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.
This is not a thrill-seeking excitement, but a resonance within, a magnetic pull toward something.
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”.
The terms above are nothing other than noticing what resonates within you.
There can be fear, but you take tiny steps forward anyway, because when you do, you discover that the fears aren’t based in reality.
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.
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.
Living your passion doesn’t make life’s problems go away. It doesn’t eliminate suffering, pain, or unwanted emotions.
This is not about avoiding anything, but embracing everything.
It’s the courage to follow what resonates even though you’re afraid, and it’s the courage to be present with whatever is happening within you.
If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that results rarely come fast. Following your passion doesn’t just happen.
Determination means you stay focused. It doesn’t mean you force results. You bring yourself back on track and keep taking tiny steps toward what resonates.
It’s similar to meditation in that you notice when you get caught up in thoughts, and you bring attention back to the breath, or this moment.
I have no idea if I’m on the right track. I don’t know if I’m going somewhere.
All that matters is that I follow the breadcrumbs of resonance as best as I can.
And it’s not even me following them. Life seems to be living itself through this body/mind.
Even when things go against you, you don’t know if those adversities turn out to be blessings in disguise.
Difficult times are often where we learn the most. Going through them isn’t fun, but looking back, we are often grateful.
So take a step back and see how little you know.
The mind doesn’t like to acknowledge that, but there are a multitude of conditions and causes that we have no idea about.
Look at the most significant events in your life and you will see that you didn’t have much control over them.
You don’t even have much control over the thoughts that enter your head. You know this because otherwise you would only think positive thoughts.
So relax, and enjoy the ride.
Being passionate doesn’t mean limiting yourself to one passion.
That’s an idea you’ve learned. You may be in love with learning the guitar for a year, which may turn into painting, which turns into something else.
Don’t put limits on what you’re interested in.
The reason we try to put passion in a box is because we try to control it, because we want to get somewhere.
We want success, so we try to make it happen.
There’s no figuring out this thing we call life. There’s no perfection to be had, and that’s okay.
Who are you?
What do you want?
Why do you want that?
Keep asking why until you reach the bottom. Most of the things we want come down to feeling better, such as being loved, safe, and so on.
The more honest you are with yourself, the more you can face the feelings within that you’ve been avoiding all of your life.
What are you afraid of?
You might say things like being sick, not having money, and not living up to your potential.
But what’s beneath those? What would you have to feel if those things happened?
Imagine if you felt amazing if you didn’t have money. It wouldn’t be so bad, would it? When it comes down to it, we are afraid of feeling.
When you begin to become curious about what you avoid, you see that feelings are just sensations in the body. There’s nothing dangerous about them, although thoughts would have you believe otherwise.
Notice how you feel right now. Is there restlessness, irritation, sadness, worry, or something else? See if you can feel into it, even if it’s just for a few seconds.
If you stick with this, you will eventually realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
This will lead to fearlessness and spontaneity.
There is no perfection in being human.
This is messy, and that’s okay.
There’s no formula for following your passion perfectly. There’s no formula for dealing with difficult emotions, difficult people, difficult situations, difficult everything.
And there doesn’t need to be.
Fear, joy, sadness, grief, love can all co-exist.
This article doesn’t need to be perfect. The fingers are typing. Things are happening by themselves. Life lives through me, expresses through me.
One step at a time is all that is required. Do the best you can with what you have, and stumble alot.
Here’s a video on taking action:
Meditation and mindfulness is key in learning to calm down the monkey mind.
The less you are caught up in internal stories, the more you can be present with what is, the more you can feel, and the more you can notice what feels magnetic.
I wrote a guide on how to start meditating if you’re interested.
Following your passion is about getting in touch with your body. Feel your body right now. Feet. Legs. Hips. Stomach. Chest. Arms. Chest. Head.
If anything is unpleasant, stay with that. Welcome resistance, fear, worry, story.
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.
You have what you need within you.
There’s no need to pressure yourself with how things should be. Instead, let go of any limitations. Let go of any story of what this path should look like, and enjoy what is here.
There may be thoughts that say ‘But this isn’t it. I don’t feel good,’ notice that this is an avoidance of feeling. The stories distract from a feeling in the body.
Instead of going into distraction, feel.
Passionate people work with what they have.
Acceptance doesn’t mean passivity.
Acceptance is an inner state of non-resistance.
Even resistance to acceptance can be welcomed. Let everything be. You cannot change this moment. You can have a reaction to it, but this is what is going on here right now.
Why escape this moment?
What’s the benefit?
If you come to a dead-end on your path, take a moment to accept whatever feelings come up, maybe even take a break for a day or two.
Then come back and begin experimenting.
Below is a short video that may be relevant here:
Seeing through the illusion of thinking is a milestone.
Your thoughts don’t know anything. Can they predict the future? No.
They pretend to be able to do that. It feels like every fear, worry, and anxiety is real and needs to be attended to, but they don’t.
You can watch thoughts and let them pass.
Take a day to experiment with living from your body. Let thoughts be. Thoughts may go crazy and tell you that you won’t survive, but that’s just more drama.
Practical thoughts are fine, of course, it’s the unnecessary labeling, judging, dissecting, evaluating, narration that is not only unnecessary but obstructive.
Passionate people don’t get stuck in unhelpful concepts.
This goes back to not putting yourself and your passion in a box. Let things be unbalanced. Let balance emerge naturally, if it ever does.
A pattern in my life is that 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 things stick with me for most of my life. I don’t know how or why it is like that. I don’t know how they will come together or if they ever will.
Not everything needs to make sense. Not everything will make sense.
The mind will try to make sense of things to feel like things are predictable, but there is no such thing. This can feel scary, but when you feel the fear, you’ll begin to tap into freedom.
14. Personal Power
Personal power grows when you stop being afraid of feeling and being right here, right now.
You probably have an image of what this looks like. Let that go.
Your expression of personal power will be different. Forget any ideas. Start to become familiar with the feelings you avoid the most.
This is about learning to know how you work.
It is in your deepest pain that the answers are found. And when you get there, you realize there are no answers, because that’s more thinking.
You also realize there was never a need for any answers.
This process of being radically honest with yourself unshackles you, and allows you to freely explore what makes you come alive.
“People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn’t belong to them.” – Caroline Myss
Notice all the ideas you have of how life should be lived.
You need certain things, such as success, approval, fame, certainty, security, and so on. These are all ideas. Ideas do not touch reality. They are concepts overlaid on top of life.
Happiness doesn’t mean you never feel unpleasant sensations. That’s avoidance speaking. Happiness means freedom to be with everything.
It is in this freedom that you realize that you don’t have to run away. You can be here, and from a place of equanimity, you can let life move you.
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.
Another belief might be that you can force results to happen, which you can’t.
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 feeling.
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.
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.
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 difficult. 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.
You will doubt yourself on this path. You will be uncomfortable, but that’s okay.
19. Life is Okay
Paradoxically, when life feels the most okay, that is when there is freedom to explore, because you don’t need anything to happen.
You don’t need to achieve a goal to feel okay. You realize that goals don’t bring ultimate happiness. Goals are ideas that are made into an object that needs to be achieved.
This all happens in thinking. It is an illusion.
When you see this, you may at first be hit with the recognition that this moment isn’t pleasant. That’s because you’ve been avoiding it for your whole life.
But on the other side of truly feeling everything, which can be challenging, there is more peace.
Passionate people don’t listen to their own excuses.
There can be excuses, but you don’t have to take them seriously.
When you begin following your passions, fears will rise to the surface, you will begin to doubt yourself. This is the moment to put one foot in front of the other. Tiny steps. Even if you’re afraid.
Doing this will help you notice that you don’t have to give authority to your thoughts and fears.
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.
Who said life should be a smooth ride?
That’s that for this article.
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!
Sign up to the free newsletter for exclusive articles, offers, and to make sure you never miss an update.