Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Inspired Living: Doing What You Love

I’ve been thinking that one of the keys to finding your inspiration or dream is to find an activity that pulls you in instead of pushing you. You know, the type of activity that you enjoy for the pure joy of it, where you feel drawn towards it, not where you have to push yourself to do it. I believe that if you can find this type of inspiring activity that you love, you are on your way. If you’re lucky enough to find this type of activity that deeply inspires you, then the next key is to figure out how to make a living doing it.

I differentiate between inspired activities and other activities you don’t inherently enjoy, but do for some other purpose. So if what I just said didn’t make sense…

Inspired activities are those you do because you love the activity itself and enjoy the process. Also called want-to activities.

Uninspired activities are those you would rather not do, but do for some secondary benefit or to avoid a negative outcome. Also called have-to activities.

When we are young, we are allowed to mostly do inspired activities – we can play and do what we want, when we want, for the most part. We don’t do anything for a secondary benefit; we do everything because we enjoy it. And when the joy stops, we stop doing it and move on to something else.

But when we start 1st grade, things change. Then we’re told we must do uninspired activities whether we want to or not. When we protest, we’re either told that something bad will happen if we don’t do them (e.g. we’ll get in trouble) and fear is used as the motivator. Or we’re told that even though we don’t want to do the activity now, we should because in the future we’ll get some kind of benefit (e.g. if we do our homework, we’ll get good grades and a good job).

After a while, we start doing inspired activities less and less, and uninspired activities more and more. Soon we have completely lost touch with inspired activities and our lives are consumed by uninspired activities.

Additionally, inspired activities have no specific future goal; you do them because you enjoy them, and the process itself is the reward. You’re fully immersed in the present moment of the activity. You’re not trying to get anywhere, but when you look back, you see you’ve made progress towards something – though you’re not sure what. All you know is that you really love this activity and don’t want to stop. You enjoy the process itself and feel fully alive when you do this activity.

Uninspired activities, conversely, are always centered on some future outcome. You’re not present, just thinking about some future moment when you’ll either get a benefit or avoid something undesirable. When we live life this way, focused on the imaginary future, we lose sight of the magical present moment – the only true reality. We get out of sync with life. These types of activities also tend to drain us rather than energize us.

But the reality is that the future is just a thought, the past just a memory. The only true life and reality is right now, in this moment. So when we find inspired activities that deeply inspire us, and can make a living doing them, we tend to feel most alive and that we’ve found our rightful place in the world.