Think human energy when you hear or read the word passion. Benefiting from the energy of passion depends on three things: physical health, a positive sense of self and meaningful goals. It’s helpful to consider all three areas if you aspire to experience more passion.
Physical health is the foundation. People who exercise regularly and eat healthy feel more passion and recover more quickly from occasional down-swings. Here’s good news about the physical nature of passion; a little bit of effort goes a long way. Forget hardcore training unless you are a professional athlete. Exercise can be as simple as a daily walk around the block or light stretching. Consistency is the key.
What about healthy eating? Nutrition is as much about what you don’t eat as what you consume. We all know the wisdom of reducing saturated fat, salt and processed sugar. Try not to get distracted with the conjecture about which foods are good or bad for you. Eat what you like in moderation and don’t forget blueberries and other antioxidants.
Being healthy and active doesn’t mean you won’t experience a lack of passion at various times. Life is not an either-or proposition. The highest mountain tops and the deepest valleys are real places, but we spend most of our lives somewhere in the middle. This is where the idea of enjoying the journey was born; it’s an alternative to worrying about the more exciting or scary extremes.
The second dimension of passion is our sense of self. I’m referring to self-acceptance wherever we are in our life. We all know good people who are quick to judge themselves as being inadequate. I’ve been one of those people at times and being aware that I can be hard on myself is helpful in becoming more objective. Pay attention to people who love you because their awareness of your strengths can help offset negative self-talk. My son Bryan reminds me at perfect moments that my capabilities are bigger than my worries—real or imagined.
We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture that feeds us false expectations about aging and success. This too undermines our sense of self. This is particularly true for men who may have unrealistic expectations about their physical prowess or financial status. It’s not easy for some men to accept they are slowing down or not measuring up somehow. We all pay a price for the mythology of aging and success; especially if we diminish the more mundane aspects of life.
The pharmaceutical industry can also undermine our sense of self by hyping products we don’t necessarily need. An example is the so called condition known as “Low T.” Lower testosterone is a natural part of aging for many men and not a medical condition. A related problem is physicians encouraging patients to depend on expensive pharmaceuticals with their infamous side effects. I believe focusing on pharmaceutical options over natural alternatives or behavioral change is more about profit than wellness. The connection to passion is that a common side effect of many pharmaceuticals is diminished energy, anxiety and even depression.
The third dimension of passion is meaningful goals Most people have plenty of goals; what they often lack are the “reasons” behind the goals. That’s where the passion lives. Pay attention to goals that inspire you instead of goals that may be echoes of someone else’s expectations.
Most of us would like to live more exciting lives instead of spending so much time trying to keep our boss happy, managing a household, helping our kids become adults, or helping our parents become kids. Quit chasing the illusion of perfection and consider creating “mini-adventures” instead. This could be as simple as a morning kayak trip with your daughter or something more persistent like learning a new hobby. Life is a series of choices so choose experiences you consider meaningful one day at a time.
One of my mini-adventures is visiting Europe on a regular basis. I’ve developed itineraries for 10 amazing trips; two down and eight to go. I realized a few years ago that taking these trips while I feel healthy is a unique opportunity. For many years I was waiting to achieve financial independence before believing I had the wherewithal to explore the world. I had an epiphany on the topic from watching older tourists struggling to walk up a flight of stairs in Rome. The best time to travel is when the idea excites you!
The choice to travel connects me with my love of history, culture, architecture, and nature. It also provides me with incredible memories to share with my son and other loved ones. The passion generated from these mini-adventures goes beyond the actual vacation. I enjoy the time I spend researching the destination cities. We even have a large map of Europe on our kitchen wall to enhance the ongoing planning.
You can see how the three dimensions of passion interrelate.
We need to feel healthy, comfortable with our selves and inspired about the future to produce and sustain passion.
In the month of the heart, take some time to consider the following questions. What would you do if you could spend an entire year doing whatever you wanted? Who would you be with, where would you live and what would you accomplish? This idyllic year might be closer than you think; it begins with the passion of your thoughts!
Randy owns Triple 3 Marketing. He’s a long term advocate for positive change, having owned community magazines since 1999. Randy sold Positive Change Media in April 2009 and took a year off before launching Triple 3 Marketing. In addition to helping business owners, he also provides private coaching. Randy has a masters degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he studied persuasion and attitude change. Contact Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org.