Doing what you love and following your passion on a regular basis becomes quite tricky when we realise one thing: there are only 24 hours in a day.
So, naturally, the question arises: is there anything we can do about it?
Sometimes it can feel like the reality of the 21st century is the most chaotic, over-stimulating and challenging one yet. And I do agree with this notion, to some extent. Wherever I look, I am surrounded by productivity influencers, bombarded by self-development gurus and targeted by bold go-getters and hustlers online. As a student and a creative content writer, I can definitely feel the cult of maximising, optimising, and upgrading everything. And, to be clear, I don’t only mean working hard. I’m also talking about the ridiculous concept of finding your one true purpose, following your passion and turning it into your job. Not to mention, this idea stems from the obsession with embodying the saying: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.“, which, by the way, is faulty in MANY ways, and you can read all about it here.
It is completely fine to have a regular 9-5 job and pursue your hobbies and other interests OUTSIDE of your work. In fact, that’s the case scenario for a vast majority of us, humans. Nevertheless, too often the reality is a bit different. After all, navigating a full-time job, being a full-time parent, maintaining a healthy romantic relationship and having a ton of house chores and groceries to do leaves little to no place for sweet pleasures such as following your passion.
So, is there anything we can do about it?
The straightforward answer is: YES!
The more complex response involves breaking the whole issue down and getting a closer look at each of the elements.
Let’s begin, shall we?
The Importance of Following Your Passion
A good place to start is with an in-depth understanding of the crucial and influential role that pursuing passion plays in our lives.
Here are just a couple of many reasons to invest in following your passion:
1) It makes your day better:
On a most fundamental level, having a hobby is a lot of fun, and it feels good. It’s a nice way to spend time alone or with friends.
Cultivating your hobby a great thing to look forward to, motivating you to push through some of the most challenging days. Playing on piano, swimming, dancing, singing, writing, drawing – whatever it is for you personally, it has the power of breaking the mundane energy of a typical day with excitement that comes from cultivating our passion.
It can turn a rather lousy day into a good one, and a good day into an even better one.
2) It makes your life better:
These little moments when passion lifts you up and sparks the energy and hunger for more, when gathered, can change your life for the better.
These hobbies are a reminder of who you are outside of your usual role as a coworker, partner, mom, friend, sister etc. The things we love touch the core of our very existence. We love what we love because of our goals, dreams and desires.
When you follow your passion, you constantly realign yourself with your core values, fundamental beliefs and aspirations in life.
3) Following your passion is a great way to unwind & destress:
Naturally, what we enjoy doing is rather relaxing for us. We can ease the mind with our favourite activity, unplug after a tough day at the office and chill out.
Engaging in your passion project can often serve as a form of meditation, whether you realise it or not. There is a particular sequence of movements, a specific rhythm and an element of ritual in preparing the space for pursuing your passion.
The more you practice, the more natural your passion will feel. Then, before you know it, you deeply submerge yourself in the present moment and enter the flow state. That’s how you get rid of all the accumulated stress throughout the day and create a sense of inner peace.
4) It’s a performance boost:
At this point, the research papers on cultivating passion are countless. Yet, most of them agree on one thing: having a hobby boosts your performance at work, at home and in life.
- First of all, gaining knowledge in your area of interest, getting better and more confident at it has a ripple effect on your entire existence. Your passion can be a source of confidence that you channel into your professional work, into your romantic relationships, friendships and so on.
- Secondly, following your passion makes you more resilient to any potential setbacks you might encounter. Outside of your role as a worker, as a parent, as a lover, as a friend, you have the additional layer of your identity – the very intimate one connected to your passion. When faced with a roadblock or a failure, this extra role protects us from spiralling down and feeling low. After all, there is still this one thing that makes us happy.
- Lastly, including passion in your daily life makes our brain more powerful. Practising your hobby systematically acts as a mental workout. So what comes with training our “brain muscle” is its immense strength. Depending on your specific hobby, you can improve your focus, creativity, memory or motor skills. Even video games come in handy when making decisions under pressure.
Let’s Address The Issue with Following Your Passion
All things considered… why don’t we follow our passions?
How come we neglect them, even though they’re so essential to our wellbeing?
Why do we get stuck in a rut?
Part of the explanation is the fact that most of us are too busy, some of us are overworked and overstimulated, and there are also these few of us who are at the brink of burnout. In these situations, thinking about hobbies and interests seems a bit silly. After all, there are more important things to take care of, one might think.
Another factor, maybe more common among the millennials and 20-somethings, such as myself, who try to figure out their identity and place in the world, is the lack of mental clarity. It’s such a grand quest: first finding, then following your passion, your one true purpose, your “why”, and making it the essence of your existence. The tremendous pressure and colossal expectations woven into the fabric of the mainstream understanding of passion can not only intimidate but, quite frankly, paralyse us. Yet, this all can change in the nick of time when we understand one vital aspect of this whole thing: IT IS NONSENSE.
What If We Were Living On Purpose?
At Dwen-Day, we believe that rather than finding your one purpose or one passion and then embodying them, it’s easier and smarter to take action now and live each day on purpose. You may not be clear on what is your passion, but for sure, you already have some specific interests, probably without realising it. I bet there are things you enjoy greatly, topics you are eager to discuss with friends or family, and activities that are just so much more fun than anything else.
The thing is, this clarity we all yearn to have is not gained by sitting on our bottoms and overanalysing our path in life. Gaining self-awareness, understanding ourselves, sparking up the excitement and motivation are all found through action.
Use your interests and preferences as a compass. Let them guide you in the right direction. You may not know now what the final destination or the route will look like exactly. But you have a general idea, and that, honestly, is a great start!
Open yourself up to new hobbies, to the idea of trying and failing and being okay with that. Appreciate each fall as much as each rise. Allow yourself to keep trying. Each experience like that is a learning opportunity, a beautiful way of getting to know oneself. Little by little, you will feel more excited, buzzing with life and, ultimately, deeply passionate about particular activities and areas of your interest.
Following Your Passion – 3 Simple Ways
1) Consistency & Scheduling:
Passion adds fuel to our lives, and the act of scheduling it simply ensures thatthe fuel is added consistently to keep us energised and content. In addition, organising your hobbies removes unnecessary stress, making it way more enjoyable and relaxing.
“If you’re truly passionate, you need to carve out some regular time to do what you love“, says Amanda Cook in her article for Lifehack. So, create a plan for your passion project with all the essential details (times per week, resources needed, cost, duration, preferred environment etc.) and be consistent with it. Besides, having your hobby scheduled beforehand in your calendar will push you towards actually doing it.
2) Say ‘NO’ To Say ‘YES’:
Okay, let’s be honest here: during the workdays, after 5 PM, our brains are set on a single goal: coming back home to a well-deserved ritual of sinking in a cozy sofa and binge-watching Netflix. That, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely how, little by little, we neglect the things we truly love, things we’re deeply passionate about or just things that bring us joy for the sake of immediate pleasure.
“Saying ‘yes’ to one thing means saying ‘no’ to another ”– Sean Covey
My suggestion here is to conduct an experiment:
- Track your time for a week, each activity you do, and then review your data.
- Answer these Qs:
- Are you really constantly swamped with work, or are there some chunks of time spent on pointless things?
- Is there a specific person in your life that keeps on requesting your time?
- What could you eliminate, delegate or minimise and invest that time in following your passion instead?
It’s normal to be self-indulgent or to be extra busy from time to time. Nevertheless, in most cases, it’s all about the art of saying no to procrastination, mindless scrolling or other people’s requests in order to say yes to yourself and prioritise your wellbeing.
3) Be Smart About Your Time:
Let’s address the case of all the busy people with overflowing to-do lists who have little to no extra time for pursuing things they love.
All I can say is – capitalise on your days.
If you have a full-time job, there’s still some space before, during or after work to engage in whatever you’re passionate about. You can start using your lunch break to read about your hobby, bookmark websites or watch video tutorials. That can be done while waiting in line at the post office, driving on a bus or waiting in the conference room for a meeting to start.
If you’re a morning person, decide to get up a little bit earlier and create a morning routine that includes your passion. Start your day with something you love and set the mood for the whole day! Naturally, the hours you’ll spend at your workplace will have a different, a little bit sweeter taste.
If you consider yourself to be more of a night owl, carve out some time in the afternoon or evening and dedicate yourself to your passion project. Use visual cues that can remind you of performing your practice. They are a great help in introducing and maintaining new habits.
Choose a specific spot around your home and use it exclusively for cultivating your hobby. No need to waste your precious time on getting ready, collecting materials or cleaning up space. It’s all waiting for you to pick it up where you left off last time.
“Man does not live by bread alone”– Matthew 4:4
This biblical phrase perfectly conveys my message to you. Obviously, we all need to support ourselves financially in order to satisfy our basic needs. However, what we fairly often forget in the midst of busy weeks, is supporting our psychological and spiritual needs as well. Our hobbies are here not to be neglected or forgotten, but to fill our existence with taste, colour, and beautiful experiences.
So make sure to benefit from these wonders by creating systems for following your passion in life!