Stop searching and be happy

I have been following the advice on the Live Your Legend website for many months now, and I recently “completed” their 21 Days to Discover Your Passion course. I say “completed” as I think I failed on 3 of their steps and I still endeavour to complete these.

So did I find my passion? I don’t think so. I don’t feel passionate about the course to take in my life.

Recently I have watched three TED talks which are relevant to this. The first is by Terri Trespicio and is entitled Stop searching for your passion.

In this video Trespicio argues that, for some people looking for their passion is preventing them from living their life. If you don’t know what your passion is, that doesn’t matter. Go out and live life. Don’t live your life through your passion. Discover your passion through living your life. Your can be passionate about many things. Or nothing. But don’t worry yourself into indecision and inactivity because you think you haven’t found that one thing. Anyway, that one thing might change.

My response to this is: I have been living my life and my passion has changed. I just wished, now, at this point, I had a clearer direction of where I should go. I suppose the answer from Trespicio and others is to just choose a direction and decide later.

Perhaps a quote about self-help from the talk show host Graham Norton is appropriate here: “The time you spent preparing yourself for the challenges of living are big chunks of life you will never get back”.

Still, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time. Being in a job I disliked was wasting my time.

The second TED talk is from Nic Marks and is entitled The Happy Planet Index. In it the statistician talks about what makes us happy. Which countries seem to be doing it right (the answer is Latin America, specifically Costa Rica). And what makes us happy.

It is this last point I want to repeat here. He says that five positive actions can you do to improve well-being in your life, five things that you should do every day to be happier are these:

  • Connect – your social relationships are the most important
  • Be active
  • Take notice – be mindful of yourself and your surroundings
  • Keep learning – be curious
  • Give

While following the Live Your Legend program I have definitely done more of all of these points. Connect – I have joined many Meetup groups and generally become more social. I’ve even spoken with family in Australia more. Be active – I have started doing exercise regularly. Take notice – this is something I think I’ve always done. But more recently I have started meditation. Keep learning – I needed no encouragement to do this. I do this all the time. Give – I have volunteered to help people, and I intend to do this more.

I find it interesting that these are also points that are emphasised by the Live Your Legend program. Possibly the way to find your passion is to do the things that make you happy. Not in an hedonistic way. But happier is a way that positively affects your mental health.

In a related TED talk, The surprising science of happiness, Dan Gilbert shows us that happiness come not from freedom (i.e. infinite choice), but from being present and enjoying our current situation. He shows that we have the capacity to manufacture our own happiness and that by giving ourselves too much choice our worries become more not less.

The lesson to be taken from all of this? Stop worrying, stop searching, live life, be a good person and you will be happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *