Children focus fiercely on everything they do while doing it. Nothing else exists. The world is just them and whatever it is that they are doing at that moment: the game they are playing, the movie they are watching, the toy they are holding… And with that focus comes passion, their inexhaustible source of energy. But then we grow…
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As we grow, our attention is divided into a million needs and tasks. We rarely just do one single thing at a time and most of what we do doesn’t even require our full attention. We learn to shift our focus from one problem to the next, from one action to the next or back to the previous one. We forget the art of just being totally immersed in only one task, in flow with it, unaware and uncaring about anything else. And as we do, our energy spreads to feed and fuel that myriad of smaller actions we undertake. No wonder why we never feel energetic enough anymore!
Passion is the fuel for human energy. We see it in children but also in those few adults who still maintain their passion for what they do. Have you ever met anybody truly passionate about something who complains of a lack of energy? Just the opposite, right? Those you meet who seem to never tire are profoundly passionate about what they do. Without passion, energy dwindles and it does so because passion requires focus so the three go together and feed one another: passion, focus, energy.
Many people come to me because they feel exhausted and without energy or because they can’t perform at the level they see me or others performing. ‘What’s your secret?‘ they ask me. ‘How can you have so much energy?‘ The answer is my passion. I passionately love what I do: I passionately love writing and speaking, interacting with other human beings, getting to know them… I passionately love being alive. When those people come to me, they never have a passion of their own and without it, there is no focus.
Think about it for a moment. Look back onto your childhood or just observe children at play. When playing, nothing else exists; just the game. Do you remember that feeling of utter concentration and devotion? That is what you’re missing. You go to work but are you fully there? I bet you aren’t. Or you only are for short bouts of time. That’s why those who professionally devote themselves to their passion never look tired. Unfortunately, most human beings just have a job, not a passion. Most people just do their jobs or pursue their career not because it’s a passion for them but for many other reasons. They might choose certain studies based on the greater probabilities to find a job later on, or the amount of money they will bring them, or who knows what. And that is ok, as long as they also realize that days will feel long and boring and will always be accompanied by that perennial feeling of exhaustion.
I feel like this is a rule of life: passion transforms into energy; a lack of passion results in a lack of energy. As simple as that. If you want to feel more energetic in life, you’re going to have to change the way you live to find more passion or to create more opportunities to feel passionate about something.
Let me offer you some tips on how to turn a job into something you might feel passionate for. (You can also quit your current job and follow your passion, if you have one, of course, but this next section is for those who already have a job, no specific passion and can’t just shift careers at present.) So, if you are a manager in a company, for example, and feel like working days completely drain you of your energy,
- ask yourself what in your job sparks your passion… Nothing? Very little? Why doesn’t it surprise me? Let’s try and create or ignite some passion in you, then.
- go over the list of tasks you perform on a regular week and try and find something in them that you could eventually feel passionate about; human interaction, reaching excellence, being the best at one aspect of your work, creativity, productivity… or maybe even reaching the next wrung in the ladder… whatever. Once you find it, start devoting your full attention to that goal on incremental steps: first 10 minutes a day, then 15, then 20, and so on. Those minutes need to be like children at play, absolutely focused and devoted. If distracted, go back to the task and focus on the positives it brings you. Think about what it is you enjoy about them, how they make you feel, what is is that interests you when performing them. Focus on them at the moment, not on what they might bring in the future.
- while performing other tasks that are not the ones you identified as possible sources of passion, try to focus your full attention on each of them while carrying them out; a bit like mindful working. When changing tasks, shift your full attention to the new task at hand.
- If you can’t seem to be able to fully focus on something, ask yourself what part of that specific task is distracting you, or which other task is so important that it keeps calling your attention onto it. Focus on that one aspect or task, get it out of the way, so to speak, and go back to focusing on one task at a time.
- Once you feel a spark of passion for any of the tasks you perform, no matter how big or small, look for similar tasks in your job or possible new developments related to that one task that could open new avenues or result in more opportunities to do what you just discovered you love doing. If necessary, talk to your superiors and let them know about your passion. Managers know that passionate employees always yield better results, so chances are they might give you a few more shots at advancing along those lines.
- if nothing you do at work sparks your passion at all, apply all 5 points above to your personal life… what do you do outside of work that sparks your passion? And focus on those instead, to build a life of meaning and energy for yourself.
So, do you have any passions in your life? What gets you excited or moving? Use that! Because a life without passion is like a movie in slow motion; nice and fun to watch for a short while but quite boring after a while.
Enjoy life… ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: