The title says it all: Find the Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights and Weekends For the Rest of Your Life.
Just find the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else, your one true passion, and do it for the rest of your life on nights and weekends when you’re exhausted and cranky and just want to go to bed.
So I thought that article was absolutely frickin’ awesome. I wanna expand a little bit more on it, and offer some Small Tweaks that I’ve found useful to do what you love while living a “normal” life.
The Exceptions, Not The Norm
The media loves to feature stories of artists and musicians and bloggers and tech entrepreneurs launching their entire lives into their one true passion. It’s romantic. It’s sexy. It’s got movie potential.
But the truth is, those stories are exceptions, not the norm.
Most people who do what they love don’t throw their entire lives into it. They’ve got jobs to work at and families to feed and mortgages to pay off.
But after working late at the office and taking a “shitty 65-minute commute” back home and gobbling down yesterday’s leftovers for dinner, they still drag themselves out to their laptops, their canvasses, their guitars… and they do what they love.
And no matter how tiring, or stressful, or frustrating their day was, they get to experience this amazing feeling of doing what they love, even if it’s just for 20 minutes before they pass out from sheer exhaustion.
What I Do After Playing Angry Birds
That’s kind of what blogging feels like sometimes.
I work at a regular job, with a 90-minute commute each way. I tend to get pretty exhausted by the time I get home. Sometimes, I kind of just lie on my couch in my work clothes surfing Facebook or playing Angry Birds for like 45 minutes, because I’m just too damn tired to get up and do anything else.
What I wish I looked like – on a good day
Then I’d remember that I scheduled myself to blog today. So I drag my ass to the shower and turn on the a/c and power on my laptop and plonk myself down and launch Microsoft Word. At first, nothing comes to mind. So I type random sentences and scribble on my notebook. 7 times out of 10, this method works. The words tend to come pretty easily after about 30-45 minutes of random writing, and eventually, another cheerfulegg.com blogpost emerges.
Sometimes, I’ll ask myself if it’s really worth the effort. Maybe I should just screw it and catch the couple of additional hours of sleep that my body so deeply craves. And sometimes, on those days when I’m particularly stressed or angry or annoyed, I give in. I go to sleep. Or watch Modern Family. Or play more rounds of Angry Birds.
But whenever I log on to cheerfulegg.com, all that effort becomes totally worth it.
So I may never win the Pulitzer Prize, but at least I get to call a tiny corner of the Internet – my little stash of 90 articles – mine. And nothing beats that feeling. If you’ve found something that you love to do too, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Three Steps To Get Started
But what if you haven’t found that one interest or activity that truly fulfills you? First, stop trying to think your way through it. You’re not going to find the answer by sitting in your room and writing “WHAT’S MY PASSION?” on a piece of paper. Try these steps instead:
1. Carry a Notebook Everywhere, Write Everything Down
Yeah, by “notebook” I mean good ol’ fashioned pen and paper. And I know this sounds corny, but hear me out. On any given day, you’re likely to come across dozens of amazing ideas without even realizing it. Maybe you have a friend who does MMA after work. Maybe you’ll think about how you want to try brewing your own beer and selling it. Maybe you’ll watch a lip-syching music video and think that you could totally film a better one. Most people will smile at the idea for a moment, and then forget about it.
But every idea has the possibility of turning into something awesome. If you write them all down, you’ll never have to let any idea go to waste.
One caveat though – your notebook has to be small so you can carry it everywhere with you. I’ve experimented with keeping larger notebooks in my briefcase, but it just didn’t work. Personally, I use a tiny, pocket-sized, girly notebook that cost me $1.20 from the pasar malam. (click the link if you don’t know what that is)
People still give me weird looks whenever I use it. But hey, it works.
2. Refine Your Ideas
Next, look through your notebook at least once a day, and identify those ideas that might be worth pursuing. I usually do this on my shitty 90-minute commute on the way home.
Honestly, don’t spend too much time on this step. People tend to get really caught up trying to figure out the “right” idea to do. There is no “right”; There is only the choice between “do” or “don’t do”. Just pick one that sounds interesting, and go with it. If it doesn’t work out, you can always move on to the next idea.
3. Schedule A Time To Try It Out
This is the most important step. Pick a slot in your calendar to try your idea out – and schedule it like you would a regular meeting. Block off all commitments. Tell your friends you can’t make it for dinner. Tell your son you’ll help him out with his art project tomorrow. For example, I keep Monday nights free for blogging. It preps my mind for it, so by the time Monday night rolls around, my brain would have already subconsciously started working on a blog post.
Next, use your allocated slot to try out that idea. Even if it’s just Googling it. Or mapping out the steps you need to take. Or talking to someone about it. Or taking a class. That first step is critical because it transforms your thoughts from a mere idea into an actual possibility.
Ideas are free. Possibilities are exciting.
The Rich Life = Doing What You Love (Even If It’s Just For 20 Minutes)
Of course, you could always just ignore what I’m saying. After all, you probably have work and family and golf and friends and kids and complaining about the government to deal with. Who has time to pursue lofty ideals like “doing what you love”?
But then again, if you can’t even find then time to do what you love – even if it’s just for 20 minutes after you’re done playing Angry Birds – then what’s the point of living?
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