningful reasons, the intrinsic rewards can be large if you know how to think about the importance of feeling good inside and know how to reinforce these feelings.
7. Self Discipline – Achieving is often difficult and so is maintaining passion. Learning to hold yourself accountable and treat yourSelf with kindness will feed your passion.
8. Vision – When you have a clear picture of where you are going in life or in an initiative, the image directs and energizes the voyage. Develop powerful representations of your purpose and the benefits that will flow from achieving your goals; keep them in front of you and you will be more passionate.
9. Focus – Commit yourself fully to projects or don’t do them. Half-heartedness cannot be a partner to passion. Learn to say yes to what supports the initiative and no to what interferes and your passion will grow.
10. Practice – Passion is a way of thinking, feeling and doing that is honed with practice. Repetition, rehearsal and fitness in all the characteristics will increase the level of your passion and strength of passion in your endeavours. There are no shortcuts.