You have probably heard the terms 'find your passion' or 'follow your passion' a few times, and they've probably been accompanied with promises of infinite happiness and fulfilment. Of course there is truth in the idea that doing things you 'love' can lead to positive emotions and enjoyment. However what about when doing what you love takes over your life so that you can't seem to be able to do anything else? Or what about those people who don't know what their 'one true passion' is? Recent positive psychology research in passion has suggested a new approach that doesn't limit passion to one activity or one thing. Instead, it introduces passion as a way life, as 'the passionate way of being'.
This passionate way of being fuels your positive emotions and happiness. It leads to you feeling energised, so you're not only investing energy into activities but you're actually gaining it back as you do them. It also leads to a sense of freedom, in which you feel like you have no boundaries or limitations, and that you can remain flexible throughout the choices in your life, and hence spot new opportunities. So how do you pursue this passionate way of being? Research suggested there are five key driving forces to living your whole life with passion.
- Live life according to your values and beliefs. When you live a life that's true to you, that fire inside of you will only grow and you will be able to make time for the activities that are most important to you.
- Think about the positive impact you want to create. When you have a clear idea of the kind of difference you want to make, you approach activities with a focused mind that encourages you to develope a sense of purpose.
- Always make an effort to learn and grow, in whatever you do. Learning and growth alone have been associated with fulfilment and happiness, and now research has also suggested this link to passion. When you challenge yourself to keep improving and expanding your knowledge and skills, you'll find more excitement and light up the passion within you.
- Connect with likeminded people. Find your tribe and together you'll encourage, motivate and inspire each other towards your dreams. Together you'll set each other off like sparks and help each other keep that fire going strong.
- Put your natural skills to use in different ways. This introduces also a tie between strengths and passion, suggesting that using your strengths across your life in different activities will help you live a more passionate, happier life.
So how about it? Are you ready to embrace the passion within you by choosing to pursue the passionate way of being? Are you ready to find more happiness, energy and a sense of freedom?
Live a life authentic to you, creating the positive impact you want to create. Pursue learning and growth like never before, and you'll never have a boring day. Find your tribe and let them keep your energy high, whilst believing in your strengths and putting them to use in different ways.
This is the key to passion. You don't need to find and follow one passion, but choose to live your whole life with it. Choose to pursue the passionate way of being.
A version of this post appeared on the Happyologist blog, on March 18th, 2014.