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Published on January 5, 2021

How to Create a List of Passions That Inspire You Always

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How to Create a List of Passions That Inspire You Always

Let’s face facts—life isn’t always a 24/7 upbeat and inspiring parade. We face hardships, we get bored, we get discouraged. Maybe we don’t love our job. Maybe we just don’t feel motivated or inspired by our current list of passions and goals.

And it can be really hard to take action or go after the things we want in life when we aren’t feeling inspired.

Instead of waiting and hoping for inspiration to magically come to us, what if we could call inspiration to our door whenever we wanted?

Inspiration Is What Gives You Life

It turns out that we can. Inspiration is what makes you feel alive, what makes you want to take immediate action, and what makes you want to jump out of bed, connect with others, and engage with life more.

When we’re inspired, we breathe life into the different projects and relationships in our lives[1]. We get inspired to buy a gift for our friend or partner. Or we get inspired to take on an extra project at work. Or we get inspired to dance in the middle of the street.

Inspiration is the spark that prompts us to be more involved with life, and the fire that lights that spark is our passions.

When we’re passionate about something, it feels like we can do it endlessly, like when we’re having a passionate conversation until late into the night, or when we’re passionately playing videogames and just have to beat “one more level,” or when we’re passionately dancing at the club.

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And we can actually map those passions to create a formula for inspiration to come at all times.

Even if you feel like you’re just not a passionate person—or that nothing really lights your fire—I’m calling your bluff. Every single person has things that make them come alive, things that turn them on to life itself.

You just may have spent so much time doing unpassionate things in your life that you’ve dulled your sensitivities to your list of passions. However, we can reignite that fire pretty easily.

We just have to explore what you’re sensitive to.

Passions Are in Your Sensitivities

When we’re feeling really inspired, it’s a lot easier to become inspired because we’re sensitive to inspiration and passion in those moments. On the other hand, when we’re not feeling inspired, it can feel nearly impossible to get there.

When we’re children, we’re usually a lot more sensitive to our passions than we are when we’re adults, simply because we get to do more inspiring things. It’s a lot easier to stay inspired when we’re playing games instead of paying the bills or driving in traffic.

However, that means that we can rediscover those passions pretty easily by starting with what we are sensitive to in life and then creating a list of passions.

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Every single person has unique sensitivities that they’ve had since they were born. Some people are sensitive to music, and the right song can change their mood instantly. Other people are sensitive to freedom, and they start to feel trapped very quickly.

Sensitivities are the stuff we feel. They include our passions, but they also include our pain. So, if we’re not feeling particularly passionate, focusing on the passions we can’t access will only make us feel worse about ourselves.

Instead, let’s start with the stuff that kind of sucks.

Map Your Pain to Discover Your Passions

Grab a piece or paper or open up a Word document, and answer the following questions:

  1. What is one of the most challenging or frustrating moments of your life (that doesn’t feel re-traumatizing to think about)?
  2. What were five things you felt in that moment? (e.g. “I felt angry, disappointed, stuck, not good enough, and embarrassed.”)
  3. Now, flip it. What would you have rather felt in that moment? (e.g. “I wanted to feel calm, excited, motivated, worthy, and proud.”)
  4. Take the words from Question #3 and start listing out any time you’ve felt those words in the past. Did you feel them with any particular friends? Did you feel them playing any games or in any hobbies? Did you feel them doing any work projects?
  5. Start to notice patterns in the past and create a list of passions for the future (e.g. “I felt proud on the day of my wedding. Being connected to friends and family makes me feel proud and is a passion of mine.”)

How to Make a Foolproof List of Passions

It might take some finagling to modify those past instances of your sensitivities into present moment experiences. For example, you may no longer engage in that hobby, have that job, or hang out with those friends. So, as you start listing, be realistic about what will work for your current lifestyle.

The important thing to note is you’ve felt lit up in life somewhere before, and we can map the very sensitivities that make you feel alive and lit up, and then replicate that feeling.

Let’s say that one of the words you wanted to feel is “connected.” In the past, maybe you felt connected in deep conversations with friends. Even though it’s unlikely that you’ll have time or space for deep conversations with friends every day, you know that connecting with friends lights you up.

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So, maybe you know that the second you’re feeling uninspired, you send a quick text message off to a close friend. It might not be the long conversation that happened in the past, but it’s sure to give you a little infusion of inspiration.

Or let’s say one of those words is “playful.” You remember feeling playing at the sandbox as a little kid. You’re probably not heading to the playground as an adult, but you know that no-pressure creative time is important to you. Next time you’re feeling uninspired to meet that deadline, you take an hour with your coloring books and then get inspired to finish your work.

Choose Three Things to Do Daily

You may—and hopefully do—have a long list of passions now. Take a look at the list and choose three things on it that you can realistically do every single day. These don’t need to be monumental things. In fact, it’s best if they’re super simple and practical to do daily.

Maybe you choose to dance for three minutes every day before getting in the shower to feel playful. Or maybe you start drinking chamomile tea every night to feel relaxed. Or maybe you start a morning to-do list to feel focused.

It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you can realistically do it daily, and it makes you feel some of those words.

The more often you do it, the more sensitive you become to the things that make you feel passionate and inspired, and the easier it is to become inspired at a moment’s notice.

The rest of the passions—that you aren’t committing to daily—become your reserve list. Any time you need a little extra boost, just take a look at that list of passions, and you can feel inspired any time you want.

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Why It Works

The trouble with most passion and inspiration advice is that it’s pretty generic—and it may or may not work for you specifically. However, if we start with your sensitivities and experiences where you’ve already felt those sensitivities, then we have a proven formula that works for you specifically.

Instead of pushing yourself to be someone you’re not, it’s a lot easier to find inspiration in who you already are and what you’re already sensitive to.

If you’ve felt a lot of frustration or pain around isolation, chances are that you’re sensitive to connection and feel more inspired when you’re connected. If you’ve felt a lot of frustration or pain around feeling unsafe, chances are that you’re sensitive to it and feel more inspired when you’re safe.

So, if you’re feeling connected or safe or whatever you need to feel, then you’re going to feel inspired, and we can use that formula to build a life based around your list of passions and what lights you up.

Always Feel Inspired

Just like staying in shape, the best way to get inspired is to never get out of it. The less inspired we feel about life, the less sensitive we are to inspiration. The good news is that we each have our own unique sensitivities and passions for how we feel inspired.

If we make a list of those passions and keep it handy—and even do three things from it every day—then we have a foolproof formula for getting inspired at the drop of a hat, and we’re constantly becoming more and more sensitive to that inspiration every day.

Inspiration doesn’t require a certain job, hours of time, or even a certain amount of money. Even if we only have five minutes free a day, we can do things that we know put us on track for inspiration and new action. Because, when we’re inspired, we’re motivated to take new actions and start changing our lives for the better.

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More on Finding Passion in Life

Featured photo credit: DJ Watson via unsplash.com

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Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele is a Purpose + Brand Strategist who figures out what makes you naturally successful. Then helps you do it on purpose.

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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

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