Are you reading a lot of self-help books, the success stories, the dos and donts in life or some biographies of successful people in a hope to really find the one mantra to become successful? Well, did you find it yet? Did you learn and implement something in your life yet and found it to be useful. I am not talking about sleeping for 4 hrs, changing your wardrobe to only monochrome shirts, and reading certain type of books, these are all actions which one takes to optimize the chosen path.
If you are doing the above mentioned things, then you must really read on and change your perspective.
You can’t change your wardrobe and be Mark Zuckerburg or Steve Jobs or work for 120 hours a week and be Elon Musk. Have you ever noticed the one common thing in all the people you admire and look upto in life, be it in the field of business, music, dance, art, philanthropy, etc? These people didn’t become experts at what they do by eating, dressing or sitting a certain way. The one common thing among all these individuals and all the self-help and motivational books is “passion”.
You must have heard and read this a lot many times, that “if you do what you are really passionate about, then you won’t work for another day in your life”, “to be successful at anything, you must be really passionate about what you do” and then you surely must have read some 4Cs or 4Ss, a long list of dos and donts. “Don’t let the negative thoughts cross your mind”, and then you force all your energy on “DON’T think Negative” rather than focusing your thoughts on “Think Positive”.
Today I’ll tell you a secret on how I try to stay positive and my way of discovering passion.
Have you ever tried meditation? If you haven’t, close your eyes do it right now for exactly 2 mins before reading further and make sure you have NO thoughts. Your mind should be completely empty.
Done? How was it? Did you get an endless train of thoughts while trying to force them out of your mind? Was your mind keeping a track of time while you were sitting with your eyes closed?
Note: If your mind was completely empty and thoughtless, then congrats, you might have achieved Zen. Have fun!
For the rest of you, who like me were flooded with thoughts, you just understood how negative thoughts work. They are exactly like meditation, the more you try to force them out the more they’ll haunt you. So next time, don’t try to force yourself to not think negative, they are a part and parcel of our being, without these negative thoughts we’ll never be prepared for the worst and that’s the only purpose of negative thoughts, to prepare you for worst and not to demotivate you or cripple you with fear and anxiety.
Let all your negative and positive thoughts flow, don’t try to interrupt them or fight them. Being positive has nothing to do with your negative thoughts, and everything to do with your perspective towards the thoughts.
Positivity is the ability to find something inspiring in every situation. And trust me it’s not at all difficult. Understand this, for every situation there could be two outcomes, a good one (the one which you wanted) or the bad one (the one which you did not want). If the good one happens, Hurray! You get the motivation to do more, learn more. A good outcome or success, works as a validation of the choices you’ve made in the past which lead to this success. If the outcome is the bad one, then congrats, you’ve been pushed on the course of fastrack learning.
The fastest way to learn something is by failing at it, you quickly get to know what you should and should not do. While success tells you what works, failure tells you what doesn’t work, and honestly the number of “not works” are mostly more than “what works” otherwise we would have had more happy and satisfied people than unhappy and unsatisfied people. So it’s always useful to know what doesn’t work, but the trick is you have to fail fast, fail cheap and learn quickly. Now, this is very important, if you spend your time in crying over failure rather than analyzing it to the last shred and learn from it, if you sulk and blame other people or the situation for your failure rather than dusting yourself up and starting again with more knowledge than you had before your first attempt, you are accepting your failure and making peace with it.
Failure hits you with a bunch of knowledge which you did not have before, it knocks you down and if you can’t gather that knowledge and get up then you are the one failing yourself.
Whenever you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, go crazy on “why”. Everything happens for a reason, unravel the mystery behind your misery and you won’t be miserable anymore since you’ll be too busy in understanding the problem and finding a solution for it. Once your perception towards “failure” shifts, you’ll never fail, all unpleasant outcomes will become a learning phase, which you will try your best to learn from and all your energy will go in overcoming the challenge.
Positive thinking goes hand in hand with passion. Have you been anxious about leaving home and not reaching your college or office? Did the fear cripple you enough to make you not go to officeor college at all? You might have negative thoughts, like what if I die in an accident, what if there’s lot of traffic, what if I get a puncture etc etc. these thoughts do come to your mind and you take remedial actions for it by wearing seat belt or helmet, leaving on time, carrying a spare tyre etc, but all these thoughts don’t stop you from going to office, do they?
Same is with your aims and projects in real life, while pursing your dreams you’ll have negative thoughts but as I said in the beginning, they are just to prepare you for the worst and not stop you from pursuing your aim. Treat the journey towards your goals like a ride to office, there will be multiple hurdles, like a route diversion, a police inspector stopping you for a regular check, a stupid driver hitting your car with his reckless driving, but you find a solution to these problems as you go, take precautions for situations you can avoid and continue going to office regularly. The thought of not going because of the fear of not being able to reach never even crosses your mind.
Just like you never stop going to office or college, don’t stop pursing your dreams, find the best optimal path, work in that direction, use your negative thoughts to prepare yourself for the worst but keep going forward, you’ll automatically be unstoppable.
This brings me to my next point.
Can you call a dish your favorite dish without ever tasting it? Then how in the world are you planning to find your passion without ever trying anything other than what you’re doing right now?
I meet so many people who say that they want to do something else in life, but they don’t know what! I am one of them too. But the truth is, if we don’t try anything different how will we ever know what we like and what we don’t like. For me, this blog is one of those trying out things, a thought on which I’ve been dwelling on since last 3 years. I am not sure if I’ll enjoy writing systematically and continuously for a long time but I will figure it out only when I try it.
You need not be passionate about one thing; at one point of time you might like doing 5 different things and feel equally passionate about them. The trick is to keep trying, don’t give up something in the pursuit of reaching one right and good enough answer. The fog our unclarity will clear only when you move forward and not by sitting and praying for clarity.
I try to paint once a while, I suck at it, but I still try to do it whenever I want to. I travel, and only when I started travelling I realized I LOVE it. I love reading as well, this I’ve known since I learned reading complete sentences. Very recently while working at my current 10-7 job, I realized I am really passionate about identifying problems and building solutions. This realization came only after I experimented with my work at office and tried multiple things. As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”. While working and choosing these projects, I wasn’t seeing it as a “passion” per se, I was just loving what I was doing and choosing the projects which interested and challenged me the most, threw me out of my comfort zone. I was making my life miserable at that time, all in the name of trying. It was only while contemplating on the work I have done, I could see a pattern and then I could confidently say, it’s not working that excites me the most, its being able to learn something new which is like a magnet to my iron. Be it via solving problems, or travelling or doing something I have never done before.
I might find a more definite answer and direction for my passion as I live on, but for now I know I like learning and experiencing new things, so I am going to stick to that until my path gives me more clarity.
So keep trying different things. There is no right or wrong answer. If it feels right to you then do it, it’s as right and good as a scripture. If it doesn’t feel right then don’t torture yourself, move on. Only when you move on, you will find a new path and journey.
If you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, its impossible to fail at it really. Because, if you’re attacked by negative thoughts, which you definitely will there’s no escaping instead you will immediately make backups to support your plan. If there are challenges, you’ll work on solving them. Giving up is not an option for you when you really want to do something. How can you give up something you live for, something you love with every atom in your body? If you give up on something you’re living for, how will you live? It becomes your oxygen. This is what programming was for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckeburg. This is what music was for Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain and Freddie Mercury. This is what Painting was for Van Gogh and Picasso. This is what solving problems is for Elon Musk. This is what helping others was for Mother Teresa. This is what freedom was for Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
So, keep trying keep experimenting, the right answer will come to you only if you ask the right questions. Find your questions and don’t stop, ever. Just live your life, its beautiful, more than you’ll ever comprehend.
Until next time.
Let me know your views, and thanks for reading till the end. I hope it was interesting.