Finding Your Passion

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If you were to work a job you hate that pays all your bills, chances are your quality of life won’t be as high as you would like it to be. It doesn’t matter if you feel like that’s how reality is because the truth of the matter is there are people right now who were once in your shoes now doing what they love and making a damn good living out of it. They did so by constantly pursuing a career they enjoyed instead of settling for a job they hated.

What if you don’t have a passion? How can you do what you love when you have no idea what you really love to do?

Sometimes we don’t get to do what we enjoy because survival is our main priority. Today’s common mentality is that a job that is your passion is considered a luxury because not everyone can do what they want in life. The notion is that the “dream” is a highly unlikely goal that probably won’t be accomplished because the “reality” is that you’re not good enough and the people who do work their passions are considered outliers or just plain lucky.

This type of thinking drives me NUTS! Finding a passion and making a living out of it shouldn’t be deemed as a hopeless desire. Human nature has a common tendency to think safe, do minimal, and stay alive. Fear is a great source of survival, but does not necessarily lead to a high quality of living. In order to realize what you truly want to do in life, this self defeating mentality has to go. It is definitely possible and should actually be encouraged through our society now, especially with today’s technology making it easier to share ideas and network with each other.

Here are several strategies that can help you find your passion, whatever it may be.

Give Yourself a Chance.

You have to get over the thinking that “it’ll never happen to me” because that type of mindset prevents you from even having a chance. Everything has to start with a chance and only you can give yourself that first chance in realizing that inner desire.

Take a Second Look At Your Hobbies.

A hobby or generally interest into something is usually what sparks a forest fire of accomplishments. Everyone’s hobbies are different, but the one thing they all have in common is that they have a passionate hobbyist behind them.

If you were to work on something you really like doing, times flies by like nothing! One hour will seem like 15 minutes. Take an activity that is monotonous and uninteresting and 15 minutes will feel like an eternity.

Figure Out Who You Really Are.

In order to truly find what you are passionate about, you have to find out who you are as a person. Forget the status quo or what is traditionally accepted and focus on being you. This may take some time and it’s not going to come easy, but the more you focus on what makes you tick as a person, the easier it will be to find your purpose resulting in your passion.

“. . . there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.”
   – Albert Camus

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Negative Nancy!

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Most of us at one point in our lives has experienced someone belittling our accomplishments no matter how awesome we make our achievements sound. Negativity can be very hard to avoid, especially if you’re always in that type of environment. Our mentalities and perceptions in life are usually shaped and molded by those we surround ourselves with. It’s just like that age old metaphor: If you soak a brand new sponge in clean water, you will squeeze out clean water. If you soak a brand new sponger in dirty water, you will squeeze out dirty water. That is exactly how our minds work with the environment we surround it with.

If you are having trouble being happy, just for one day, try to take note of the your surroundings and what type of people you interact with on a daily basis. It only takes one person to say one thing in a dark tone to ruin your day, but it also takes one person with an infectious smile or contagious laugh to brighten it. Ignore the ones who try to have some negative undertone with you. Ignore the ones who passively talk down at your achievements. Some examples would be:

  • Finally graduated college!/Good luck finding a job.
  • Landed my first interview!/They interviewed a lot of people already.
  • Doing ‘this’ makes me happy and I love it!/’That’ doesn’t make much money.

I can go on and on about the “negative Nancies” in life, but the bottom line is to surround yourself by people who are driven and are just as bright as you if you want to stay in that positive mindset. Read the stories about the people who have succeeded and ignore the complaints and sob dramas from the people who have given up. Soak your mind in awesome thinking and you will exude awesomeness!

Your Inner Child

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Remember how it was being a kid imagining that anything is possible in life? Whatever you thought up had a chance of becoming reality as long as you made it happen. Whether it be saving the world as a superhero or pretending you have magical powers to entertain people. Whatever the case was, when you were a kid, you thought anything you did was and made you look awesome.

As we grew up, we see these things as silly notions of immaturity. When we reached that age of independence, to most of us it is all about being grown up and paying bills. You start getting use to the notion that dreams are nothing but figments of your imagination and that reality is a 40+ hour weekly grind resulting in your survival in this financially demanding world. Through this whole process, the care-free spirits we once were become cynical souls of the “real world.”

“It’s all part of growing up” is what the common knowledge is within our society, but I beg to differ. You ever look at individuals who have never stopped dreaming? They’re the most successful people in the world! They don’t have to be the richest and wealthiest people either. Money can buy a lot of things and make life a lot easier to live, however it can never satisfy what our inner desires are.

To satisfy your inner desires, your inner accomplishments you hope to achieve during your time here on earth, you have to have that childlike mentality where everything may be possible! One of the irritating and annoying things I’ve experienced working with a lot of “professionals” is that most of them take themselves too seriously. The few who don’t were actually the most productive and effective ones.

Look at Sir Richard Branson, who has dyslexia and dropped out of high school at the age Photo Credit: http://genese-de-strategie.blogspot.comof 16. He is now the man behind the “Virgin” Brand, a brand that almost anyone in the world can recognize! This guy is one of the most enthusiastic and fun people I’ve seen. People can say all they want about “Oh it’s because he’s lucky and wealthy. That’s why he’s so happy.” NO it’s not, it’s because of his child like mentality! In whatever projects he initiated, he believed, pursued, and never gave up! This guy went from running a record shop to building the first space tourism company! He is one of the many who emulate and exude that child like enthusiasm and energy.

Don’t lose your inner child, embrace it. It’s that little spark of fire inside of you that a lot of people tend to ignore because it’s the “mature” thing to do. If you really want to make something a reality, whatever it may be, listen to that little fire inside you. Everyone has that inner flame of hope burning deep inside them, all they need to do is fan the flames.

See It! Believe It!

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From my experience, it’s usually hard to visualize something without literally seeing it. We all know that in order to accomplish anything in life, we have to be able to see the “bigger picture.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can get a little frustrating because that picture in our head is exactly that, in our head. It means at times when we get frustrated or angry about something in our lives, whatever it may be, we lose track of what we are really trying to do.

Enter, the VISION BOARD! *Insert Trumpet Fanfare Here* YES! What is it exactly? Well, other people call it different things; the dream board, inspiration board, awesome board, some-day board, etc. It’s basically a big presentation board littered with pictures representing your goals you have set out to accomplish. You may or may not have heard of it, but for those who have not it is an awesome tool to add to your arsenal of positive-life-making utility belt!

I learned this concept from high school during a leadership class I took. We all had to a do a “me board” project, summarizing our lives in pictures displayed on a presentation board. It amazed me to literally see what my life looked like through pictures on a board. I had pictures of my family, my dog, my friends (break dancing at the time), cars, certain movies (FINAL FANTASY!?) and various other interests. I may or may not post it because I don’t know if my friends want pictures of them in their high school years up on the internet. (You’re welcome).

I loved the fact that I was able to see everything I actually valued. Then I thought, why not make a board that helps me see everything I want to accomplish? I recently made one for me and my girlfriend focusing on places we want to travel some day. It’s pretty motivating to see pictures of the beaches of Hawaii, the scenery in Australia, and the Disney theme parks around the world! It’s perked up in her room because she needs it more than I do. I’m currently creating one for myself!

It only takes about an hour or two to actually make. The things you need are:

  • Presentation board.
  • Awesome pictures that represent what you want to accomplish.
  • Scissors and glue.

You can get these at your nearby office store, but once you start making one time will just fly because you’ll be so inspired by the pictures and try to see if you can fit even more pictures in there! After you’re done place it somewhere you can see it every day, like by your bedside, in the kitchen or near your computer screen. The more you literally see what your ultimate goals are, especially on a daily basis, you’ll have just that much more motivation to keep pushing and striving towards it!

It doesn’t necessarily have to be career oriented either. It can be an upcoming wedding, a car you want to buy, a house, losing weight, gaining muscle, beating an illness, graduating school, starting school, etc. The whole purpose of the vision board is to give you a tangible connection to a hopeful future. It is a constant reminder of why you do what you do. It is your lighthouse helping you see through the fog of life, all you have to do is keep working towards that direction.

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.”
– Robert Collieri

Life

Some of us were born into a life with all the bells whistles; a mom, dad, a sibling or two, a big house, financial stability and most important of all, Love. Some of us on the other hand were born into a life of loneliness, hardship, hunger and hatred. A lot of us are somewhere in between. No matter where you came from, you were dealt a hand in life you had no control over. What you do with and how you play it, however, is ultimately up to you.

A great example of this is Aron Ralston, the canyoneer who got his arm stuck in a canyon one day during a hike. He literally ended up with a do or die situation, leading to him to sacrifice his arm in order to save his own life.

He valued his own life over one of his body parts. He knew the consequences were to endure the excruciating pain of cutting off his own arm and live without it for the rest of his life. He also knew the end result would be the very act of living. At that point in time, he wanted to live more than anything.

We always hear rags to riches stories but commonly call the people in those tales “lucky.” They were not lucky, they had the same mentality of Aron Ralston at the time he was in the canyon. They wanted to succeed as bad as they would have wanted to live in a life or death situation. No matter where they were in life, they worked their asses off to get where they wanted to be.

They knew that if they made the decision to walk and sometimes crawl the path that lead to success, it came with harsh lessons and experiences. What separated them from the others who have tried to no avail is that they knew that only they had the power to decide how successful they were going to be. They knew they had full control of the way they played their hand of life that was dealt.

When you want something bad enough, whatever it is, the biggest mistake you can do is not do anything at all. If Aron just sat there and did nothing, it would have been a very depressing fate. Go through life with that mentality, as if you were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place and the only way to break free is to do the unthinkable!

If you want to change your life, in any way, shape or form, you have to play your hand, and play it the way YOU want to. Your way may not always be the best way, but at least do it with confidence because nothing is guaranteed in life. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, that’s all part of the “game.” Don’t underestimate yourself, because when the time comes, you’ll even surprise yourself on how well you have played your hand.

“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.”- Robert Louis

Hate Your Job? Your Body Does Too!

In order to be truly healthy, you have to be content both physically and emotionally. This means you not only have to eat well and exercise, but also have to generally enjoy your life. Aside from hanging out with family and friends and maybe even having time for ourselves, a majority of our time is spent working. The term “work” can be synonymous with a negative feeling to the majority who hate their job. 80% of Americans – according to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey – are not satisfied with their job.

Holy Crap!? 80%!? That means out of 10 people you hang out with, 8 of them do not even like what they do 40+ hours a week! It’s no wonder that so many people get trapped and lured by those “Get Rich Quick Pyramid Schemes.” Trust me, I was one of them long ago [shutters]. It may also be a reason why so many people have so many health issues. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, bad headaches, and the list goes on. There are multiple studies that have suggested that happier people are more successful and live longer, healthier lives!

So if you’re going to do something 40+ hours a week, it might as well be something you generally enjoy doing. However, there is constant resistance to this with the ultimate argument stating “if we all did what we loved we would starve doing it.” I didn’t say it was going to be easy. This whole issue of doing what you love but still being financially stable has been burning inside me for years!

I’ve worked jobs I hated, and I remember my health was shit. I ate like crap, thought like crap, and hit a low point in my health. It’s only when I decided to make a change and pursued what I wanted to do that I started becoming a happier and healthier person. If I didn’t make that change, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now or even be in the fitness industry! It wasn’t easy, but I still made it happen.

I came across a post written by David Kanigan: “Do What You Love?” Within this blog he referenced some excerpts from another post: “How To Do What You Love” written by Paul Graham, a Harvard grad who co-developed the first web-based application, Viaweb.

This is only a fraction of awesomeness that was referenced:

“To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.”

“…How much are you supposed to like what you do? Unless you know that, you don’t know when to stop searching. And if, like most people, you underestimate it, you’ll tend to stop searching too early. You’ll end up doing something chosen for you by your parents, or the desire to make money, or prestige—or sheer inertia.”

This really reminded me of when I was in High School and my Mom and Dad were pushing me to “be a nurse! It’s a safe and secure job! Good salary!” Don’t get me wrong, I have some really good friends who are awesome nurses, but they’re awesome nurses because they generally want to be nurses! That’s what they love to do and it shows through their successes! However, there are a lot of other nurses out there who hate their job and just do it for a pay check. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a nurse whose passionate about their work instead of a nurse working the graveyard shift only to pick up a few extra bucks.

“…It’s hard to find work you love; it must be, if so few do. So don’t underestimate this task. And don’t feel bad if you haven’t succeeded yet. In fact, if you admit to yourself that you’re discontented, you’re a step ahead of most people, who are still in denial. If you’re surrounded by colleagues who claim to enjoy work that you find contemptible, odds are they’re lying to themselves. Not necessarily, but probably.

…Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.”

I refuse to believe that the only way to be “successful” is to have a steady paying job that gives good benefits doing mediocre work. I have clients who work all day at a job they hate, but take steps towards their ultimate goal, and I have more admiration for them than those who complain about their life and job and do nothing about it.

Being happy is one of the key things you have to be in order to have a healthier life. You can’t be healthy and unhappy at the same time, and if you are I bet it’s a constant struggle. I’m not saying ignore your financial and personal obligations, drop everything and just look for work that you generally enjoy doing. I’m saying if you want to have a healthier lifestyle, taking steps towards a happier life is a must. Take a class, shadow someone whose doing what you want to do, do something small but different! I challenge you to do this if you’re in the “hate my job” boat. It just takes one small change!

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

Feeling Sorry For Yourself?

If you’re not where you want to be at this very moment in your life, it may due to several factors. Maybe you were placed in an unfavorable position by default. Maybe an unexpected event happened that may have put a damper on your future plans. Maybe you made a bad decision and now live every day with regret. Whatever it may be, the worst thing you can do is to feel sorry for yourself.

I deal with people on a daily basis who want to make a change in their lives for the better, but one of the trends I always see emerging from their stories is that they usually feel sorry for themselves. This is where I usually point out that they still can control the outcome of their lives by making the right decisions.

One example of an excuse is: “It’s so hard to eat right with all these fast food places around!”

These restaurants are not forcing you to eat their food. They have ads to persuade you to consume their product. If you consume it, that was YOUR decision, not theirs.

Another example is: “I have no time for anything!”

If someone kept saying they’re always broke, you may think that they’re not budgeting their money well. The same concept goes for time! Time is one of the most precious resources of life. It is ultimately up to you how and where you spend it. If you don’t have enough of it at the end of the day, only you can do something about it.

Here’s a third example that may be common: “I have to do this, and then that, and then this again. I’m so tired and stressed and only had 4 hours of sleep!”

The mere action of complaining about your day will give you unnecessary stress. Let me break down what REAL stress is.

Examples of weak stress: Cramming for a midterm because you didn’t study early enough. Doing a last minute project because you procrastinated. Complaining how you hate your job but don’t do anything to better the situation because you feel like you can’t.

Examples of real stress: Taking enemy fire in a live battlefield. Fighting a fire for 24 hours straight. Being a negotiator in a hostage situation. Not knowing when your next meal will be.

Bottom line is you may not have it as bad as you make yourself believe. I’ve talked to people who have actually gotten defensive and try to justify their sob stories, but that’s the problem. I’ve heard many people say “Well I have to pay my mortgage, you don’t have on yet so you wouldn’t understand” “You don’t have kids yet so you don’t understand.”

I agree, I’m a young up and coming strength coach and I would no idea right now at this point in my life how it would be to raise a family or own a house. I have met and trained many peoples from all walks of life, and as a result have dealt with people who have the same problems but actually take steps towards solving them!

I’ve seen a soccer mom come into the gym at 6am because that’s the only time she can come in before her kids wake up. I’ve seen burnt out lawyers take cooking classes on the weekends because they decided they want a career change. I’ve seen clients work two jobs to take care of their family, but still take night classes because they still want to pursue their goals!

People always tend to focus on their problems and weaknesses instead of their strengths and possible solution.

You want something in life bad enough, you have to work hard for it. There is no easy way out. You don’t like it? Don’t complain about where you’re at then. The funny thing is people who put in the work always find a way to make shit happen.

Ill give you a small personal example. I run this blog, my Youtube channel, and contribute to a fitness website without owning a laptop or PC. It’s simply possible because of today’s high tech society, a computer is so easy to find and use! Whenever I have access to a computer I’m on it. I’ve only recently purchased a smart phone and I’m currently writing this post on it as you read!

A while back I knew I needed to make some type of web presence but I couldn’t afford a laptop (yes even during college I didn’t own one). I knew, however, there was more than one way to do it. The tools are out there to get whatever you need done. It’s all about having the right mentality. And yes when the time comes, I am planning to invest in a laptop of my own.

It’s possible, get up, believe, and make shit happen!