How to turn an elusive spark into a passion and why we must do this
I think exploring our passions and nurturing them is one of the most important things we'll ever do. It adds life to our life. But we always seem to put this on the back-burner. Without doing this, without even realising it, we're missing out on a whole element of fulfilling the time we have in our life. But where to begin? There are some important questions here to ask. Why do some of us avoid pursuing our passions without even trying? What mindset must we have in order to reach our potential? And what can these passions do for our life?
Why do we avoid those things that give us that spark?
There is a certain feeling when you get it, when you've found something that gives you a spark. I think many of us have it, but we suppress it for certain reasons.
From a young age, we are conditioned to dislike and avoid mistakes, even if it's well meaning we are instructed to perform well and work hard. The problem is when we become more fixated on the outcome than the process. We are looking for perfect outcomes, results or events to happen and change our behaviour according to this. This can be a recipe for disaster. This means we will avoid things that could be a potential strength but we are fearing making a mistake. We will avoid it because we cannot perform well immediately. This is such a shame. From my experience, it is those very things that cause the most growth.
We've already decided that we cannot do it. We do not have the propensity for it. We hit the wall of resistance and stop. Going past this wall means facing our incapable self. Finally the full extent of our 'weakness' stares us in the face. This is in contrast with this ideal outcome we have.
Do me a favour and throw that shit out the window. This messy-process-version is going to take us to places, that in our current mindset we cannot even comprehend. That's why we gotta have little faith!
By the way, this is not some abstract activity. I'm saying those things that we love and have potential in. When we do this activity, it makes us feel alive and time passes without realisation. That is truly worth investing your time, energy and money in. Something that seems like it would be great fit for you and your life and the only thing stopping you is fear and your belief that it cannot be done.
The Curse of the Fixed Mindset
I'm here to tell you that you are more capable than you think! The problem is we stop as soon as it is difficult. If we have chosen well, something with a reasonable natural aptitude, work smart and learn from those who have experience and knowledge, we can overcome those walls - seriously!
In others words a growth mindset. 'I can change, my potential does not stop where I think it does'.
I think many of us like to dabble in many things in order to not commit and give it our all. But this half-trying is only good for the exploration stage. Exploring is trying many things to find those things we love and have potential in. But we focus on drawbacks at the beginning of the journey, and all around us are examples of excellence and people 'made' for this - but that's exactly when you must stay! Not for anyone else, or a successful outcome but for yourself.
Your confidence at end of the comfort zone
I'd like to give an example to show you what I mean. For a long time, boxing is something I was dying to learn properly and had completely adored when going for trial classes after plucking up the courage. I'd like to say the rest is history but this is really where the journey began. I began with baby steps in a more comfortable environment, but as I did it more seriously, there were more hurdles.
I had increased my fitness, but there were so many elements that did not come naturally. All I could see were my flaws. Boxing felt so incredible but at the same time, it made me face the weaknesses of my mind and body. It was hard at times, I wanted to quit. It can be so frustrating to be bad or messy at something you love. It makes you feel so small. But when you keep at it, day in and day out, something happens to you slowly. You build this small confidence with small victories and it slowly grows. When you throw yourself in the deep end sometimes, avoid the urge to run and keep at it, you will truly surprise yourself. I realised there are unique things I bring to boxing, that I have and can nurture. But this I only realised years into learning.
This confidence will reflect in all aspects of our life. When we become comfortable outside our comfort zone, when the situation is challenging, our growth is surprising. This is because we're confident. Not because we will perform perfectly every time, but as we're not afraid of challenges or mistakes. This is a little different to the idea we have of confidence. It's not 'I can do this perfectly', it's 'whatever happens, I'll be okay. I want to do this, regardless'.
The beautiful process, not just the outcome
Just like my example, there may be something on your mind that you find yourself hesitating but unable to let go. It's funny that we invest in clothes, holidays and education but when it comes to investing in our development or hobbies we hesitate so much. But why? Isn't this one of the most important things?
Also, it really isn't all about the outcome. Hear me out okay! Of course, we all want to reach our potential and be the best we can be. But remember what so much research tell us: being in the flow state often, gives an overall contribution to a higher quality of life. It is the act itself, like a top-up to rejuvenate our soul that we must seek. Let the outcomes just be the icing on the cake.
By pursuing this, we will find something that can add richness to our life at the drop of a hat. Life is full of ups and downs, but when we know ourselves, our strengths and our passions, we'll always be ready for the next adventure.