“People love what other people are passionate about – you remind them of what they forgot.”
~ Mia, La La Land
What do you do for fun? It sounds like a simple question, yet a surprising number of people have difficulty answering it. Some fortunate people will talk passionately about their hobbies and interests for hours on end. Others, reflect on their day-to-day lives and realise that they haven’t been truly passionate about anything for a long time.
We all possess passion deep in our hearts. Think of your childhood – fulfilling curiosities, exploring new places, playing your favourite instrument or sport… But at some point, they became lost under the mounting pressures of stress and fatigue from work, financial responsibilities and relationships. Sadly with time, passion falls lower and lower on people’s list of priorities. Ironically, passion is the cure to the reasons why people forgo their passions.
Passion is one of the best ways we can obtain happiness. This intense emotion overwhelms us with a rush of excitement and joy, motivating us while dissolving away our worries and fatigue. With passion, we can enter flow state – the magical state where the world around you fades away and only you and the subject of your passion remain, leaving you in perfectly focussed bliss.
For most people with a passion, they will often say that it is part of their identity. They feel the desire to engage in the activity at the end of a rough day and when they do, they feel cathartic and recharged.
An interesting aspect of passion is how we will happily sacrifice time and money for it. Perhaps this is because we know that this is an example of how money can actually buy happiness. We are happy to pay the cost of happiness, whether it be waiting two days in the rain for a tennis tournament ticket, buying an expensive instrument or losing sleep practising intensely for a tournament.
In a sense, passion for a hobby or interest is quite similar to love.
For those who don’t know what their passion is, think back to your younger self and remember what made you really happy. If you can’t or if it is no longer feasible, there is always the option of finding and learning a new passion. There are some common qualities in hobbies and interests that people are passionate about:
- Ideally, it should be skill-based, so that you can improve in it through investing time and energy. The desire to be better is an excellent self-motivation tool and the key to reaching flow state.
- It should be sustainable and not self-destructive. For example, luxurious parties, drugs, alcohol, sex are all examples of dopamine-inducing activities that are not sustainable as they cause “lows” where you feel miserable without the next “hit”. Furthermore, some of them may damage your physical and mental health rather than improve it. You should also consider whether it is financially sustainable, as at the end of the day, you still need to pay the bills.
- It should excite you and make you happy. Sometimes people force themselves to like the same things as their significant other. It is okay to have different passions in a relationship, but you should try to understand why that person is passionate about that particular thing instead of blindly copying it. Plus, it is healthy to have something in your own life outside of your relationship that can keep you happy.
Unfortunately, you are the only person that can find your own passion. If you have forgotten passions, then that is a great starting point. Pick up a camera, brush, guitar, pen, racquet or whatever it is that made you happy, and revive your passion.
If you truly cannot think of anything, then focus on something that has piqued your interest and give it an honest try. It will be a much more effective use of your time than lamenting that your life is dreary and unhappy.
A practical tip is to start with a creative hobby, such as music or the arts, or a sport. These tend to fulfil most of the above criteria while also offering a creative or physical release, both of which can easily be lacking in our modern day lives.
Passion is a renewable source of happiness that does not rely on other people. Many people rely on the company of other’s for their happiness, but this is ultimately unsustainable and will lead to resentment.
How can we make someone else happy if we don’t know how to make ourselves happy? Maybe this is why we find passionate people attractive – it reminds us of what we had forgotten and how happy we could be if we tried.
So go on, be passionate about something.
(Image source: Puuung http://www.grafolio.com/puuung1)