Time. It’s the truest form of currency that there is, simply because it’s running out.
Even with life expectancy growing, the time each of us has is incredibly limited. If we’re lucky, we each have 70–80 years on this earth to do the things that are truly important to us. For some people, they get even less.
But you already knew that. This is not what I want to write about.
Actually, I want to shine a light on the grown-up tendency to stop living our lives in pursuit of what makes us feel alive.
By the time we grow into adults, around the age of 25, most of us have somehow lost sight of the things that we truly want to do. We’ve become bogged down with the necessities of life and forget that we are creative, evolving, actualizing human beings.
I remember around the age of 25 asking myself ‘Is this it?’
At that age, I had a decent job, a group of great friends, a nice home and had travelled a little. But somehow I felt like this wasn’t quite enough for me. It seemed like everyone around me was pretty content with this sort of formula for life, but for me it somehow fell flat.
I started to realize that there was something inside me that I really wanted to do, and that was speaking. For some reason since I’d been a young teenager, I had been enamored with the desire to learn and share personal development ideas with other people.
Very often when I would share something I’d learned, people would say to me “You should be a motivational speaker.”
To which I’d just shrug my shoulders and wonder how the hell someone does that.
As my friends and I grew towards the age of 30, I started to hear a new phrase starting to come into our lexicon. It was the word ‘busy’.
Suddenly when I asked how someone was the typical answer was ‘busy’. It seemed like the act of being busy somehow had replaced the need to explain what you were doing with your life.
This puzzled me, as often when I asked what people did in their spare time, it was mostly the regular things, eating out, watching movies or sports, and socializing with people they’d known for years.
Nobody told me “I am busy working on a new goal” or “I’m pursuing this new skill.” Interesting.
I started to wonder, is ‘busy’ just a code word for living life without a sense of passion?
Then I started to look at myself and realized that I was doing the same. I was spending my time doing things that weren’t fulfilling me at a deep level. My nights were filled with video games, tv shows and waiting for life to get better.
In short, I had started to give up my inner desires to grow and actualize, just to fit into the great facade of being busy.
It wasn’t until I got divorced and found myself alone in a new environment that I started to actually contemplate what was truly important to me.
That was when speaking started to come back into the foreground of my mind. I’d always had this dream to stand on a stage and share a message of some type. I figured now was the time to do something about it. I took a risk and joined a toastmasters club, just to see if I could maybe do something with speaking. I wasn’t sure what, but I figured one early morning meeting a week wouldn’t kill me.
As soon as I started to speak in front of a group, I felt incredibly alive. It was a feeling I hadn’t had for years. I realized that this experience was what I was craving. I wanted to feel alive like this as much as possible.
A few years later, and a bigger portion of my time is now spent speaking to groups, or preparing materials to speak. It’s not yet my full time career, but I am moving closer to it every week. On top of this, my spare time is almost the complete opposite of what it was five years ago. And so is the level of passion I feel for life.
So, in true motivational speaker fashion, here are the 5 things I did that helped me start pursuing my passion and made me feel more alive.
1) Stop saying you’re busy, it’s bullshit.
If you’re prone to telling people you’re busy, I’d suggest you are avoiding truly living your best life. Just because others tell you they are busy doesn’t mean you have to tell them the same thing. Tell them instead you are really focused on your passion, building a skill, reaching a goal, whatever it is. Telling them that will start you on the path to actually doing, instead of being bullshit busy.
2) Start focusing on the things that make you feel alive.
Deep down, you have something that makes you feel alive. It might be sailing, it might be dancing, it might be helping those less fortunate. Whatever it is, you already know what makes you feel like time stops and you are in alignment with your true self.
3) Give yourself permission to do what you want.
Since starting to pursue my passion of speaking, I am astounded how few people give themselves permission to do what they want to. It’s like they’re stuck waiting till they are ‘allowed’ to be the person they want. Realize once and for all that nobody is going to tell you the time is right, or that you are ready to get started. The only person who really cares about whether you pursue your passion is you. So just start.
4) Go into your fear.
One curious thing about pursuing your passion is that very often it is terrifying for you. What you crave doing the most is actually the thing that scares the crap out of you.
I don’t know what it is about this, but if you have the desire to do something, then go into the fear.
Face the fear with curiosity and tell yourself you’re gonna at least try it. Fear is an illusion that causes us to start degenerating into an average person. You have to fight it if you have a passion you want to follow. There is no way around it. Go into the fear.
5) Commit just one morning or evening a week to your passion.
If you start pursuing your passion full time, you will freak yourself out and everyone around you will tell you that you’re nuts. Nobody becomes a writer, singer, acrobat or politician overnight. You start with the idea and then you need to take a small action.
When I started speaking just one morning each week, it triggered enough confidence to start to expand the skill, and then the time I did it started growing too. By starting small, and growing some momentum, you will soon see how much pursuing your passion makes you feel alive.
If after reading this you are still teetering on the edge, here is one final thought:
What’s the point of living if you don’t feel truly alive?
Go for it.