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Get to grips with your passions

Time is precious - you only have so much of it, and you never get back time that you lose, or waste. So, wasting time on things that don't put a smile on your face - things that you aren't passionate about - is something you want to avoid, if you can.

Now, I'm a realist. I get it. There will always be times when you have to do things you'd rather not do. Life simply doesn't work in a way where you always get to do only the things you enjoy. But you need to keep those times to a minimum.

You see, when you spend your time doing things you enjoy, you feel happier, more fulfilled and more positive about your life. But, when you spend time doing things you don't enjoy (especially when you have chosen, or allowed yourself to be persuaded, to do those things), you generally feel the exact opposite - miserable, unfulfilled and negative about your life. And, when you feel miserable, unfulfilled and negative, you move away from your adventure of becoming your best self and living your best life.

But, when it comes to what you enjoy, all is not always what it may at first appear. Not everything you think you enjoy doing is necessarily something you actually enjoy doing. So, as you think about where your passions lie, you need to exercise a little caution.

Most people, and, if you're honest, you are probably no exception, find themselves doing things that they try really hard to convince themselves they enjoy but, deep down, would really prefer not to do at all. And, while it can sometimes be good to try and make the best of a bad situation, there is a risk that, the more you do that, the more you begin to believe that you actually enjoy those things, and end up doing them more. Which eventually leaves you feeling drained, disheartened and miserable.

So, you absolutely need to get to grips with where your passions lie - to know those things that you really enjoy, and those things you try to convince yourself you enjoy, but really don't.

But how do you do that?

Well, what if you could spend your time any way you wanted, without fear of feeling guilty or ashamed, or of other people ridiculing, teasing, or accusing you? If you could do that, what would you spend your time doing? Honestly. You see, the things you would do when no-one could judge, ridicule or accuse you, are likely to be things that you really do enjoy.

Is that all there is to it?

The short answer to that question is 'No'. You see, here's the thing: what you enjoy doing right now is limited by the things you have already experienced, and the opportunities you have already had, in your life. What if there were things out there that you might enjoy, but that you've never thought about trying, or didn't even realise existed?

Well, guess what? There are. And you can discover them, if you want to, and are prepared to put in a bit of effort. And you discover what those things are by figuring out why you enjoy the things you do. You see, when you know why you enjoy doing something - what it is about that thing that puts a smile on your face, or gets you excited, or makes you feel good - you'll find new opportunities and activities, that may also make you feel good and put a smile on your face - things you may never have thought about before.

Finally, shine a light on the negative.

But, understanding why you enjoy something doesn't only help you to expand your horizons - it can also help you to root out those things that you don't enjoy. It can uncover those things you merely believe you enjoy, or have convinced yourself that you enjoy. And, as you reveal those things, you can begin to take action to get rid of them from your life.

So, alongside exploring the things you enjoy, and why you enjoy them, you should also spend time asking yourself what you would avoid doing, if you could, and why that is. You see, if you don't know what you don't enjoy, you may find yourself in situations you'd rather not be in, with people you'd rather not be with, doing things that you'd really rather not do. But, when you know what you don't enjoy doing, and why that is, you can be on the look out for those things. And, when you find yourself faced with one of those situations, or people, or activities, you can take steps to avoid them.

But this is no one-off exercise.

Figuring out what you do and don't enjoy, and why you do or don't enjoy those things, should not be something you do once in a quiet moment, and then forget about. This is something that you should be doing on an on-going basis.

Every time you have a new experience, you should take some time to think about how it fits in with the things that you do and don't enjoy, and ask yourself whether you should seize it and run with it, or say 'Thank you, but no thank you', and walk away.

The bottom line is this: when you know what you enjoy, and focus your time and effort on doing those things and, as far as possible, avoid doing things you don't enjoy, you take a huge step towards stepping into the person you truly are and towards living your real life. And, after all, that's the end-goal here, right?

So, this week, start the process of getting to grips with what it is that puts a smile on your face, and what it is that wipes that smile right off your face. And then figure out ways to focus on the positives, and rid yourself of the negatives.

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