Why loving what you do is important

“Love what you do and do what you love. Passion is the key that opens the door to joy and abundance.” – David Cuschieri

We cannot always associate success with either wealth or fame. To live successfully, you have to make choices that help you connect with what you most desire and your cherished goals. Finding and following one’s passion is a key to success and is important to live with happiness and fulfilment. Pursuing your life with passion also makes you more self-aware and self-confident. We might have our passion, but life doesn’t always afford us opportunities to follow our passions and we struggle to find passion in what we do on a daily basis. Also, as we go through life in a busy and monotonous way, our interests and passions take a back seat and we make money and career a priority. As a result, we lose touch with things that bring us happiness and we forget to search meaning and purpose in our life. Sometimes our limiting beliefs,or unresolved emotions, or self-doubt hold us back from living our life with passion.

What is passion?

Passion means having keen enthusiasm or intense desire for something. But it is not just enough to have enthusiasm and excitement, you should be able to channel this desire and enthusiasm to achieve what you really want to. Passion is ambition that is materialised into action. At the same time, passion cannot be considered as a starting point or an end point as your passions evolve as you grow. You might lose your passion for something as your interests change. Some people may discover what their passions are early in life while some discover their interests as they go through their life experiences. In fact even for high achievers, the road to their passion wasn’t easy enough as most of them spent long time exploring different possibilities. In other words, your passion can’t be the totality of your life nor it means that you have to get set on a singular idea. But just wishing or feeling passion for things and not working towards them is not being passionate. Living to your highest potential and working towards things you wish for is what is considered as living with passion.

There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” –Nelson Mandela

Why is passion important?

Whether you are considering starting a new business or turning a hobby into a career, or working on any other dimension of your life, it is important that you pursue them with passion. You cannot give your complete attention to your work or stick with it in the long run if you are not interested. To be successful in your endeavours, passion is not the only ingredient, you also require intellect, discipline, persistence and hard work along with passion.  But at the same time, passion becomes an important ingredient as it can motivate you intrinsically.  We all need motivation in order to stay peristent in our efforts to realise our goals or to pursue our what we love.  But extrinsic motivation in the form of rewards like fame and money can only get you started, whereas passion keeps you intrinsically motivated which can lead to life-changing improvements and well-being and thus provide long-term motivation to stick to your goals. The more enthusiasm and the inner desire you have, the more inclined you will be to persist in your efforts. Passion increases your resilience quotient in the face of any obstacles or difficulties.

Most people are compelled to take up certain jobs for the need of a steady income or to fulfil their responsibilities even when they are not fully interested in those fields of work. Some might end up finding their passion in what they chose. But many continue to stay in them in order to fulfill their needs making them inherently dissatisfied in the long run giving rise to stress, boredom and discontentment. However, in such cases, if they find a way to pursue their interests in their free time, it can make them a lot more happier during the activities as well as for some time later and thus can remain less stressed even in thier regular work hours. When you feel truly driven, you naturally have the zest, energy, and enthusiasm providing you a renewed sense of meaning and accomplishment and this feeling can keep you motivated in other areas of your life as well.

Loving what you do or living with passion improves your happiness quotient giving you moments where time loses its relevance and keeps you less stressed and highly motivated. There are many factors that hold you back from living your life with meaning and passion. Here are some such reasons.

• Not having enough time to pursue your passion.

• Limiting beliefs and negative thinking.

Fear of failure or what if scenarios and self-doubt.

• Indecisiveness or lack of clarity of what you really want.

• Having unrealistic expectations.

• Focusing only on external rewards.

• Unwillingness to leave your comfort zone.

How to live with more passion

We all have a tendency to view life in a complete opposite way from how it should be–simple, interesting, happy and fulfilled. Instead, we become too hard on ourselves making our lives complicated, busy, boring, and not happy with whatever we are doing. Some might discover early in life. But for some, it gets difficult to find what they are truly passionate about. Also sometimes an overt fixation on your passion, whether by dedicating your whole life to it at the expense of all other things can lead to problems. Living your life with passion is not all about being obsessed with the goal, but finding a right balance in life, by loving what you do and being content in focusing your efforts on getting close to your ambitions and desires. Here is how to achieve living with more passion.

Gain clarity on your core values

Many of us lead our lives based on outside influences which often lead us to unhappiness and inner turmoil. By living in alignment with your values and personal strengths, you can be more aware of what really drives you. If you don’t know what makes you passionate–Gain clarity on your core values, strengths, interests, skills, motivations and talents. This can make you more decisive in channelling your efforts towards purposeful action. You can connect to your core values by asking the following questions.

• What inspires you the most?

• What are you best at?

• What do you love and desire?

• What activities allow you to be creative?

• What is your definition of success?

Stop internalising your fear of failure

Most of us are too fearful in pursuing our passions or to make necessary life changes or to turn our passion into a full time career. Fear of failure creates self-doubt which takes us away from positive momentum to live passionately. Internalising failure strengthens your self-doubt preventing you from moving forward creating what if scenarios. If fear is stopping you from pursuing your passion, take time to reflect on the real impact of that setback. Often your fears blow such situations out of proportion. Learn to embrace failure as a valuable part of success and as part of following your dreams. Also, it is not necessary that if you failed in one pursuit, there aren’t any other possibilities. There are many ways to pursue your passions if you are willing to take risks and willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Cultivate skills

Many people have innate talents and hobbies which they turn into rewarding careers, but this doesn’t mean that those without any talents cannot live passionately. Cultivating skill that can make you better at what you do can give you a leg up in your field. Improving upon some of your abilities will help you improve your job satisfaction more than initial enthusiasm ever will. The idea that you will find success only if you follow your heart may be true only if you have a passion to follow. If have no passions, cultivating skills within your current framework can be more satisfying . Getting better at things that are valuable, provides a deeper source of meaning and helps you live with contentment. Stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone to deliberately learn a skill can bring out your passionate self.

Set expectations to preempt distractions

Establishing a set of concrete goals based on your passions can prevent you from drifting off course due to various other distractions. Turn your passion into clear goals and set boundaries so that you no longer at the mercy of outside circumstances. Laying down ground rules of what is acceptable, or what you wont allow yourself to indulge in and setting goals can stop you from procrastinating especially if you are palnning on pursuing your passion in your free time or as your career. Making a mental picture of where you want to be can provide motivation to ‘zone-in’ your passions. Turn your passion into concrete goals, set clear boundaries and outline your plan of action to achieve them.

“Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.”~ Steve Pavlina

Use your free time

Not everyone has an opportunity to pursue their hobbies full time. For many, time is a constraint to pursue what they really like to do because of their busy schedules. You can use your free hours effectively to pursue some new things that interests you, or explore new activities, pursuits that help you live passionately. Making time for your passion requires simplifying some of your daily tasks and schedules. Sometimes turning your passion into an obligation can also make you find time for it. Trade your free time for your activities that you are passionate about. They could be writing, or taking a hobby class, or engaging in any activity you love. This can leave you more energized and motivated in your monotonous lifestyle.

Overcome your ‘limiting self’

“ Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” –Anonymous

To live with passion is to address your negative and limiting beliefs. Challenge your limiting self that worries about outside influences and allowing others to decide what’s best for you. Sometimes, we abandon our passions to fit in, or to follow rules or for being acceptable to others. Not following your passion because of your limiting self makes you unhappy, because you you might alwasys be comparing your situation with the ideal that is following your passion could be.  By making your decisions based on your authentic self can not only create a fulfillling life, but also makes you more self-aware, confident and more evolved.

Conclusion

What is your passion? Think about your own interesting pursuits. Things that you love to pursue. Think of what inspires you and what you have been wanting to do. Pursue things that brings true meaning and fulfilment whether it is in your work, or the job you do, or any other dimension of your life. Loving what you do can bring out the most authentic version of you, at work and in life. Follow the above strategies to create the space and time to invest in your passions. Align your passions with whatever you are doing to make your life more joyous and meaningful.

Related Links

https://sscascades.org/2019/01/05/reframe-your-limiting-beliefs/

https://sscascades.org/2018/10/08/how-to-stop-fearing-failure/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Develop a positive self-perception

“A strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success” – Dr. Joyce brothers

No matter how intelligent, attractive, or talented you may be — to the degree you doubt your worthiness you tend to sabotage your efforts in achieving your goals. Your sense of self-worth is related to your perception of yourself. Your self-perception depends on knowing who you are, what you are like, and what you are capable of. Self-perception goes beyond positive self-esteem, and also involves your shortcomings, problem areas and shapes your life by creating tendencies. Like for instance, If you feel worthy and deserving, you tend to make productive choices and if you feel unworthy and undeserving, you tend to make destructive or limiting choices. When you do your self-assessment with your perceived worth, you have self-perception problems because your emotions or misconceptions lead you to false choices and sometimes to wrong conclusions. Adjusting your self-perception can improve your circumstances by changing the choices you make and the actions you take.

Self-perception problems takes many forms, such as engaging in self discriminating behaviour or undermining your health, success, or lowering your self-esteem. The moment we recognise the degree to which our problems are self-imposed, we begin to solve these problems by taking responsibility for the choices and actions that caused it. One of the most important measure you can take is to become aware of how your self-perception or self-image has shaped your existence and how you can transcend it. We each have the ability to achieve greatness. But sometimes this requires reframing your self-messaging to recognise your potential.

“You must have a positive self perception in order to transcend anything.” – Steve Maraboli

What is self-perception?

Self-perception is the personal view, or mental picture that we have of ourselves. It describes the characteristics of self, including how we think and feel, based on our physical appearance, intelligence, talents and performance. These characteristics form an internal dictionary of our strengths and weaknesses. Based on these, we tend to assign labels to our personal self and form conclusions about our image like for instance, I am intelligent…therefore I am…, or I am a failure.. therefore I believe I cannot…It is through these conclusions, our self-perception becomes either positive or negative.

How is self-perception developed?

Self-perception is mostly a product of our experiences. Factors like religion,culture, environment, friends and peers have a major influence on our self-perception. Our experience with others and world around add to our perception. Relationships and family influence what we think and feel about ourselves. The perception of our self may be a real or distorted view of who we really are. Based on this view, we develop either positive or negative self-perception. We continually take into and evaluate ourselves based on our appearance, relationship, and performance.

We all begin our life with a complete, natural sense of worth, but as we grow, we serve as our own judge, or get heavily influenced by others’ opinions and start to validate or negate how we perceive ourselves. As a result, we constantly strive to live up to societal expectations and compare ourselves to others. When we fail to measure up, we give rise to doubt, pessimism thereby eventually discouraging ourselves and end up in self-sabotaging our own efforts and talents. If your self-perception depends on external factors, it results in negative self-worth.

On the other hand, if your self-perception is based on your personal perspective, and not on societal expectations, you will have a more positive self-perception.

Importance of self-perception

Self-perception is important because how we perceive ourselves affects how we feel and think about ourselves and how we interact with others and the world around us. A positive self-perception boosts our physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. On the other hand, having wrong self-perception leads to low self-worth and you end up focusing more on your faults, weaknesses, failure and imperfections. This results in constant self-criticism and your imperfections blown out of proportion. With a positive perception, you recognise your strengths and full potential while being realistic about your limitations.

How can you develop an accurate perception of yourself

Self-perception is not permanent and keeps changing according to our experiences. Our perceptions of ourselves will never be that perfect. However many times, we fail to perceive ourselves accurately and as a result we fail at reaching our full potential and decreases our satisfaction and ability to function in certain areas of our life. If you don’t think you can go after your dreams, passions, or you’re worried you can’t change your negative behaviour, or simply you lack confidence, the problem might not be your situation, but just your perception of yourself. You can learn to develop a more positive and accurate view of yourself by challenging the distortions of your thinking. Here is how you can develop a more positive perception of yourself.

Rely on your self-awareness

First step in fixing your perception of yourself is to identify how you see yourself. Develop an awareness of who you are and your strengths and weaknesses. Answering certain questions like what defines your true self and how you see yourself will reveal a realistic perspective and you can get to know your strengths and also gives you an opportunity to work on your weaknesses. Acceptance of your weaknesses or flaws is an important step to work on them over time. Relying on your own awareness and not being influenced by others’ opinion not only gives you a greater sense of control over yourself but also a realistic view of your abilities.

Confront your thinking distortions

Your perception of yourself is primarily based on your personal feelings, emotions, and perspectives. To get an understanding of your thinking distortion’s, notice your critical voice, unhelpful thoughts and limiting beliefs. Notice your inner dialogue. Are your thoughts mostly critical or encouraging?Are your thoughts helpful or unhelpful when things go wrong? How do your thoughts tends to distort your reality? How do you label yourself? Are your labels helpful or unhelpful in achieving your goals? Are your thoughts rational? What assumptions do you tend to make about yourself? Working through these will help you confront your unhelpful, distorted thoughts, beliefs and incorrect assumptions. If you notice that you are overly critical of yourself and your thoughts are unhelpful and negative, then it’s important to work through these areas in order to overcome your negative self-perception.

Focus on positive attitudes

You don’t need to be perfect, in fact if you can learn from your mistakes and failures, and view them as learning experience, you can shift your perception from negative to positive. If you can stop judging your mistakes so harshly, you can stop yourself from falling into self-defeating cycles and from negatively engaging in negative behaviours. By focusing on your strengths, you can review your mistakes and embrace challenges to perceive yourself as more able and competent.

Don’t Rely on external validation

Allowing others to define you will allow others to shape your attitudes, perception and opinions. If you depend on external validation, you are always comparing and trying to live up to expectations of others. You alone can change your self-perception to positive based on your own representation of yourself and not on others definition of you. This can happen by accepting who you are and taking responsibility of your thoughts and choices. This enables you to have an optimistic outlook and more confidence in yourself and in your own ability.

Stop self-criticism

The desire to be perfect creates anxiety and sometimes leads to self-criticism. When you indulge in self-criticism, your inner-critic takes over thereby creating a negative perception of yourself. However constructive criticism can be helpful providing optimism and motivation. But if your self-talk is making you feel helpless and hurting your confidence, then instead of criticising yourself, choose to give yourself a honest feedback that will provide you an opportunity to improve and will help you build a positive self-image.

Follow your passions

Finally, define your personal goals and objectives. What are your strengths? What goals are you passionate about achieving? How can you live with more meaning and purpose? Following your passions and purpose will replace the negative beliefs you carry about yourself. You can add all the positive layers to form a definite and a positive image of yourself. Take credit for your accomplishments and strengthen your worthiness despite others opinion.

Conclusion

By perceiving yourself valuable, you can create your own definition of who you are. A positive self-perception is all about how you see yourself without external influences and embracing your true self. Overcoming negative self-perception requires conscious effort and consistency. Follow the above mentioned suggestions to develop a positive and a more accurate view of yourself. Acknowledge your strengths and live with innate self-worth.

What we perceive about ourselves is greatly a reflection of how we will end up living our lives.” – Stephen Richards

Related Links

https://sscascades.org/2018/08/10/harness-the-power-of-what-is/

https://sscascades.org/2018/05/23/practice-self-appreciation/

Reframe your limiting beliefs

Most of the times, we are open about our physical health, but how often do we seriously consider our mental well-being?

Many of us lead busy, often hectic lives, so it is easy to experience certain levels of stress and anxiety that have an adverse impact on our thoughts, efficiency, emotional well-being and overall health.

Thinking is basically a mental process; which helps one define, organise, plan, learn, reflect and create experiences. In-fact human beings think at the rate of 1300 to 1800 words per minute according to a study. This explains why our mind wanders even when we are listening to others. One’s mind has all kinds of fleeting thoughts passing at any particular time. Day to day stressors add on to the kind of thoughts we have and are also one of the reason of we having unpleasant and irrational thoughts that don’t serve us any purpose.

Thoughts on their own will not affect one’s destiny, but if one spends time dwelling upon the unpleasant thoughts, surely then they impact one’s life in every kind of way. The prolonged periods of unpleasant mental state can be detrimental to your mental health and hinder you from performing to your maximum potential. So a lot depends on your ability to think correctly in certain stressful situations and unexpected life situations. Correct thinking is only possible if done so consciously and on purpose. Most of the times it is your beliefs that influence how you think. When you hold on to certain beliefs that don’t serve your interest or values, they give rise to unpleasantness which in turn hurts your ability to be rational, happy and successful.

Your beliefs shape your thoughts

Your beliefs have an impact on how you think, feel and act most of the time. The emotions we feel and the behaviours that arise from emotions are due to the beliefs that we hold about ourselves, people and environment around. Our beliefs shape our interpretations and how we evaluate certain situations and occasionally, due to certain limited beliefs we hold of ourselves, our thoughts can be distorted, biased, or negative thereby giving rise to irrational thought patterns and negative moods.

Because of such irrational thought patterns, we interpret the facts through a distorted perspective and create the impression that imaginary scenarios represent actual facts. If you hold onto negative beliefs, you tend to worry about things that are unlikely to happen. Such biased thinking affects your communication with others, your emotional/ mental well-being as well as your perceptions. Inability to perceive reality accurately leads to errors in your thinking and causes cognitive bias. These biases make you think in a very exaggerated and irrational ways, causing fear, anxiety, and insecurity. Because one’s thinking is so firmly associated with one’s beliefs, it’s not easy to change one’s thinking pattern unless you put in the required work to reframe your limited beliefs.

So, how do you deal with your irrational thinking?

Our minds constantly create narratives as they are pattern making machines. We always like to process facts through our minds and build association that seem to have a logic or rationale behind them. In doing so, we become victims of certain beliefs that aren’t logical, rational, or accurate representation of facts. This is one of the reason why we think in an exaggerated and irrational way about ourselves at times by giving into our negative beliefs. In some ways, our brains get wired to make these errors every now and then making ‘distorted’ or ‘faulty’ thinking patterns.

It is possible to modify your irrational thought patterns by being able to recognise what you are perceiving, assuming, and expecting. Being aware of your irrational thoughts and learning to reframe or restructure them with rational thoughts can be helpful especially when you are in situations that cause anxiety or depression or stress. It is important to learn that situations are not always the cause of our irrational thinking, but it is the way we perceive and interpret the situations. Interpreting the relevant facts of the situation effectively to come to rational conclusions can help in eliminating some of your false assumptions about yourself.

By restructuring your thoughts and reframing the way you interpret a situation, you can deal with your irrational thoughts and slowly make progress towards rational thoughts that are more empowering.

How to reframe your irrational thoughts and limiting beliefs ?

The essential idea behind reframing is that a point of view depends on the frame it is viewed in. When the frame is shifted, the meaning changes and thinking and behaviour change along with it. Cognitive restructuring or reframing helps in observing, identifying and modifying irrational thoughts to rational thoughts and negative mental patterns to positive ones. By reframing, you can think constructively and can practice accurate thinking. You can reframe your limited beliefs to new beliefs that better serves you and your goals. Constructive reframing also helps in overcoming certain mood disorders, anxiety, stress or depression. It is about reorganising thoughts, ideas, awarenesses into correct perspective and putting them into practice. Here are some ways to practice cognitive reframing of your limited beliefs.

Familiarise yourself with cognitive errors

When you learn to familiarise yourself with certain errors in your thinking and cognitive biases, you can challenge your limiting beliefs and eliminate negative thoughts. Here are some examples of cognitive errors which leads to irrational thinking.

• Downplaying the importance of a positive thought or emotion or event thereby magnifying the negatives like “useless”, “ failure”, or “inadequate.”

• Drawing conclusions when there is little or no evidence or on the basis of perceptions and not on real facts.

• “Making mountain of a molehill” Blowing things out of proportion.

• Using words like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘everyone’, ‘all’, ‘nobody’, etc.,

• Emotional reasoning – concluding that your emotional reaction proves something true, regardless of the observed facts.

Perfectionism – Thinking that you always have to be perfect, sating “should”, or “ must.”

• Thinking there are only two possibilities, when there may be other alternatives you haven’t considered.

Overgeneralisation – making conclusions based on a single event.

• Attributing personal responsibility for events which aren’t under your control.

• Thinking in extremes like “black-and-white” or “all-or-nothing thinking” (all good or all bad with no middle ground)

Practice noticing when you have these distortions in your thinking and ask yourself what other ways you could think. By being aware of these errors and reframing them can help you overcome your limited beliefs.

Challenge your irrational thoughts

Identify the thoughts that are of wrong perceptions and assumptions. Sometimes emotions make it difficult for you to think logically. The beliefs that we hold change how we manage our day-to-day experiences. Examine what are your negative beliefs and which emotions are involved and question how valid they really are. By questioning your negative beliefs and looking for alternatives, you can replace thoughts led by fear with realistic and positive thoughts. Replace obstructive and limiting thoughts with positive and empowering thoughts.

Track the accuracy of a thought

Analyse what the pros and cons of your limiting thoughts and beliefs. Evaluate the evidence for or against your irrational thought. Examine the validity of irrational thoughts and beliefs by asking critical thinking questions like what’s the worst possible and what’s the best possible thing of that thought. Once you narrow down to your irrational belief, you can think of a way to reframe it into more accurate and positive belief. Do not make up super unrealistic beliefs, instead find more positive way to frame a belief without deluding the facts of the situation.

Apply alternative views

There are always multiple perspectives to any given situation or circumstance. When you restructure your beliefs, you can look at the same facts through a new perspective and interpret in a way that can keep you motivated. By changing your perspective, you can make out your previous thinking errors and can transform them into rational thoughts. This way, you can discover the best way to view a situation so that it brings out your best possible self.

Avoid using extreme language

Often while expressing a negative belief or thought, we use exaggerated words like “never”, or “always”, or “very” and we end up identifying with negativity in ourselves too strongly. Instead, you can replace them with “sometimes”, or “at times”, or a “little”. This way you can downplay the negativity by how you speak about these negative traits by describing them in less intense ways. This way you can leave more room for positivity, improvement, and change. Reframe the way you describe your experiences and memories.

Develop mindful awareness

Simple meditation practice can develop your awareness of negative and irrational thoughts. Focusing your attention on your breath allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind. Whenever you notice any irrational thought popping, gently bring your attention back to experiencing the sensation of your breathing. Meditation is a great way to train yourself to be mindful of irrational thoughts and beliefs.

Finally, set your own direction and evaluate your progress. There are many ways to reframe any particular situation. And the way you would want to reframe a situation depends on your current goals, values, decisions and choices you make.

Conclusion

Cognitive reframing of your negative beliefs is extremely effective if used properly and consistently. It can help you overcome your limiting beliefs to become happy and successful. Reframing your limiting beliefs takes time and effort to master, but once mastered, you can keep repeating this positive thinking pattern for better results that add value to your goals. Take time to learn how to change your thinking for better and go beyond your limited beliefs and preconceived assumptions. Always remember constructive thinking is a process, one gets better with practice and experience.