What’s the #1 Regret of the Dying?
According to the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, “This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.” – Bronnie Ware
The Practicality of Passion
At some point in our lives we must ask ourselves… should I follow my life’s “Passions” and accept all the potential failures and fear they could open me up to, or should I take the safe route and be, “Practical” with my life? I have come to the conclusion that if you aren’t living your passions, you are simply existing in other people’s lives. I want to tell you why I think following your passion is the most practical way to approach your life.
5 Steps of the Passion Cycle
The Passion Cycle
There are 5 basic steps to what I’m calling, The Passion Cycle.
- Passion: The ideas that move you forward.
- Place: What you see yourself moving toward.
- Path: Your plan to get there.
- Performance: The focus that will be your vessel.
- Pleasure: The earned satisfaction of your work.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Abraham Maslow was a well known psychologist of the 20th century. One of his most well known theories suggests that mentally healthy people have similar needs, and that once each lower level need is fulfilled, they move toward the next highest level. The Passion Cycle is one way we can elevate ourselves from love and belonging, all the way to self-actualization.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
#1. Passion: what Compels you?
What Compels You? According to Dictionary.com passion is, “having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling.” Notice it isn’t referred to as a fantasy, it isn’t a dream come true, and it isn’t easy. You see, passion is more of a force… a force that moves you. When tapped, that force can move us through a very rewarding journey.
Passion is a lot like love; the opposite of both of them is indifference. How successful do you think you will be in your career if you are indifferent about the work you do? Perhaps as successful as your marriage would be if you were indifferent about your spouse. If you look around at the highest performing people in your life you will notice they share a common thread. You will notice that all of them have great passion for what they do. Whether it is the product or service they are creating, or just the competition they have with others.
Meanwhile, you will notice those who lack passion for their work hit the proverbial ceiling. The people with no passion for what they do find themselves getting passed by those who are. Often they don’t even know know why they can’t catch a break; they might blame their environment, they might even blame other people for holding them back. In reality, it could just be that they aren’t doing the work they are called to do.
What Are Your Passions? Have you ever written out all the things you are passionate about? Have you ever imagined how you might be able to live a passion-based life? Let me walk you through the exercise as I did it recently.
List Your Top Passions: Mine included, Learning, Teaching, History, Exploring, Traveling, Adventure, Photography, Cinematography, Finance, Family, and Blogging. Currently I am practicing “some” of my passions. But life is too short to settle for “some” isn’t it? So what I did next was come up with a plan where in just a couple years I will be able to enjoy all of my passions, which I believe will eventually become my livelihood.
Turn Your List into a Goal.
Thankfully my wife and I have a lot of the same passions. Once we have an appropriate amount of money saved, my family and I are planning a move to an (not yet announced) exotic location where we will be exploring and learning its culture and offerings together, and then teaching others what we have learned through blogging and vlogging, so that those people get the best experience from their visit. See how I included all of my passions into a reachable goal? If I can’t find a way to reach for my own dreams in life, if my wife can’t reach for hers… then how as parents would we ever be able to mentor our children to reach for theirs?
#2. Place: What’s the Destination?
What do you see Yourself Doing in an Ideal Life? If you feel you have reached a plateau in life, if you have stopped climbing, perhaps you just aren’t that excited about the mountain you’re on right now. Think of all the things you are passionate about and how you could see yourself living a life that included them. Could you ever make a living from your passions? If you said no, maybe you aren’t being creative enough. I am constantly surprised at what people are able to make a living at in America.
I know all sorts of people making great money doing their passions. We of course have to be realistic and understand that turning your passions into your livelihood won’t happen overnight. Most of us can’t just quit our job and start doing what we love tomorrow; but if we’re hungry for it, we can start putting together a plan to get there.
#3. Path: Creating a Plan to Get There
You Will Have to Plan it. Now that you know what your passions are, and you know how you want to make them a part of your daily work, you need a plan. This is where you have to start doing some strategic long-term thinking. This whole living your passion thing isn’t going to happen for you next week. It’s going to involve a lot of work and sacrifice on your part. It may require you to save money, or invest in learning new skills. It may even mean working a day job and following your passion on the side for quite some time.
If you are truly passionate all you will need is a spark… and your passions will compel you to continue on. Others around you may say you can’t do it. Remember though, those people lack the vision, and since you are the visionary… the last person you should be taking advice from are the people who lack it.
#4. Performance: The Passion Boost
One of the most important factors to being successful at anything, is focus. In my article, “How 5-year-olds teach us that being focused is more important than being smart“ I talk about how the best player on the tee-ball field is simply whoever is focused. Now who do you think is going to be more focused? Someone stuck in a job they hate, or someone doing work they are passionate about? It’s so obvious it’s silly isn’t it?
By working within your passion you will automatically work at a higher level than you ever have, you will find focus easy, motivation will come naturally, and you will become an expert in your field.
#5. Pleasure: Better because you earned it
You can put something shiny on the credit card, and it will make you happier for a few hours. You can throw a party and it will likely bring you joy for an evening. There’s nothing wrong with either of these things; but I think we have entered an age where we are getting “most” of our joy one minute at a time, and we’re getting it from mindless activities such as television, video games, and Facebook. These bite-size dopamine hits aren’t leading us to lasting happiness. Unlocking the bigger contentment that comes with fulfilling our dreams is so much more rewarding. It isn’t as easy as staring at a phone; but the sense of accomplishment is so much better.
Your Passion Reborn
The best part about practicing your passions is that it inevitably leads you to more of them. Turns out life is a journey after all, and the destination just keeps on changing. When we live a life where we actually listen to our passions, we find more to love about life. As we earn the pleasure of being the person we are supposed to be, we evolve into something bigger than we were before. I hope you are listening to what your passions are trying to tell you.
C.J. is the blogger behind the Vow of Practicality. “Let’s grow your wealth, increase your productivity, and maximize your happiness.”