Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them. ~Confucius
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~Jim Ryun
On The Brave Discussion we have 6 values that throughout the year we always explore – Live with Passion, Build Self Esteem, Protect Our Planet, Support Community Fair Trade and Empower Women. As most of us are pondering the New Year ahead it seems relevant today to explore this thing known as ‘passion’.
When you find your true passion, you’ll have a boost of motivation to get started and change your life. Most of us notice it – usually because it naturally involves working in the flow and seems so comfortable when we find our passion. It’s not always easy but the challenges are always satisfying – it’s like you do it without ever questioning – because flow implies movement and the movement is always playing forward.
However, this motivation won’t last if you don’t turn it into habits.
We are all creatures of habits. Our human nature always looks for ways to create patterns and do things on autopilot.
Habits are what differentiate successful people from others.
The habits that you’ve developed in the LOST phase – where you used to wander aimlessly without a clear passion or purpose – won’t help you build a life of passion.
That’s why you need to develop a new set of habits to serve you in your newly passionate pursuit.
These are 10 habits of passionate people that you can start cultivating today:
1. Wake Up Early:
The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years. ~Thomas Jefferson
Passionate people are usually early risers. There is something magical in rising early, and preferably at dawn. This peaceful period before the rest of the world wake up can be the most productive period of your day. Often is can mean an extra hour of amazing productivity by just rising that little bit earlier. I know myself I cherish that quiet early space.
When I started the habit of waking up early at 5:30 am everyday, I felt like I was not living before. The amount of progress, inner peace, and joy that I experienced all the day made me regret the years in which the sun always caught me in bed! When you start the day later it always seems to be that you are spending your time’ catching up’ rather than allowing that wonderful space of reflection that rising early allows you.
2. Read Vigorously – Feed Your Mind
I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book. ~Groucho Marx
If you replace some TV time by reading a good book, you’ll be the most educated person among your friends and associates. And you’ll be a high achiever too.
There is an amazing quote attributed to Mark Twain that says, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
If you don’t like reading, you can do with audio books. You’ve to find a way to READ, there are no workarounds. And a tip – play big music to inspire your creative energy!
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann
Simplify everything is your work and life. Start by eliminating the unnecessary. Everything that has nothing to do with your passion and purpose should be eliminated. They shouldn’t occupy any space in your daily life, because they are just a waste of time, energy and money.
When you have less needs, and you learn to enjoy more with less, you’ll increase your financial independence too.
4. Slow Down
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. ~Lily Tomlin
You can never embrace a life of passion in the middle of a busy, stressful, and chaotic environment.
You must find some quiet time for yourself. Slow down and listen to your inner voice. Slow down and evaluate your progress. Slow down and maintain your focus on what matters most.
We can all think of a period when we have worked with people who always seem to be frantically ‘busy’ who idol this ‘busyness’ as a work ethic but in reality do not seem to move significantly forward. If you reflect on this, you will often find hidden within all this busyness is a lot of white noise that is counterproductive to achievement.
Making sense of a situation is not merely putting the pieces together, recognising a pattern, or building a story. Often we may struggle to figure out what the pieces are in the first place. This is particularly hard if the background has a lot of noise. For instance, it’s easy to follow a news broadcast coming from a radio in a quiet room. But turn on more than one radio and set them to different stations and it tests difficult.
Have you ever been on a train station and found it difficult to ‘hear’ the announcement for ‘the next train to depart on platform x…’ yet when you board the train the same announcement is used to indicate ‘the next station we stop at is…..’ This is because usually on the train station there is lots of noise, sounds of other trains arriving, departing, people laughing and talking – lots of white noise.
Try this: Sign your name twice on a piece of paper. Draw a single line through the first signature. That doesn’t make much of a difference in its readability, does it? Draw another line, and another. You can still probably read your signature. Now take the second signature and simply write a different name over it, perhaps that of one of your school teachers when you were at school. Compare how much harder it is to read this signature because of the way you added noise. I am defining noise as irrelevant data you need to ‘read’ when making a decision.
A noisy background contains its own cues and patterns that intersect with the ones that are relevant to you. The variety of connections opens up more and more possible ways to interpret the problem you face. When you crossed out your signature, the straight line didn’t add much noise because it didn’t contain any interesting features or patterns that had to be taken into account. But the features of the second, overlapping signature added a lot more noise, and it became hard to tell where one signature began and the other one ended.
I once worked with someone who was a master at white noise using emails. I was constantly bombarded with irrelevant data that was counter productive to productivity for this very reason. I had to read every email and digest the content but because the volume and relevance of the emails took me away from other important tasks it became difficult to focus and prioritise. The emails were distracting noise and interfered with natural work flow, recognised by workplace experts as important to ROI.
Similarly, there is a wonderful case study that I will share in another post about how the US missed detecting the Japanese intention to attack Pearl Harbour. There were strong and clear signals that an attack was imminent on December 7, 1941 but because they were surrounded by noise they became obscured. Noise is an pervasive barrier to accurate sense making.
So for those of you who have lived life as workaholics or perhaps you don’t take holidays or find it difficult to slow down and just ‘chill’ you are missing golden opportunities to make sense of important signals in your life.
To correct this, simply develop the habit of waking up early, you’ll find it easier to develop this habit. You can easily find time to breathe, reflect and meditate, to just be!
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. ~John De Paola
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. ~Plato
Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. ~Edward Stanley
Health care is very important. So many people follow their passion with great enthusiasm, but they put too much pressure on their body and ignore their overall health and well being. They think they are supposed to work really hard to fulfill their purpose and grow their passion.
These are good intentions, but you should be aware that if you don’t take care of your body, it will soon collapse and this will not serve your passion well.
Health care should be on top of your priorities to maintain a good, prosperous and passionate lifestyle. And you should enjoy it. If gym is not your gig find something that is pleasurable to you. Lorna Jane, the fitness fashion icon have introduced this year an excellent diary called 2013 – my year to Move, Nourish and Believe. It has some great tips so check it out and yes this is recommendation NOT a sponsored post.
One of the best books I’ve read on the topic of health and well-being is 8 Weeks To Optimum Health by Dr. Weil.
6. Practice Daily
The more I practice, the luckier I get. ~Jerry Barber
It has been said that luck is where preparation meets opportunity. To master your passion it requires the 10,000 hours rule. It’s what sets high achievers apart from the rest of us. I’ve written about the significance of 10,000 hour rule and mastery before.
You’ve to practice your passion daily. If you failed to do so, your passion will soon fade away and you’ll be drifted away from the right path by the busyness of life.
Talent can’t survive without or can’t compensate practice.
You don’t even need talent if you exert enough effort in practicing and sharpening your skills.
Practice and be always prepared, so that when the right opportunity presents itself, you are ready to seize it.
We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville
Surround yourself with passionate people. That’s the most important habit of all. It can accelerate your success like no other habit. I always say to anyone I am coaching – get rid of the passion killers fast. Meaning don’t allow negative rumblings get in the way of your goals and passions. You have to move forward not be dragged down.
Connecting with passionate people forms the best support system for your passion. You’ll find the good advice, the necessary push, and the continuous encouragement.
What is the point of connecting with people who are still stuck in jobs they hate and not following their passion. What are your going to get from them except discouragement and trying hard to pull you down?
I believe the level you can reach in life is directly proportional to the level where the people you hang the most with exist.
It’s been said that your net-worth is determined by your network.
8. Keep a Gratitude Journal
If you count all your assets, you always show a profit. ~Robert Quillen
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus
Gratitude is the best attitude. ~Author Unknown
This one habit does wonders. Be grateful for what you already have and at the same time aim for the better. Rest assured that when you’re clear about your purpose in life, you’ll recognize better opportunities much easier. Just be patient and grateful.
Remember, when gratitude grows up, more joy shows up.
I urge you to develop the habit of having a “Gratitude Journal”. Every night before you go to sleep, write down just one thing you’re grateful for in the day. Then expect miracles to happen!
My life purpose coaching clients who are endeavouring to master ‘their story’ experience amazing results in the first week of doing this exercise. I practice this ritual every night and even in the darkest times and we all have them, this ritual seems to help.
9. Be Prolific
Over 300 banks refused and the 303rd bank agreed to give Walt Disney a fund to build Disney Land.
Over 1000 restaurants refused and the 1010th restaurant agreed to use Colonel Sanders’s chicken recipe that changed the eating habits of the whole world with KFC.
It took him over a million images spanning 35 years, before Steve McCurry’s photo of Sharbat Gula (The Afgan Girl) was globally recognized and linked to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Mona Lisa.
134 publishers rejected Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s Chicken Soup for the Soul before it turns into a mega all-time bestseller.
Edison made 1,000 (or 10,000) unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
During his life time, Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting for a very small amount of money. Today, his over 800 known works bring in hundreds of millions.
Mozart died with little to his name. Today, his over 600 pieces of music are considered some of the best ever created!
Can you see a pattern here?
If you want to turn your passion into a worldwide sensation, you got to be prolific and never give up. Keep producing great work, and one may take the world by surprise and make you a globally recognized star. And one final work – make the word FAILURE your friend. All its means is try again another way. It is not a defining negative word, rather it’s an opportunity.
Produce more work than anyone could think humanly possible. I consider this the secret habit of champions (or legends).
10. Have a Blog
“Blogs are much more powerful than most realize. They’re a simple way to explore and share the thoughts and beliefs you’re excited about and for people to immediately see and provide feedback.” - Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend
A blog is a multimedia platform through which you can share your passion with the world in text, audio or video formats. People can come read, listen or watch you delivering your value. And if they like what you do, they will share it with their friends and the community will grow. Today bloggers are powerful influencers who often have more clout that big brands.
Blogging is also a perfect way to practice and share your passion with the world on a daily basis. It ensures a constant strong bond between you and your passion.
These 10 habits will make a huge difference for you. They form a strong foundation to build and grow your passion. Like any habit, it takes time to develop and make them work. But once they are there, you’ll be on the fast track to achieve remarkable success.
Now my question to you is this: what habit has made the biggest difference for you?