Cultivating passion for energy

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My bike, down by the river

One thing that has occurred to me thinking about this energy stuff is that one of the most energizing things is doing something that I’m passionate about.  When I am engaged in things that excite me, it’s hard not to feel more energetic.  I am sure you know what I am talking about and have had the same experience.

Granted, it can be hard at times to find things that we feel passionate about.  Passion is a strong word and it may be easier to frame it as just doing things that we like.  Granted, there will be times in most of our lives that we have to do things that we’re not passionate about.  However, if we can incorporate at least a little of something that we are passionate about, each day or on a regular basis, it helps us to feel energetic and excited for our lives.

It’s easy for me to let the things that I ‘need’ to do take priority over the things that I am passionate about.  There are times when that is probably a good thing.  When it happens too often and I let my passions just sit on the back burner, I start losing motivation and losing touch with the reasons why I want to do the things I ‘need’ to do.  For example I work, in part, so I can have the financial means to do things like travel, pay my bills, buy food, etc.  If I just focus on work and don’t take the time for travel or for enjoying my home or cooking and enjoying healthful meals, the ‘why’ disappears for me.

As part of my focus on habits to increase energy for July, I want to make sure and dedicate some time to things I’m passionate about.  Of course, this is something that would look different for different people.  For me, one of the things that I’m passionate about is writing.  This site has kind of taken on a ‘backburner’ position in my life recently, although I have been getting back to it lately.

One habit that I have added on to my list is to post each day for the month.  I’ve already missed yesterday, but that’s OK.  Sometimes it’s really important to realize that goals don’t have to be centered around 100% success.  Sometimes my goals are things that I know I’m not going to do perfectly, but having something that I am aiming for helps me to grow and get closer to that ideal than I would get without the goal.

Biking is something else I’ve picked up recently that is developing into a passion. This isn’t something that I aim to do every day, but I have been going at least a few times a week and plan to continue.  Plus it has the added benefit of counting as exercise and providing me with sunshine and fresh air.  It’s stimulating to me because there is always a new challenge: a hill that I’m scared to ride down or trying to develop the stamina to ride up, learning to ride in sand, or on gravel or over rocks, or working to beat my time on a particular stretch.  I push myself to expand my comfort zone and each day I go, I am able to accomplish a new little victory of some sort.

Thoughts on cultivating passion

If you can’t think of anything you’re passionate about, that’s OK.  I’m going to share some thoughts on cultivating passion.  If you do know things that you’re passionate about these things can still help you to find more things you’re passionate about or to increase your passion.

Be willing to try new things

Take a class, join a friend for an activity they’re into that you haven’t tried, take a day to go to a museum or the library, read a book on a new topic, pick up a magazine on something that interests you, think about things you’ve always wanted to try.  This might take you out of your comfort zone.  That’s OK.  Start small.  There is no need to buy a bunch of gear for something.  Rent or borrow something if you need… A bike, a kayak, etc.  Don’t approach it as a long term commitment.  You’re just trying something out to see how it is.  Maybe you like it, maybe you don’t.  Either way you’ve learned something about yourself.  If you try enough things, you will find things you really enjoy.  If you like something you try, go deeper.  Consider starting with the most basic gear you need for a hobby.  Interested in photography?  Buy a cheap camera.  You can always upgrade later if you continue to be interested in it and much of the time, pleasure in an activity doesn’t come from expensive gear, but from just doing the activity.

Revisit an old passion

Chances are, there’s something that you used to really enjoy doing that has fallen by the wayside.  I know I could name quite a few including artwork like pottery, drawing, and sewing, backpacking, rock climbing, playing my drums, mapping stuff in Google Earth, etc.  It’s easy for me to get really into something for a while and then have it pushed out of my life by other things.  It takes a little effort to pick something back up, but normally, I am back into it with renewed passion pretty quickly once I do.  This concept doesn’t have to be limited to old passions.  Try watching a favorite movie you haven’t seen in a long time, playing a favorite song from a band you used to be crazy about, calling a friend you’ve lost touch with or re-visiting something else from your past that you enjoyed.

I did a lot of hiking and camping as a kid and I’ve been doing those things again.  I still really enjoy them and it makes me feel as though I’m coming back to being me.  I don’t know if that even makes sense, but hopefully it does.

Just do it

Interestingly, I find that I become more passionate about the things that I take the time to do and to learn about.  A while back, I started an IRA because I felt like it was time to start saving for retirement.  Then I spent  a little time learning and researching about investment strategies, stocks, etc.  The more I learned, the more interested I became.  (This is an interest that has since kind of fallen by the wayside for me and may go on my ‘revisit an old passion’ list at some point.)  There are a lot of really interesting hobbies and activities out there, so if you just start doing something, chances are you might really become interested in it as you learn more.

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