A lack of passion and an unhealthy relationship with trying to fix yourself.
This is a highly relatable topic for me. I used to feel like I had no real direction or ‘passion‘ in life. That most of what I’m doing is just “playing.” I’m just playing around with my career, romantic relationships, friendships, education, you name it.
Basically, it felt like I was just dicking around treading water.
I wondered what the fuck is wrong with me. Which leads me to constantly trying to “fix” myself. I need to take my career more seriously, start focusing on building a strong romantic relationship, et cetera… et cetera…
I’m saying I need to fix myself. But I’m focusing all my energy on fixing my circumstances. If you really want to change you need to focus on changing your identity and behaviors.
Brazilian philosopher Paulo Friere takes an empowerment-based education method to behavioral change. He says that we need to learn through doing within the reality of our own life — that this is the only way we’ll really understand the challenges that we’ll face when trying to create great change. Please keep that in mind and try to put anything I say within the context of your own life.
It’s very easy to dwell on the bad things, the have-nots, and the obsession with fixing yourself. One simple practice that has helped me with this issue is something I learned from Richard Wiseman’s book 59 Seconds: Think a little. Change a lot. This book gets away from a lot of the self-help bullshit that’s out there and focuses more on the science of what actually works. The simple practice that I’m referring to is gratitude.
I’ve been using the 5 Minute Journal to help me with this but to sum it up each day begins with:
- Writing 3 to 5 things that you’re grateful for or would like to be more grateful for.
- 3 things that would make today kick-ass
- 1 daily affirmation
Your day concludes with:
- Identifying 3 amazing things that happened today
- Listing anything that could have made your day better
It can be a difficult practice at first. But it’s something that has been a real game-changer for me. To establish this habit I didn’t worry about changing anything else in my life. I focused on writing in this journal every day for 30 days.
If you can establish this habit for 30 to 60 days, I’m confident that you’ll start to notice some big changes in your life related to mood, energy levels, depression, and anxiety. It’s a great way to create some awareness in your life — something that’s hard to come by in today because of the shit show of distractions we’re faced with.
LOOKING FOR PASSION IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
One of two things are probably happening here (and please correct me if I’m wrong). One, you can’t seem to be passionate about anything. Or two, you’re passionate about a lot of stuff and have a hard time deciding which passion to pursue.
I’m number 2.
The job research that’s out there tells us that we’re pretty shitty at predicting what jobs will make us happy. I work as a health and wellness coach, something I thought I was passionate about. But as it turns out, I’m not passionate about it at all. I’m just good at it and willing to work hard at it. But if I had to choose, I’d prefer to spend my time researching, writing, reading books, jumping out of airplanes, and climbing rocks.
In his book, So Good That They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion In The Quest For Work You Love, Ph.D. and author Cal Newport suggests that focusing on doing work that your passionate about can lead you to look for work that provides instant gratification. Or gives the impression that there is only one thing you can do in life. Furthermore, most people seem to enjoy their jobs because they’re good at it along with other subtle nuances within their field; such as personal relationships — versus passion.
A couple of things that have really helped me:
- Identifying things I’m good at.
- Noticing what people ask my advice for?
- Acknowledging things I’m good at?
- Getting clean on the lifestyle I want to live?
I’ve found that a career that allows me to live the kind of lifestyle I want to live has been more important than the work itself. For example, if you want to travel a career that allows you to do that may be in your best interest.
WHAT SCRIPTS ARE YOU USING
The final practice that has really been helping me is identifying any scripts that I tell myself. I spent a month journaling about the inner dialogue I would have with myself about the areas of my life that I struggled with. These included personal relationships, work/career, and life purpose. I would write down word for word the stories that I told myself when in certain social situations, things I would avoid, or anything else for that matter.
After 30 days of this, I soon realized how batshit crazy these thoughts were. More importantly, I discovered that not having clear boundaries, values, and priorities for myself and within my life was what was fucking me up. (read Marks article here)
I won’t lie and say I still don’t feel like I need to constantly “fix” myself, but it’s getting better. For most people, I belive it’s in our nature to always feel the need to try harder. Try harder to fix ourselves, try harder to make friends, try harder to help, try harder to… god knows what else.
Maybe just for a little while stop trying so hard. Pick one area of your life that you’d like to improve and focus on that. Looks, fitness/health, fashion — Or maybe some mindset stuff like gratitude, having more experiences, making money — whatever you want. But just one thing and one thing only.
Changing yourself is a process that we’ll probably fuck up a bunch but that’s ok, you’re ok, I’m ok, and everyone reading this article is ok.