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Passion

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Passion is an exciting word, isn’t it?  “PASSION”!  It elicits several different meanings, but for purpose of this discussion we are referring to the non-sexual meaning of your true passions, which are those powerful emotions of extravagant fondness, enthusiasm or desire U may feel for doing or experiencing a specific thing.

Living life every day without interacting in an area that is not part of your true passion can be very monotonous.  Isn’t enjoying those things U truly love, partially, what living is all about? 

I have always loved being by or on the water, after all I grew up in Minnesota, the “land of 10,000 lakes”, but for various reasons I never did.  So, after my divorce, I had a work opportunity on Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina.  My passion for being by the water, walking on the beaches, watching the sunrise and set and feeling the wind on my face, rose to an all-time high.  Within seven months, I took more than 2000 photos of what I saw there, and I still could not get enough beach time.  That kind of passion might live in each of us.  For me, I did not realize it was a passion, or something I simply liked, until I experienced it fully and over a long period of time.  Taking so many pictures, hurrying to get through work and get back to the beach to once again experience the peace and beauty I felt there was evidence enough for me that it was one of my passions.  

Your passions, of which there may be several, may not fully manifest in your life until U have an experience that heightens them to a level where U feel them for the true passions that they are.  Until then, U may just see them as preferences or things that U may like to do, given the chance. U can learn to distinguish a passion from a passing interest by asking yourself whether it is something U can take or leave depending on the situation or whether it would really matter to U if it were not in your life. 

When U spend time in your passions, your thinking is much clearer, and your mood and overall attitude is so positive that the other things U do in your day are also much more enjoyable, even if they are not passions of yours.  Just spending some quality time in your passions may be all it takes to turn all of the parts of your life in new positive directions.  Figuring out what your passions in life are should be one of your goals in your life plan.  Spending time in your passions will affect your life in powerful ways and will certainly make your days more enjoyable.

When U think about where your true passions lie, think about what U want your life story to be.  By thinking this way, U will likely be able to identify your passions.  Are U a world traveler, a writer, a photographer, a business person, a social worker, a minister, a teacher, a mother, father, wife or husband?  Do U love to help others, help animals, or help the environment?  Are U an explorer?  Do U like to fish, hunt or pick up seashells on the beach?  Do U love fashion, being in top physical shape, or working on cars?   Your life story is yours to tell all the world.  It is up to U to live up to your full potential and do what U were made to do — and if U are passionate about what U do, U never know how far U really can go in life.  Follow your passions!

Find your passions by:

  • Finding out who U want to be in your life story
  • Owning your uniqueness, include that in your life plan and be the person in your life story
  • Understanding that waiting for a better time or for more money to enjoy your passions are just excuses; U will be happier if U enjoy your passions, U simply need to figure out how best to make that happen
  • Thinking about what U really love to do and then go do it

Some Books You Might Want to Read on Passion:

  1. The Minimalist Mindset:  The Practical Path to Making Your Passions A Priority and to Retaking Your Freedom by Danny Dover
  2. GUTS:  Find Your Greatness, Beat the Odds, Live From Passion by Sam Bracken
  3. The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose by Janet and Chris Attwood
  4. Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

 

By Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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Happiness

Happiness

Happiness is really a mood or state of being.  It is a way U might feel at a certain time, and that feeling is described as positive, good and joyful.  Many people think about being happy or strive to be happy all the time.  But that really is not realistic all the time, for what goes up, must come down, right?  If U were always happy, that state of being would become your norm, and that level of happiness would start to feel average.  This would create a need to feel above average and a new level of happiness would be needed, and that could go on and on.  Experiencing the down times that come in everyone’s life as well as the up times helps each of us to know the difference and appreciate the happiness we feel.  Having said that, we certainly can program or arrange our days to have many things in them that do make us feel happy.  Just make sure U don’t keep doing the same things every day, or that “average” feeling described above might appear, replacing your happiness with feelings of monotony.

Keep in mind also that U are always the one constant whether U have or don’t have happiness.  If U always stay in the same places, work the same routines and visit the same establishments, it is very likely that your happiness will be low.  Try changing your routine, do a new activity or do some traveling.  Experience some new things and make some new friendships.  These new experiences increase your probability of more happiness while also making life more interesting.  It only takes one happy event to make U feel good again.  If U don’t plan for a little change in your life, U may realize one day that U are in a “rut” and doing the same things over and over.  The stability of that rut might feel comfortable, but if U allow for some changes once in a while, things in your life might really feel great most of the time.

Everyone’s version of happiness is also a little different.  Going out and socializing or having a great meal or conversation with family and friends can be good sources of happiness for many people.  Staying in good shape, eating healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep all can help U improve your mood and maintain a positive outlook, which all work in your favor to experience happiness.  But again, U create most of the happiness in your life and many times it does not take much effort on your behalf to be happy. 

Stay away from negative thoughts and negative people.  Negative situations and experiences do come up, and U must deal with them, but U should focus on treasuring your positive experiences and creating more of them.  Happiness is an emotion, and U can create emotions through activity, so do something U love and enjoy.  Look around, see what others do that makes them happy.  Give it a try, if it works for U too, so much the better. 

Being happy also means adhering to your value system.  If U are constantly going against your own grain every day, doing things U don’t really believe U should be doing, that type of activity can be a negative emotional drain on U and prevent U from being happy.

Finding your true purpose in life, sticking to your value system and working to develop yourself into the person U truly want to be in life can help U feel happier.  Working with a good life plan can help U do this and more.

 

Here is a short list of things leading to happiness:

  • Express gratitude on a regular basis
  • Practice being more optimistic
  • Engage in frequent acts of kindness
  • Savor joyful events
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Keep learning new things
  • Stay physically fit
  • Create goals and accomplish them
  • Be part of a group and get to know others

U can learn more about HAPPINESS by reading these books:

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to Act by Russ Harris
Paths to Happiness: 50 Ways to Add Joy to Your Life Every Day by Edward Hoffman
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky
The Happiness Mindset: 12 Strategies for Happiness & Success I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Younger by Brandon Stanberg

Gary Kiecker, LifeLongU™