As a fresh college grad with a terrible diet and pack-a-day Marlboro habit, I knew it was time to get in shape. And after months of forcing myself into the gym every day, something finally changed.
I ran an entire quarter of a mile on the treadmill without stopping. Looking back now, it was such a small accomplishment, but one that filled me with confidence and the desire push myself harder.
From there, I worked my way up to a mile, then two, which then evolved into a full marathon — and then five more. At some point, running became my passion and it changed my life in several positive ways.
What’s yours? If you struggle to answer the question, it might be time to do a little soul searching and discover what you’re passionate about. Here’s why.
Your passion gives you a sense of purpose.
Maybe you’re someone’s husband or wife. Perhaps you have kids, or you’re hyper-focused on your career and kicking ass at it. All of these things are fantastic.
However, the older you get, the more you’ll notice your peers defining themselves by their relationships or what they do, not who they are. That’s an easy way to lose yourself entirely.
Having a passion affirms your values. Maybe it’s volunteering, painting, writing — hell, even playing video games. Your passion in life is a reminder of what’s most important to you outside of these other obligations. It allows you to find enjoyment in something that’s all yours, out of the control of others, and instills a deeper sense of meaning to your life beyond simply existing.
It drives you to accomplish goals.
Plenty of people live day-to-day simply going through the motions. And that’s fine, but it’s also incredibly boring.
Setting goals — and even more importantly, accomplishing them — makes life so much more enjoyable. Having a passion gives you something to strive for, whether it’s setting a new personal record in a 10k or achieving level 80 in World of Warcraft.
Not only will you feel good about yourself for reaching your goals, but you’ll be much more interesting at parties and have something to #humblebrag about on Facebook. And isn’t that, really, the ultimate goal in life?
You’ll inspire others and be more successful.
Passion is contagious. When you’re hungry, driven, and full of positive energy, it tends to rub off on others – which a great thing for everyone involved.
Richard Branson, one of the most accomplished and well-known entrepreneurs, gives a lot of credit to passion for his success. In a recent article for the Daily Monitor, he wrote, “When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.”
There are few accomplishments better than being a source of inspiration to the people around you. Except maybe becoming a wildly loved, self-made billionaire. Take it from Sir Branson, you need passion in your life.
Remember, it’s about you.
As a runner, I’ve won first place in my division and also been one of the last people to cross the finish line. I’ve logged 60 mile weeks and gone months without lacing up. Some days I feel like I could keep running forever, and others, my legs might as well be made of lead.
But I keep going, no matter my speed, age, size, or ability. Because having a passion is not about being the best; it’s about striving to a better version of yourself.