Highly passionate people aren’t just lucky.
They share common characteristics.
They work hard, they trust their intuition and they persevere.
Nothing special is required. You don’t have to be gifted. You don’t need permission. You can follow what makes you come alive.
The only thing holding you back are the stories you’ve learned about this path.
Now, let’s look at the key habits of highly passionate people, shall we?
Passionate people follow what makes them come alive.
When I was in my late teens, I wasn’t familiar with terms like “follow your passion”, “listen to your heart” or “trust your intuition”.
As the years have passed, I’ve realized that what is relevant to me is what I resonate with in this moment.
I follow my excitement. I follow that subtle whisper within me to check something out. I am drawn by an invisible force to explore certain paths.
I have doubts. I have fears, just like anyone else. However, I’ve learned to just take one step at a time toward my excitement. That has guided me through life since 2002.
We’ve been taught to listen to logic. Don’t get me wrong, logic has its place, but it cannot live your life for you. It will make you miserable.
This comes down to listening to your excitement, to your inner GPS, as I like to call it.
Here’s a video I recorded on this:
Passionate people know that following your passion isn’t without its challenges.
Courage is required to walk this path.
Courage is not something you wait for. It is built up through facing your inner demons.
Following your passion requires work, but the good news is that it’s enjoyable work, for the most part.
I’ve never worked a real job in my life. I became a professional poker player straight out of school. I had no idea if I was going to succeed. In the beginning, people doubted if making a living playing poker was possible.
I had a passion for playing poker, so I kept at it, and eventually started making a comfortable living. That took courage, but it wasn’t extraordinary. I just took things one day at a time, and worked hard.
Then I transitioned from online poker to online websites.
In the future, I don’t doubt that I will transition to something else. Life is constantly changing. All I have to do is listen to my inner GPS, and see where life takes me.
Life knows where I need to be. I just have to have the courage to say yes.
If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that results rarely come fast. Following your passion doesn’t just happen.
People tell me that I’m lucky. I seem to get good at everything they say. I’m not lucky. I’m just determined, and I do my best to pick something that I feel drawn to. It’s pretty easy to get good at something you’re interested in.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always know if I’m on the right track. I simply follow what is interesting, and leave it at that. If I make a mistake, then so be it. I’m doing what I can in each moment.
That’s all I can do.
I’m not always 100% determined. Even that is okay. I’m as determined as I can be. Determination simply means that I re-focus on taking tiny steps toward what matters.
You never know. Maybe you pick up a few skills that will help you down the road.
And if nothing else, you did something you enjoyed.
I have bad days like anyone else, but I keep following my heart, my inner GPS.
There’s a fine line between being blissfully ignorant and positively realistic. It’s something you have to discover for yourself. Try both, and find your own balance.
Being positive means being optimistic about following your dreams. You do not need permission to say yes to your soul.
You do not need validation.
You simply need to focus on what you can do with what you have. You start where you are, and let life nudge you forward.
That is positivity.
Being passionate doesn’t mean limiting yourself to one passion. I’ve been passionate about health, martial arts, websites, languages, guitar, cartooning, and on the list goes.
Most of those passions are now gone. A few remain, such as writing, teaching, and helping.
Even thought the fire has fizzled from most of those passions, they all left a spark within me. They taught me something. They broadened my perspective.
My passions change, but what remains constant is my single-mindedness to keep listening to what life is calling out of me.
I won’t pretend to figure out my path. I don’t know what life has in store. Realizing this has freed me up to enjoy this moment, because I don’t waste time obsessing about how life should be.
Following your passion makes you growth-oriented. You tap into something greater than yourself.
You are constantly being asked to step out of your comfort zone, which leads to growth, to evolution.
I’m always looking to grow. I want to discover more of the truth, to learn more about how the world works.
Let’s say you have to choose between two paths.
Path #1 is faster, but requires more discipline and is less fun. Path #2 is slower, but you’ll enjoy it more. In the past, I would’ve chosen Path #1, but now I’d choose #2, because if I’m not enjoying myself right now, it’s not worth it.
Passionate people know when to say no.
When you say no, you have energy to what you feel called to do.
I used to jump into too many things at once. We all have many interests, which is great, but it’s a double-edged sword.
We want to do everything at once, so we say yes to everything, which means nothing gets done.
When I ask students and clients what they want to do, they rabble up a laundry list of interests.
It’s hard to focus on just one thing. But it helps to remember that you are experimenting. You simply choose what makes you come most alive, and what you can take action on.
You can’t pick the wrong thing, because any choice leads to learning.
Throughout the years I’ve learned to ease up on my perfectionism. Instead of getting stuck on the little details, I’ve started focusing on the big picture.
I’m more concerned about helping you, rather than trying to make my article feel perfect to myself.
This internal sense of perfection is an illusion, because I’m comparing my internal image of perfection to the external world.
It’s much more important that I do my best, hit publish, and pay attention to the feedback.
For example, if you want to start blogging, just start. You don’t need a professional design, or to have everything planned out.
All you need is to get your blog up, and start writing, recording podcasts or making videos. That’s the only way you’ll know if you even like it.
The key is to take a step, listen to your excitement, take another step, listen, step, listen, and so on.
Here’s a video on taking action:
Prioritization goes hand in hand with being selective.
No one has time to do anything. Your to-do list will always be full.
This means you have to prioritize what is important to you. If you don’t, your fate will be to react to life until you turn to ash.
Reacting to life means living a life based on other people’s actions.
Let go of the things that are not important to you. You have to say no to people, projects, and most of your own ideas.
No matter how much you have on your plate, I know one thing: You can always take one step toward what makes you come alive.
It may be a tiny step, but it is always there.
The definition of self-motivated is:
motivated to do or achieve something because of one’s own enthusiasm or interest, without needing pressure from others.
I love what I do.
That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle.
I doubt my ability to write, record, and create. I have fears. I have dragons to battle.
I want to watch a movie instead of writing this, but I also know that writing this is what is truly fulfilling. Watching a movie is easy, but it leaves me feeling empty. It feels like unfulfilled potential.
I am on this planet to do what I’m doing right now.
This connection to what I feel called to do, on a deep level, is what motivates me.
Passionate people work with what they have.
Acceptance doesn’t mean passivity.
Acceptance is an inner state of non-resistance.
I resist life like anyone else. But the longer I live, the more I align with reality.
I see that what I want, and what life wants from me are two different things. I’ve also noticed that what life wants is better for me than what I want.
I’ve grown to trust life, and to accept what it brings.
If an obstacle stands in my way, I’ll do what I can to overcome it. If I’m truly stuck, I’ll ask for help, from someone, from life, from my intuition.
No one can truly tell you what to do. I cannot give you a plan, because living a passionate life is unique to you, which means you have to learn to listen to your inner GPS.
That is the only way you will live the life you were born to live.
Below is a short video I recorded about this:
Service to others is really service to self.
At a certain stage, I lost track of why I’m really doing things.
I know that I feel drawn to write this, but I don’t really know why. It feels good. It’s as if life itself is moving me. My personality, my past conditioning, and my soul are all coming together to dance with life.
From this, generosity flows naturally.
I want to help you. There are boundaries, of course, but the underlying pull to be of service is there.
Perhaps this comes from discovering that helping others makes me feel better than just helping myself.
I came to this realization through helping myself first. That was my path. Sometimes you have to help yourself in order to help others. It doesn’t matter where you begin, because it always comes back full circle.
Passionate people don’t get stuck in unhelpful concepts.
I have a tendency to get obsessed with the things I’m interested in.
I don’t worry about balance. Balance has its place, but I listen to my inner guidance, first and foremost.
I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. I tend to be interested in something for anywhere from three months to a few years. I extract what I need, and I move on.
Some interests remain, like writing, teaching, and creating.
Start paying attention to the patterns in which your life moves. Your life doesn’t have to be balanced every 24 hours, every week, or even every decade.
Don’t force your life into a mold that doesn’t fit.
What if following your interests naturally leads to the balance your life needs?
14. Personal Power
When I got out of school at 18, my personal power level was low. As the years passed, I learned to trust my inner authority.
At first, I was hesitant to follow what felt magnetic. With time, I saw the positive results. My mind even got on board to some extent, because it could see that following what felt magnetic led to an interesting life.
I still make mistakes, but I don’t worry about it. Life is fluid. One mistake isn’t going to ruin my life. And even if it does, so what?
I can only do what I can. Worrying about trying to do something I can’t do is pointless.
We all want someone to tell us that we’re on the right track, but it’s not until you begin to trust yourself that you grab ahold of your destiny.
You don’t have to force this to happen. It happens naturally as you go through life. You eventually discover that no one knows your life better than you.
“People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn’t belong to them.” – Caroline Myss
Happiness is living a life that is true to my soul.
It’s not about what my mind wants, or what I think would make me happy. It’s about trusting life, and walking the path that was made for me.
Are you pursuing what you think you want, or are you going after what lights up your soul?
The latter is difficult, because it means you have to step out of your comfort zone. Most people run away from their true path.
There’s a need for discipline, but there’s also a need for fun.
Being too focused on discipline means you most likely have a belief that achievements can bring lasting happiness.
You alone have to discover that this is not the case.
You can find fun in even tedious tasks. This is because we feel the world through our thoughts and emotions.
We live in a virtual reality of our own making.
What changes is not the tedious task, but how you relate to it.
There’s no need to force. Let life live itself. Do your best, and enjoy the ride.
Just enjoy the ride.
Passionate people take a step back from time to time.
What are you trying to achieve?
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Is this what makes you come alive, or are you chasing a ghost, someone else’s idea of a good life?
Sometimes taking a step back is useful.
In the end, what this comes down to is following my excitement. I have to remind myself of that once in awhile. I have to remind myself that I can relax and enjoy myself.
I have to remind myself that there’s no rush.
18. Realistically Dreamy
Don’t ask others to tell you what’s possible.
They will often only tell you what’s probable.
That’s why following your passion, and walking your own path can be so hard. You have to learn to trust yourself, and sometimes you have to be willing to walk alone.
Many of the things you take for granted today were thought impossible by a past version of you.
I don’t know what I’m truly capable of. The good news is that I don’t have to know. I just have to take one step at a time, and trust my inner guidance.
It sounds simple when I put it like this, but those small steps are often taken on a dark road filled with distractions, fears, and people telling you to stop.
You will doubt yourself on this path. You will be uncomfortable, but that’s okay.
19. Conditionally Open-Minded
Being flexible and open-minded means different things to different people. I like to think of myself as conditionally open-minded.
If I’ve set my sails for something, I shut out everything else and start taking action. There’s no need for me to keep distracting myself with more information if I know enough to take action.
I try not to get too hung up on getting things perfect. There will always be ways to do things better, but I’m focused on moving forward. I’ll get better as I gain more experience. I don’t have to be perfect right away.
It also helps to look at if I’m getting the desired result.
To take this article as an example, am I getting my message across to you? This article isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to perhaps help you in some way. That is a great starting point.
Passionate people don’t listen to their own excuses.
I don’t take excuses seriously. Following my passion brings my fears to the surface.
There will always be a reason to not step forward, to remain comfortable.
But I’m aware that if I do that, I will suffer, because I’m not doing what my soul is calling me to do.
Everyone has excuses. Everyone has reasons for not doing that they feel called to do.
Once you realize that your excuses don’t have to stop you, well, life becomes a lot more interesting.
That’s that for this article.
If you want to dive deeper into finding and following your passion, I recommend you check out my free article series on passion here.
I also have two books you may want to check out. They are:
- Do What You Love: Essays on Uncovering Your Path in Life
- Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself
Have a fantastic day!