Are you able to vividly describe what your passions are? I’m not talking about the seasonal hype over pumpkin spice or the latest technology release kind of passion; no, I’m talking about your deeply-rooted, fundamental passions that drive your most essential life decisions and overall state of satisfaction. This post will build upon the minmylife minimalist vision: “a lifestyle that reduces distractions in our lives, freeing us to focus on living our passions” with a goal of providing a means for you to discover your life passions, which is the natural first step in making changes to your habits and behaviors that will eventually empower your passion-driven lifestyle.
Since the minimalist lifestyle is a means to allow us to focus on living our passions, we need to be able to articulate what our passions are. When was the last time you thought deeply about what your passions are? Many people get so caught up in the day-to-day rush of life that they have either forgotten what their passions are or have gotten so far out of touch with their passions that they aren’t able to easily experience them anymore. I have been guilty of this in the past, and am here to tell you that it’s not too late to reconnect with your passions. I recommend re-analyzing your passions every few months to make sure your life is still aligned with them, or to recognize if one of your passions has changed.
Let’s do an exercise together to help identify your passions. Imagine you’re handed a note that says you only have one more weekend to live. As tragic as that sounds, the note has given you the superpower to do anything without regard to money, physical limitations, or distance. What would you choose to do? Would you sit on your front porch and enjoy a BBQ with your family and friends exchanging stories? Would you do an incredibly fast round-the-world trip with your best friend exploring the highest-rated tourist sites on each continent? Would you go to Las Vegas and blow unlimited amounts of cash on every imaginable vice humans have ever known? Would you paint one last canvas for your daughter’s unborn child? Would you cook a feast for the struggling family next door? Would you take a relaxing trip with your spouse to your favorite getaway? Take a few minutes to really think about the answer before reading further. If you get caught in a wave of emotions or some surprising answers pop in your head then you’re on the right track. You’re ready to move on below when you can truly visualize the details of your last weekend.
Let’s do another. Imagine you’re listening to the eulogy at your own funeral. Somehow the speaker was able to get inside your head and creates his paragraphs’ themes by categorizing what you spent the most time thinking about during your life. What does he speak about? Is it running, cooking, volunteering, teaching children new skills at summer camp, watching TV, buying fancy clothes, gossiping about other people, listening to doctors tell you about your preventable health condition, figuring out how to pay off the SUV, working, raising children, staring at your bank accounts, stressing about weight loss, or travelling the world? Same rules here, don’t read below until you’ve thought this one out. Skip the tendency to list traits that you want to have read about you in your eulogy; instead brainstorm what you actually spend time thinking about in your current life. When you can hear the eulogy’s words in your head and visualize reactions on the faces of members in the audience then you’re ready to move on.
The first exercise shows where your passions actually reside. The second exercise reveals where your life’s resources are being utilized; your thoughts translate to what you spend time, energy, and money on. Is there a disparity between where your passions are and where you are currently investing your life’s resources? That disparity is the distraction that we are referring to in the minmylife minimalist vision. Our quest is to eliminate those distractions.
In order to live your life in accordance with your passions you’ll need to monitor your allocation of life’s resources. What barriers are holding you back from spending your allocation on your passions instead of your distractions? Are your finances less than ideal, is your health prohibitive, or do you not have enough energy to bring your current life in line with your passions? If so, the minmylife community has a plethora of ideas to assist you in your journey towards reducing these distractions and focusing on your passions.
What is your plan for closing the disparity gap you identified in these scenarios? The first step is to write down the results from these exercises, and repeat the exercises every few months. Next, guided by the minimalist vision, you can set specific goals for yourself to illuminate the path towards achieving the lifestyle you desire. Stay tuned to the minmylife blog for future posts on minimalist goal setting.
Many great authors have published works on this topic. If this subject interests you I suggest you start with Janet and Chris Attwood’s The Passion Test, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, or Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10.
Bottom Line: The first step in living your passion-driven life is to identify your true passions. This blog post provides two exercises for digging deep inside your thoughts to discover your passions.
Did you find this post interesting? If so, check this out: minimalist vision blog post.