The Absolute Importance of Following Passions

One of the most difficult blocks in my path to happiness is not letting myself do what I really want to in life with absolute confidence that it’s OK to do it.

Take writing about happiness for example! I know lots of people that think only certified Zen Masters or gurus have the right to hold forth on how to live a happier life, and sometimes one of their voices pops up in my head, saying, “you ought to be careful, who are you to write about this stuff? You’re not a Spiritual Teacher you know”…

And so enters the great foe, doubt, and I wonder if I’m doing the right thing and nothing flows. My passion is blocked.

How often this happens! The voice of the “other” pops up and stops me from doing what my heart really wants to do.

But I know that it is essential to my overall health to follow my passions, otherwise they get blocked. I feel it as big build up of energy at chest level, just about, funnily enough, where the heart is.

The head – by worrying about what others might think, or if something is the ‘right idea’ – blocks the heart, I get stuck, the energy that I have stays in the chest, builds up, and eventually, boom, I explode or fall into a deep depression.

All because I didn’t give myself permission to do what I know deep inside I want to. Follow my passions!

So what I keep telling myself is, if I feel passionate about something, then it’s the right thing to do. And that’s that. When doubt sets in, it’s because I’m letting other people in on the plan who don’t belong there – society, that says what I’m doing isn’t serious enough, a parental piece of advice from years ago that says ‘are you sure you are doing the right thing?’… or, ‘but you’ve got to be responsible, haven’t you?’

What do they know! What do any of us know about what the right thing to do is?

So Adios to the doubting voices, we all have permission to do whatever we want, because blocking passions, or taking the sensible route instead, means blocking something inside that needs to get out, something that may well just do an awful lot of good in the world, and make us a lot happier too!

Proof:

7 years ago, I got passionate about a new technology called podcasting. I spent hours making my own podcasts and started sharing them with the world, and eventually by twists and turns this led to a business with my wife called Notes in Spanish that has given us huge amounts of freedom and well-being and made thousands of Spanish learners happy. I started podcasting because it was so interesting I couldn’t not do it. (I wonder if that’s a key? A passion being the thing you can’t NOT do…)

In Summary:

1. I have absolute permission to follow my passions, because the only permission I need is my own.

2. Not following my passions leads to a block in the flow of energy in my life and my body, and that is unhealthy.

3. At all times I am aware of my responsibilities, namely as a husband and father. One of those responsibilities is to be healthy and happy, by undoing blocks and letting things flow.

4. If I make a mistake as a result of following my passions, it doesn’t matter, as I can only learn something valuable from it. So there are no mistakes.

5. Taking this all into account, it’s OK, in fact essential, to follow my passions.

———–

If all this sounds like someone trying to convince themselves that something is OK, then yes! It is! I’ve been feeling that blocked-ness again recently, and here I am, thinking out loud, telling myself that it’s OK – now with the risks seemingly increased as a dad and husband – to give free riegn to my interests and passions again. It’s all based on experience of blocks and flows from the past 15 years, so I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track. If you read this, I’d love to hear what you think. Have a wonderful day!

4 thoughts on “The Absolute Importance of Following Passions”

  1. Ben, thank you for reminder to follow our hearts, follow our bliss, follow our passion. It’s also a good reminder not to judge other people when they are following a passion that I can’t comprehend.

    1. That’s a good point Wynette – I’m constantly reminded of the idea ‘what is right? who is right?’ – and that even if I don’t agree with something someone says, that it’s still true for them, and I have to respect that!

  2. This process of passion blocking, build-up, and eventual release has largely defined my path in life so far. Something I’ve not yet managed to figure out though – how to integrate the things I’m passionate about with the need to make money. As soon as I add dollars and cents into the equation, the passion dries up. For instance, I love to play music, but just purely for the sake of playing. Times when I’ve tried to commodify the music (by touring with a band and trying to sell records, or by giving music lessons), I’ve lost touch with the flow. And so it goes… I’ve felt passionate about many other things too over the past twenty years or so, but so far I have not created my “Notes in Spanish” scenario. Still searching…

  3. Hi Bob – I had this problem with photography in the past – It was my passion, then I tried to become a pro photographer, and it ruined it. As soon as I stopped trying to make money out of it, I started enjoying it again!

    I’m not totally sure what was different about Notes in Spanish – perhaps it just happened to seem easy at the time to ‘monetise’ what we were doing for fun. People wanted an extra service, the transcripts of our podcasts in Spanish, so we said, ‘OK, but if you are happy to pay something for them in return, then we’ll make the effort to add transcripts and exercises to the audio’ – and it worked out.

    But certainly there is a danger of trying to turn all passions into money-makers. Certainly one has to follow them no matter what though, or they get stuck inside!

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