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Are You Too Lazy or Just Haven’t Found Your Passion Yet?

Are You Too Lazy or Just Haven’t Found Your Passion Yet?

To be the exact person we are at this moment in time, with this DNA, this personality and our unique perspective is a 1 in 400 trillion “chance” of being alive. Dr Ali Binazir illustrates it this way:

“It is the probability of 2 million people getting together to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice and they all come up with the exact same number—for example, 550,343,279,001.”

You can think of yourself as a miracle of fate or physiology. So, what’s our purpose?

There is a lot of talk about finding our passion in the media. A google search turned up 189,000,000 results on the subject. That’s considerable pressure. That pressure increases when we see someone who seems to have taken their passion by the reigns and is riding it through the sky like a Pegasus.

Seeing someone doing something we love or is smack dab in their “true” passion, seem to exacerbate things that may not be going so well in our own life. Realize that is not really the case. It looks seamless but we don’t see all the failures, embarrassing moments or hurdles they’ve already crossed. They just keep trying.

Lazy is different than avoiding “pain”. Those most successful have pushed through the hard-painful stuff. So, here’s the skinny on manifesting your elusive passion:

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Define Your Self Passion

Passion can mean many things, and it’s going to come from the very core of your personal story, not anyone else’s.

Remember that 1 in 400 trillion statistic? Your life is going to have its own path, and you will react to it with your DNA, from your personality, influenced by your circumstances and environment. Your passion can be anything that synchronously motivates, intrigues or challenges you. Your purpose can be connected to a vocation, family, or distinct meaning.

To think that we all have one singular purpose or passion is naive. That’s what makes it so hard. We feel bad if we don’t have it all figured out.

I have several passions, and I make them a part of my life. The one thing I do is focus on not fragmenting myself in too many directions. I love flying helicopters, but that’s not my job, it’s a passion. I love figuring things out and being technical, and I’ve’ utilized that in my job many times, but it’s not the direction I follow.

I feel most dynamic and connected to my intuition and intelligence when I write, travel and help others transform their goals.

Need a formula? Try this:

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  • Think with your heart, not your head.
  • Ask those close to you what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Make a list of your own self perceptions.
  • Stack your love’s and dislikes against each other.
  • Stop playing by the rules.
  • Take action(s) daily.
  • Test things out and learn.
  • Use Mel Robbins 5,4,3,2,1 rule.
  • Jump.

Achieving your passion means finding a balance and living up to one’s potential in all areas of life.

You Don’t Need Permission

I used to put so much pressure on myself that I would become overwhelmed and follow opportunities I didn’t really want because it’s what was expected; or I didn’t want to disappoint someone. Even harder to admit that it was the easier path to go. Because following your real purpose and passion is a lot of work.

In the end, there were times I ended up disappointing myself. And we are the ones who must live with ourselves 24 hours a day. Think about that.

I was focused on immediate control, rather than a bigger passion. We’re enamored with the idea that finding our passion is the key to life — getting away, being successful, free, doing something fun and adventurous, seeing cool things, meeting different people or being famous. It’s not. It all sounds so exciting but getting clear on what we want only happens with steps.

Our environment matters, our connections matter, our time matters, and our discipline matters. The more we understand this, the clearer we get on our passions.

Taking action means setting goals and forming a system. There can be no up without down, input without output, positive with negative and so on. You will oscillate, and that’s okay. Here’s the thing:

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You don’t need anyone’s permission to follow your purpose. Likewise, you don’t need permission to be okay with not having one.

You won’t upset the order of the universe. Forming habits and following goals is still a purpose. If you’re looking to define your passion, utilize the steps above to get clear. It’s one of the most affirming things you can do for yourself.

Take Baby Steps

You must take action. Baby steps are fine, but you must move forward and keep trying. It’s inevitably the way we learn. It’s how we learned to walk, talk, read and tie our shoes. Did we judge ourselves as a child, as harshly as we do now? No.

When people talk about reaching their passion to feel whole, they really want to achieve balance. They want to reserve time for work, family, friends, and personal needs, but not overdo it. Here are a few things to take hold of without regret:

  • Eliminate negative people from your life.
  • Keeping appointments with yourself just like any other (yoga, reading, exercise, cooking….)
  • Educate yourself and seek knowledge.
  • Eliminate overextending yourself.
  • Eliminate frivolous commitments, spending or tasks.
  • Do more of what gives you a buzz of excitement.
  • Achieve one thing a day towards your goals (passion or purpose)

Passion and curiosity come hand in hand, if you’re not wondering about new things and ideas you’re not tapping into your potential passions.

Even the expert was once a beginner. It’s only consistency and perseverance that made the expert successful, they could have given up anytime.

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Usually the things you sacrifice your “free” time for can be called a passion. Do you want to make a business out of that, or is it enough that you savor it?

Keep in mind your passion may not remained rooted, it may be more fluid developing over time.

Final Thoughts

Your passion and purpose take on the form you give it. It functions from your actions and inherent beliefs.

Like living, breathing, relationships, you need to treat it like being with someone who encourages you to keep falling in love with yourself.

Fall in love with you. Make the moves, step over the boundaries, and fly. In the words of Joe Brock, author of Thoughts Of Erotica:

“This is the way of the future where healthy, stable relationships (insert passions) are once again the norm and standard.”

Featured photo credit: Tom Morel via unsplash.com

More by this author

Liz Galloway

I'm an idealist, columnist & traveler helping people connect through personal discovery. Stay inspired!

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

It has been said that rarely am I short of words, and yet I’ve rewritten this article on positive and negative reinforcement five times. Why?

It’s not as if I have a lack of thoughts on this subject. It’s not as if I don’t spend my days enabling people to communicate powerfully and get what they want in life. So why the rewrites?

I’ve found myself thinking about the diversity of people I’ve coached and how different we all can be. Usually when I write for Lifehack, I’m able to see instant commonality in the subject that means I could share some ideas that would resonate wherever you are in life, whoever you are, regardless of what you were looking to achieve or what adversity you may be facing.

However, with this, it’s a “How long’s a piece of string?” answer, i.e. I could probably write a whole book’s worth of words and still have ideas to share.

Let’s look at some key points:

  • You will have times in your life where you need to get someone to do something.
  • You will have times when someone needs you to do something.

Let’s look at how positive and negative reinforcement would work. In both of these situations, you can face some big obstacles:

  • Someone may resist your desire for them to change.
  • Someone may challenge your authority or leadership.
  • Someone may be at risk of getting hurt.

The important thing to remember is that, in life, we all have to be influenced and influence those around us, and some ways will help us get the result we want, and others won’t. However, that may differ on where you are, who you are talking to, and what you want to see happen!

So, how do we know when positive reinforcement is effective[1], and can there ever be a time when negative reinforcement is good?

Worryingly, if you get positive and negative reinforcement wrong, you can risk your career, your business, your relationships, your reputation, and your brand.

Positive and negative reinforcement each have their merits, so it’s imperative to know when to employ them. Interestingly, despite a ton of evidence to the contrary, we still rely on the wrongs ones in society, business, and even in parenting.

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The 4 examples below showcase the use of positive and negative reinforcement, and whether they personally apply to you right now or not, they will resonate and be very useful to you personally in every area of your life.

For each we will look at:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What have you tried?
  3. Now what?
  4. The results!

The Boss

Okay, you may not be a boss, but everyone will have times in their life where they need to get people organized and working together to get the best result. Often, leaders say things like this to me:

  • “I’ve told them until I’m blue in the face not to do that!”
  • “They constantly refuse to use the new system.”
  • “They just don’t listen.”
  • “They don’t respect me.”

What Did the Boss Try?

Often, I hear “We’ve tried everything!” No matter who is reading this, trust me, you’ve not tried everything. (That’s the first thing to accept.) When you accept that, you then need to look at what you have tried to move forward.

The boss has tried:

  • Giving the person training.
  • Spending time with them and showing them how to do it.
  • Telling them it wasn’t good enough.
  • Telling them we aren’t doing that any more.

Now What?

The above situations create tension between the two as you constantly battle to maintain your position on the situation. If you are looking to get someone to do something, and they constantly resist, you need to stop and ask yourself some questions:

  1. What have we tried? This helps you to understand what they are good at, so you can utilize that in the conversation.
  2. From their viewpoint, what could prevent them from doing what I’ve asked? What could they fear, and how will we allay those fears?
  3. What do they want? Seeing their viewpoint enables you to use their terminology and language so they feel listened to.
  4. What do they believe? Do their beliefs prevent them from seeing the benefits? Beliefs can be changed but not by force—coaching is very powerful for this.
  5. How do these answers differ from my beliefs and views? Bridging the gap helps you to see both views and communicate more powerfully.

In my experience, rarely does a boss or leader need to say the word “No.” If someone is not doing what you want them to, the quickest way to see results is to ask questions and listen. Often, when you really listen, you discover a big gap between what you think you are saying and what the other person is hearing.

The reasons why someone is not doing what you want can include:

  • They don’t know how to do what you’ve asked them to do.
  • They are scared to get it wrong.
  • They fear what people will think of them.
  • They don’t have the confidence to come and tell you they need help.
  • They are scared that someone will tell them off.
  • They don’t understand where the boundaries are.

People tell me, “But I said that to them!” If you are too close to the situation, then how likely are they to take notice from you? Here’s what you can do:

  • Get out of your usual environment – Neutral environments make difficult conversations easier. They can take you both off your guard, which can be good.
  • Start by making that person feel safe to say anything. Start with ground rules like “This is a confidential conversation” and “I won’t make any judgement on what you say, I just want to understand.”
  • Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t realize.” When you do this, positive and negative reinforcement can be used.

Learning how to coach people instead of tell people is key. Enabling the other person to see the benefits of what you want for them (and not you) is quicker than trying to dictate action.

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  • Lay out expected outcomes.
  • Create boundaries.
  • Explain what support and help you will provide.

The Results

This style of reinforcement is about utilizing both positive and negative reinforcement. It enables someone to feel safe to explain why they’ve not been taking action and helps them to overcome the limitations they feel while safe in the knowledge that they will get the support to change with the positive results explained in a way that matters to them.

The Young Child

If you’ve ever found yourself on the wrong end of a relentless tantrum of a small child, you will know it can feel impossible to get through to them. While many elements of The Boss scenario could work, there are times where you may need some negative reinforcement.

What’s the Problem?

My children are now 15 and 18. I can honestly say that, while we have had some challenging behaviors, our parenting means I have two children I’m very proud of–great communicators, great work ethic, kind, funny, considerate. The point is that, for my children, this stuff works. And, to be honest, when I’m with other people’s children, they often say “How did you get them to do that!”

Young children are amazing. It’s like they’ve just woken up in a new body and have been told to go touch, feel, experience everything–every emotion, every taste, smell, experience, texture, the lot! They are curious and keen to know more. They sap up everything, and a lot of that we don’t want them sapping up!

When they go to put a pencil in an electric socket, or let go of your hand as you cross the road, it’s imperative they get the learning and knowledge they need fast. I once was talking to a parent that said I was wrong to say no to my children. I asked, “At what age would you like me to introduce them to that word?” to which they had no answer.

While I agree that there are usually a lot more words than just no for children, “no” is a word that kept you and I safe when we were small.

What Have You Tried?

While young children are incredibly intelligent, explaining the merits of your preferred course of action is not going to keep them safe. Tying them to your waist isn’t working. Punishing them and telling them there’s no more park time until you walk next to me doesn’t work either. So how do you say no and keep them safe?

Now What?

Sometimes negative reinforcement is essential[2]. For instance, my son (who adored Bob the Builder when he was little) was playing with his plastic tool kit and discovered an electric socket…I didn’t stop to explain the merits of how that could be dangerous. I said calmly, “No, that’s dangerous!”

Here’s the important point: It’s not just about your words. With young children, it’s important that your body language clearly says the same.

The Results

I did feel like the luckiest parent on the planet to have two children sleeping through the night, but that didn’t tell the full story. I can remember spending a few weeks calmly picking my daughter up with no eye contact, no overly big hug, no conversation, just saying, “Sorry darling but now’s bedtime, so back we go.” And yes, being the strong-willed girl that she is, there was sometimes a good hour of that until she got the message that Mum really isn’t going to play, turn into a dinosaur, sing, or read a story.

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The thing with positive and negative reinforcement is that you need to have faith it will work, and you are doing the right thing.

Of course, when I went in to get her from her cot the next morning, I had a big grin on my face that said, “Wow, what a grown up girl you are staying in your bed all night!” I used positive reinforcement to get the day started.

The Teenager

What’s the Problem?

If I’m honest, I don’t have problems with my teenagers. However, I think that is in no small part to my style of communication. Having respect for them is key, and appreciating how much change is happening in their lives really helps–as someone who helps large teams of people deal with change, I know how hard it can be.

However, when I wrote the article How to Enjoy Parenting Teens and Help Your Kids Thrive, I was inundated with stories of hellish behavior from other parent’s teenagers, tales of staying out all night and not phoning home, abusive behavior towards parents and teens–I really felt for all involved.

What Have You Tried?

The problem with teens is they know exactly how to wind you up like a little clock-work toy. And if you’ve had a tough day, the last thing you want is to have to deal with someone who can’t even communicate with words, let alone put their dishes in the dishwasher.

Losing it is never the option, but it can easily happen. Shouting, bribery, and doing it yourself because it’s just easier really don’t work in the long run.

Now What?

If you consider everything we’ve covered, you can see that you need to communicate using positive and negative reinforcement. In life, there are consequences to all actions, and teens have a ton of stuff to learn to become effective, successful, happy adults.

Before you embark on any course of action, consider how the other person perceives the world. What are they going through?

You may have loved being a teen, but that doesn’t ensure your children will. Likewise, in life, there are things you love that others will loathe–seeing the world through other people’s eyes really helps you to understand the best way to communicate.

The only big difference for teenagers is to use emotion with caution. I personally let my children see all emotions–I’ve not hidden my tears when I’ve lost a loved one as it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. However, if a teenager in a foul mood can spot a weakness, they may just take advantage of it.

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The Results

My kids love to tell everyone I’m a scary mom. I’m not, I just have high standards, and I’m not prepared to drop them.

We shy away from telling people what we expect and then wonder why we are getting as stressed as the other party because no one knows where they stand.

I’m happy for my children to take over the TV room and eat far too much sweet stuff and binge on a box set. Just don’t put cups on the carpet, we have places for drinks. It’s having the confidence to say this is the rule.

People think negative reinforcement is a bad thing. However, how can someone change if they don’t know what they are doing wrong? And that’s the issue: so many of us are fearful of saying “Stop doing that!” If you lack confidence, find your voice because people aren’t mind-readers.

Final Thoughts

Before you start considering whether positive or negative reinforcement is best for others, ask yourself what you respond better to.

Personally, I respond far better to negative reinforcement–I can improve and be more successful and happier if I know what I’m doing wrong. Furthermore, I know that sometimes negative reinforcement works better with some clients who really don’t want to look at the issue–but it’s always done with respect and love.

Coaching people is also a great representation of when positive and negative reinforcement is best. We are looking to find ways to increase the positive action with positive reinforcement and ways to reduce the negative results with negative reinforcement–and usually my clients keep those changes for the rest of their lives.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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