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How Passion Changes Everything

What lights you up? What puts a smile on your face or gets you enthused? Are you feeling that way today? It’s never too late to get in touch with what you’re passionate about.

That’s what thriving is all about and it’s possible in every moment. Most of us forget that, especially as we get uber-busy making a living. But that’s only one of the two paths we walk in life, the other is finding our calling (what we’re passionate about) and fully living it.

Imagine those two paths in your mind’s eye. To the left, you see a trail meandering into the wilderness, with a lopsided, battered sign swinging in the wind: SURVIVING. To the right, there’s an inviting path that beckons you into adventure, under a colorful sign, lit up with sunlight: THRIVING.

Whether it’s your job, your avocation, or a family project, what really matters is that you find a way to thrive, to love your life, and to love what you’re doing. Those two paths are always available and you’re always choosing which one to take.

Too often we allow circumstances to define our state of mind. But what we find with our clients, over and over again, is that our chosen state of mind can completely change our experience of our circumstances. In fact, a decision to tap into our passion often opens the door to new possibilities that also change the circumstances themselves.

We’re not talking about magic. . . we’re talking about the “observer effect,” a well-known phenomenon in physics and how it applies via our brain’s reticular activating system (which controls what we notice and what we pay attention to). Brain scientists indicate that we filter our experience to confirm our existing reality. By redefining our reality via a shift in our state of mind (from surviving to thriving – from one of resignation to that of possibility) we can infuse any moment with our own values and passions. When we do so, we set our subconscious mind on a treasure hunt searching for new opportunities. That’s the genius of thriving and it’s literally a choice away.

Now is the moment—there will never be a better one—to make your commitment to thriving. First, you need to pay attention to what thriving feels like (you’re lit up, enthused, passionate, determined) so you can recognize when you’re thriving and when you’re just surviving. That begins an exciting journey (which never ends, by the way!).

We like to conclude these posts with a Thriving tip drawn from our new book, Thriving, in Business and Life. This one acknowledges our tremendous potential for telling stories about our lives and making those stories come true:

“You can learn how to reverse counterproductive trends and initiate a new chapter in your personal life and organization, to access the genius of adaptability, improvisation, and your brain’s remarkable ability to make its stories real.”

Will Wilkinson and Christopher Harding

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