Are you following your path?
Do you know exactly what makes you passionate?
We are not born with a path laid out for us, like so many of the gurus tout. That’s entitlement thinking, and another reason to sit back and wait for life to happen to you.
You need to become aware of your passion and choose your path accordingly.
We are activated when we identify a path that resonates with us as individuals. Not as humans, but individuals.
When you do things that are in line with your own blend of passion, which in turn guides your various life missions, this is the equivalent of an on-switch that enlivens all of us to move deliberately.
Defining my passion took me a full year to figure out, but everything I do, down to the choices I make at the grocery shop, are guided by my passion, and the path I am building for myself.
I will tell you what my passion is shortly.
Life has not been better since I’ve been aware of what really motivates me consciously.
Only you can figure out what it is that truly drives you; gets you motivated; gets you emotional and gets you acting with awareness and decisiveness.
Often passion comes out of having an enemy of some kind. This enemy does not need to be human, it can be a state of affairs. I will talk about this in more detail another time.
Having been both on and off my path several times in life – from depressed despair all the way to being completely content and driven – I’ve learned some things that I know are indicators of whether you are on the path or not.
1. You’re ‘snowed under’
Listen to the language people use when they describe their circumstances.
People who are in full alignment with their passion will say they have a lot to do, or they are busy, or they have a lot to get done.
Their language is of an owner. An owner of their own circumstances. They are the boss and they are on a mission.
Those who are not on their path will say things like they are ’snowed under’, ‘burned out’ or overwhelmed. The hardships of life are happening to them. They are the victim.
‘Burn out’ is not possible if you are doing what you are passionate about.
Passion should make you obsessed. Obsession and burn out are alien to one another.
Be passionate with purpose and never experience burn out, no matter how much you have to do, ever again.
2. You’re reading articles about being on your path
This one’s a bit of a joke, because some of you may be pretty damn passionate, but just here to see whether you’ve missed any thing. You know, on the off-chance.
Or you might be here for reasons other than absorbing my point, such as getting a feel for my writing-style.
But seriously, if you’re reading this and you haven’t closed the page yet, you might not be as obsessed with your mission as you think, with as much clarity as you require.
3. You or others are not concerned about your own sanity
I don’t believe there is a single path you can be on that is guided by your true passion that does not at least make others occasionally question or criticise you.
If you aren’t at least getting occasional bemused comments from others about how you choose to attack your goals, then you’re probably playing it too safe, and not applying enough gas to the vehicle that will (metaphorically) take you down that path.
One of the biggest paradoxes of life is the fact that people are most internally motivated when they are going against the grain of what others expect of them (never initially, because that is often painful, but when they realise that they can ‘get away with it’).
‘Society’ is holding you back with more force than you will ever likely understand.
Society, as a general concept, will always inherently be anti-passion; anti-individual. Why? Because society, by its very nature is sustained by the existence of the crowd.
No true passion is rooted to conformity. We’re built to break free. You will know you’re on your path when people begin to criticise you; think you’re a little crazy or are ’obsessed’.
Be crazy, friend.
4. You compare yourself to others
This is one of the surest ways to know you need a little shift in direction. Do your damn thing.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. A huge amount can be gained from learning from the successes of others, but a lot can be lost as well.
Learn from your own successes.
You will never be happy if you compare yourself to someone else. You are not that person. You never will be. Instead, think how you can do things differently to others, in your own way.
You will never be on your path until you can accept yourself for who you are, and embody that person in everything you do, with a generous helping of pride and a dash of humility.
5. You complain that too many bloggers write ‘list’ posts
6. You are not able to tell someone your passion in one sentence
To work with real passion means knowing what that passion is with clarity. This will take some time, like it did for me.
Having tweaked the way I describe my own passion, this is what it is currently. It fires me up every time I read it:
To help underdogs realise their value so that they can make an impact on the world with their art, and enliven others to do the same.
The beauty of this sentence for me, is its depth and its ability to sustain itself. The wheels of motion are set in play as soon as one underdog realises his talent and puts it to work to make an impact on other underdogs.
In most cases, your passion will be closely linked to an injustice you yourself suffered at some point in your life, in the way that my own progression as a man has been stunted on many occasions growing up.
In my case, the enemy is society. The enemy is social programming. The enemy is political correctness and mediocrity that turns people into zombies and stunts the development of the expressive artist that lies in every one of us.
Writing these articles is easy for me, because it is directly guided by my own, identified passion.
Know your passion with clarity. It will change your life.
7. You are not dominating one thing at a time
A frequent struggle amongst a lot of you is deciding on what to do and whether it’s wise to do several things at once.
My answer: It is ok to do many things, as long as they are in line with these two criteria:
1. You have to have reached that point by absolutely nailing each and every one of those things one step at a time.
2. They can occupy your time once you’ve mastered one thing. You can not start on your path by doing several things at once.
Your journey starts by committing to doing one thing, in line with your passion, and dominating your corner with that thing. Focus on something that you can really shine and stand out with. Get amazing at that thing and wow your tribe, your audience or your customers with that thing.
Then, when you’ve really mastered it (or realised it’s not something that contributes to your mission), can you move on to the next thing.
You’re building an empire with a solid foundation with your skills and experiences, rather than jumping from one swampy island to the next.
8. You are not actively eliminating your vices
Vices are – by their very nature – things that will hold you back. Whether it’s smoking, distraction and social media, being negative, drinking, eating crap, sloth or drugs, these don’t help you stay on your path.
If you’re on your path, you would do whatever it takes to achieve those missions you are setting for yourself.
I’m not saying eliminate everything that holds you back if it gives you brief pleasure. That can be helpful. But those on their path take any notable setbacks to their progress very seriously.
You would therefore be doing your damnedest to identify and eliminate vices that hold you back.
9. You rarely follow through
I just got home from a full body massage here in Saigon, Vietnam. I’ve had many over the last eight months here. One thing I’ve been able to get a very strong sense of is the extent to which the various masseuses here love what they do.
Bear with me.
Most of the women do a great job and massage with force, which I need, as a big lad. Most are average, a select few are amazing, but I have had some massages that are more excruciating than enjoyable.
I don’t mean that they are painful, more that, the masseuse does not follow through with each stroke. There is no passion, no care in their work, and it is extremely unsatisfying as a customer.
When I get a half-measure massage, I am angry. I would rather have spent that time doing something else.
Laugh all you like, but this is the best way to prove this point that I can think of.
Half-measures with no follow through are average. It is what happens when you do just enough. It’s what happens when you watch the clock for home time.
This is the embodiment of mediocrity. It is also the approach taken by most of the world, because most people are not following their paths.
The world needs people who are alive in what they have chosen to do who follow through on their tasks and actions.
This applies to so many things. Those that are passionately on their course finish their strokes.
They all follow through.
The golfer swings right the way through the ball. The artist doesn’t half-heartedly paint a picture. They put everything into each of their paintings.
The motorbike pro commits to each turn and accelerates through them. He doesn’t take his foot off the gas at the crucial moments.
If you rarely follow through; if you rarely finish a project; and if you rarely put your all into a task, you are not likely on your path.
What path are you on?