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Last Updated on January 20, 2021

How To Find Your Passion And Struggles You Might Encounter

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How To Find Your Passion And Struggles You Might Encounter

It seems that all we are hearing these days is Follow your passion; Just live your dreams; It’s never too late; or something along those lines.

Yet, no one seems to bother with telling us how to behave if we still haven’t discovered our passion, or it is laying buried beneath our parents or society’s expectations of us. There’s no doubt that once you decide to follow your true passion and know what you want, you will become unstoppable in achieving great things.

However, the struggle most of us face is not knowing what that thing is for us, and we too often end up switching from career to career only to become exhausted and hopeless and feeling stuck in someone else’s dream.

From early on in our lives, we weren’t programmed to make any decisions that are contradicting those of our families, teachers or peers. We are so used to following certain set of rules and programs, that we rarely stop to think how we truly feel about these.

And, sadly, before you know it, we are at work, doing something we are not sure how we feel about, or, even worse, we realize that it is something we don’t enjoy doing at all.

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How to know if you are on the right path of following your passion?

If you are not sure of what you are doing is leading to fulfilling your dreams and if you are truly living your passion, here is a technique that will help you find some answers.

First of all, set aside some time to focus only on yourself. Find a quiet place without any distractions. Take a piece of paper, if it will help you focus easier, and be honest in answering following questions.

  • Do I feel excited about what I am doing?
  • Is the idea of improving my work the first thing that pops up in my mind in the morning?
  • Can I easily motivate myself to work?
  • Do I need to find extra time to do it?
  • Are all the things I’m doing contributing to make my work better?
  • Does it seem like my time at work goes fast and I can get excited and motivated easily?
  • Do I feel so immersed into my work that is seems like time has stopped, and I can do it for more than 8 hours a day?
  • Would I still be doing the same thing if the money didn’t exist?

If the answers to most of these questions are yes, you are lucky, because it points that you have found your true passion. If not, don’t despair, there are a number of things you can do to get there. Before we get to the process itself, let’s first answer the question why.

Why is finding one’s passion such an important task?

We all probably know those people who never stopped to examine their lives and choices they have made and they seem fine. Why bother then, you might ask. The fact is, that we don’t know the struggles other people may be going through, and sometimes they can seem perfectly happy, but struggle severely on the inside.

Often times, people are not even aware of how unhappy and unfulfilled they are. However, if we don’t want to wake up one day in our eighties and realize that we wasted our entire life working for someone else’s dream and didn’t have the courage to chase our own, we need to ask the unpleasant questions and work towards finding our passion.

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Moreover, working on something that doesn’t inspire and motivate us can really make us miserable and make our life an endless struggle to get up and get going when our entire being is resisting even the thought of it.

Questions and struggles you may encounter along the way.

Anyone who has ever found themselves on the road to self-discovery, has had to deal with some, if not all of the following struggles. Don’t worry you are not alone.

Struggle #1 I feel bad when I see others who have already made it while I’m still trying.

It can be quite discouraging if you start comparing yourself to others who are well on their way of fulfilling their dream. In order to stop this struggle once and for all is to realize that we are all unique and have special sets of talents and dreams. Therefore, we cannot be comparable to others. Also, you need to remember that all of those others were at the beginning at some point too. Use their stories as inspiration instead.

Struggle #2 It seems I took longer to find my passion.

This is quite common among people to think that they are late for something. Think of it this way – How do you think you got there? If it weren’t for all of those past circumstances that lined up for you and took some time, you wouldn’t even come to the realization of what it is that you want. Therefore, you were right on time.

Struggle #3 I don’t know where to start.

We tend to get overwhelmed when we try to think about our life passion because it’s easier to have all the challenges and difficulties coming to our minds, than seeing all the possibilities. And then we’ll just get stuck and can’t figure out what to do first. No need to panic, as there is a way out. You will learn a couple of actionable tips later on in the article.

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Struggle #4 What if I have multiple interests?

Sometimes it happens that we can’t decide what our passion is because we have more than one and we can’t decide. In this case, the above questions can help, if you ask them for each of the interests you have. Additionally, you can be creative and find a way to combine all of those into a dream job.

Struggle #5 What if what I want to do doesn’t fit my parents’ expectations?

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all want to please our parents to some degree. However, we need to realize that our parents ultimately want to see us happy and well. Even if they don’t approve of our aspirations at first, they will eventually when they see how happy and successful we are.

Struggle #6 Am I too late to start over?

Although it can seem a bit daunting when you think of all the hard work it would take to start at the beginning. That is why some people stay at a familiar place no matter how miserable it makes them feel. It is never too late. Just look how many people have started anew in their fifties and were still able to fulfill their dreams. Moreover, once you discover your passion and start working on it, things tend to gain momentum and everything happens so much faster.

Actionable ways to find your passion

Finally, let’s talk about how we can actually discover our passion. Although it might not be easy for everyone, it is worth the struggle.

Revisit things you want to achieve when you were a child

We all knew who we were before society told us how to be. Remember when you were a kid – you could play for hours and never get bored. In those moments, the time simply seized to exist. Those are the memories you need to recall, since that is where your passion lays. Remember who you were before fears and other people’s hopes for you have scared you away from pursuing your dreams.

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Follow your curiosity and allow yourself to explore

It doesn’t all need to happen in a moment of magical epiphany for you. Allow yourself some time for trial and error before you it crystallizes enough so that you can dedicate all of your attention to that one goal.

Don’t worry to start over as many times as it takes

Our thoughts and feelings can be misleading, and we might end up in wrong positions more than once. Don’t be afraid to leave immediately as you sense that it is not working for you. The sooner you leave an unwanted position, the sooner you will find your true passion and purpose.

Don’t make money your primary motivation

It can be difficult to resist the safe feeling that big paycheck is giving us, yet it can be misleading. If we focus solely on the amount of money we are getting at the moment on a job we don’t enjoy doing, we may miss many opportunities to build our own dreams and earn so much more. Money is great and can be used to do so much good, yet if we forget about it for some time and dedicate our time to growing our talents and passion, we would soon be able to achieve great success and money would come as a logical effect.

Limit the scope according to your capability

Finally, when it comes to discovering your true passion, focusing only on things that match your capabilities will have great impact. There is no reason to stretch yourself too thin and look outside of yourself. Your talents are all in you, and they just need a slight push and some training in order to help you achieve your passion.

Finding one’s passion in life is important because this is how we can motivate ourselves and become much happier in life. it’s ok if you still haven’t figure out what your true passion is, just remember that you are not alone and don’t give up on yourself! Things that worth having never come easy my friend! I hope this piece of advice can guide you to your true calling!

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More by this author

Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

The Four Quadrants of Change

There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Internal individual – mindset
  2. External individual – behavior
  3. Internal collective – culture/support system
  4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

First Quadrant — Internal Individual

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
I want to swim = I am a swimmer

This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

Second Quadrant — External Individual

This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

Negative Environmental Design

This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

Positive Environmental Design

This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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The Inner Ring

These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

The Outer Ring

The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

The same rules apply to companies.

One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

Leave

You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

Persevere

This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

Neglect

This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

Voice

This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

Putting It All Together

When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

  1. Internal individual — mindset
  2. External individual — behavior
  3. Internal collective — culture/support system
  4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

Reference

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