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15 Things Only Passionate People Would Understand

15 Things Only Passionate People Would Understand

Follow your passion. How many times have we heard that? When we do, life changes and we radiate joy and enthusiasm for what we are passionate about. If you are passionate about life or something in particular, you can relate to these 15 things which only you can understand.

1. You don’t need motivation.

I know a woman who gets up at 5.a.m to help the homeless people in her city. This daily action of helping and giving back to the less fortunate represents her core values. She does not need to seek motivation as her guiding principles are never in question.

2. You know all about opening doors.

One passion leads to more opportunities. When you are passionate about a job, a hobby, a holiday or volunteering, the doors they open up are truly amazing. A passion can become your career or make a relationship bloom. The great thing is that when one part of your life is full of passion you are not going to take second best in all the other parts.

3. You are prepared to take risks.

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” – William Faulkner

People who are not passionate are always on the look out for guarantees. A loan officer at a bank will rarely give out a loan to someone who is following his passion. But you know that once you have done your homework and have been diligent, there comes the moment to take that risk. Taking that leap of faith is often the doorway to even more success and happiness.

4. You have laser focus.

You know that spreading your time and talents over too many things may distract you from the number one passion. That gives you a laser focus and you are prepared to miss out on some enjoyable things to make that happen. Robert Sternberg, Past President of the American Psychological Association talks about his laser focus in getting home to be with his toddler triplets but not doing so until he has written a set number of chapters for new book. Being passionate helps him to deliver on his strategy of getting his priorities right.

“You have to decide what your priorities are and say, ‘I’m going to make it happen’—and then just make it happen.”- Robert Sternberg.

5. You are surrounded by other passionate people.

You know only too well how to avoid toxic people who whine, complain and are generally negative. Surrounding yourself with other passionate people gives you even more inspiration. The joy of interacting and sharing with them is truly priceless.

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6. You are not afraid of failure.

One of the great challenges passionate people face is that it will not always be plain sailing. Look at the sports champions who have to overcome lost matches and injuries. They have to keep going and it is their passion that drives them on, in spite of many failures.

7. You look for solutions.

An obstacle is not a roadblock. It is merely a difficulty along the way and can provide you with solutions. Passionate people are always on the lookout for solutions, ways to improve, faster delivery, or streamlined processes. You name it – you are on the job.

8. You see the beauty of other people.

You are the one who homes in on the amazing qualities of the people around you. You know that your partner is just a superb person or that your parents are truly unique. You know how to see people’s great qualities and that is so important in keeping your own passion thriving.

9. You cannot persuade everyone to be like you.

Another challenge passionate people face is that not everybody around you will understand why or how your passion is driving you. They are often not on the same wavelength at all so you have to put up with being a little lonely at times. The best solution is to get busy and not dwell on that too much.

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10. You cannot sleep.

The downside of having this searing passion when you wake up is that your sleep tends to suffer. It is hard to let go and stop thinking about what gives your life its purpose. It really is hard to switch off at times.

11. You have to put up with jealousy.

Not everyone you meet or work with will understand why you are so passionate about your projects. They are the ones who have settled into their rather dull comfort zones. They will never understand what it is like to go all out and reach their potential. You can expect some jealousy or envy on their part but that will never discourage you.

12. You love your job.

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Do what you love doing in your job may sound like Utopia for many of us. This is where passionate people have triumphed because you have found your passion points and been able to develop them so that you can do your job with great enthusiasm and excitement. If you still have not found your passion, exploit your interests and take some courses, whether it is in web design or creative writing.

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13. You read a lot.

“I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

Whatever your passion, you will need to be fully informed. Networking and chatting are useful but nothing will beat reading extensively about your passion. But also reading about everything that interests you will make you more knowledgeable, reflective and successful.

14. You have daily goals.

You wake up early because you have so much to do. In addition, you have decided what is important to achieve to-day and you usually have a few top priorities which are going to help you succeed. You can see exactly where they fit in with your long term goals.

15. You can cope with the voices in your head.

Another difficulty passionate people have to face is the voices from loved ones they keep hearing in their heads, especially if there is danger involved. Let us imagine your passion is scuba diving. Yes, there are risks but you have done all the training and you have enough experience now to dive alone. You can silence those voices you keep hearing about “what if?” by just reminding yourself that these are not your fears, but those of your loved ones. They do not realize how much you love what you are doing.

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How can passionate people make great things happen? I think it is because they feel so fulfilled in doing a wonderful job and above all because they love what they do.

Featured photo credit: Young bold girl woman in hipster clothes, jumping on the roof, dressed like a boy man in a shirt, bow-tie, suspenders and pants trousers via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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