Dark eyes pierce my soul.
Then the words cut through the silence like a well-aimed whip:
“No matter what happens today, you’re going to touch people’s lives and leave them better than you found them. No matter what happens, remember you were put on this earth to make a difference.”
The man holds my gaze and continues with greater urgency, “THIS is the day you’re going to claim your life with EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT! Every single moment today, you’re going to realize how good it is to be alive, and every person you come across will feel that as powerfully as you do!”
A fire flares up in my bones as the words sink in. The man looking at me isn’t some tired and disillusioned stranger. He believes so strongly in what he says that an invisible energy seems to ripple through the air. His intense stare reflects the passionate yearning for life that I feel deeply in my heart.
Knowing this, the man smiles. He leans forward, eager to renew his outburst and coax the inner flame he’s ignited into a blaze.
That man looking back at me is me. It’s me indulging in my ritual mirror talk.
People always ask me how I manage to be this passionate and full of energy, when they constantly feel like zombies dragging their feet through the mud. Some even look at me incredulously when I say I genuinely love life.
It’s not like my life has been a breeze. There’s been ups and downs, struggles with money, and dreams thrown in the gutter just like everyone else. I’ve wrestled with myself as much as the next man. Yet, through it all, an irresistible zest for life keeps bobbing to the forefront.
You’re Born with It
Some people think that I was naturally born this way and they weren’t. Well, I am naturally this passionate, but so are they. Children are born with an innate curiosity and hunger for life. Passion is a natural state we can access right now. In fact, it’s so natural that I didn’t consciously realize I was passionate until people kept asking why I was so enthusiastic. Then it became a “thing”, like it was some kind of genetic mutation that the select few are gifted with.
How could they not see the passion within themselves? Why was passion like a mythical creature that led them on a wild goose chase? This was as much a riddle to me, as my constant love of life was to them, so perhaps it’s fitting that we tackle this issue together.
The Big Question
Here’s an important question we need to ask ourselves if we want to feel passionate in life…..
How do you make plain ol’ chicken taste good? (Or tofu if you’re vegan)
I’m playing, but I’m not. If you haven’t worked it out already, you make chicken taste good by seasoning it right?? The same goes for your everyday activities. When you’re buying your groceries, waiting in line, ordering food at a restaurant, etc., do you just go on autopilot? Are you even conscious of what you’re doing?
Season Your Moments
Every now and then, ask yourself: How can I make the experiences I’ve got a little more special? Season your moments with a kind word to someone who crosses your path. Enhance your everyday experiences with a little extra care and compassion. When you smile at the person waiting next to you in line, or give a compliment to the cashier, or throw in a sentence of encouragement in an email, you’re transforming a mundane situation into a feel-good experience. You’re resourcefully using what you’ve got to create the passionate life you want, and you’re making someone else’s day a bit better in the process.
One tip I always give my clients is to smile at five people they come across as they go about their day. This is Passion 101, but most of them brush this off and doubt that a small thing like that can change their lives. It works precisely because it’s small, manageable and doesn’t require a lot of effort, yet it changes the dynamics of a moment completely.
People get concerned because doing the little things doesn’t feel like enough. They feel inadequate when the whole enchilada doesn’t happen at once. They freak out when they don’t know what their passion is. They freak out even more when they know exactly what it is, but their dreams seem like an oasis in the desert—they can see it, but they’re dying of thirst trying to get there. If you wait for your dream job or house to manifest before you feel passionate, you’re going to be miserable in the meantime.
Everything grand starts small, so bring your focus back to your habitual, vanilla moments and put a cherry on top of what you’ve already got! When you add your very own special sauce or well-meaning gesture into your daily tasks, finding your passion won’t feel like climbing Mt. Everest.
You’ll begin to realize that feeling passionate isn’t rocket science or a moon landing that requires years of study and extreme risks. Passion is the treasure inside of you that you decide to share, no matter what.
If your moments seem deprived of joy, it’s up to you to reach in deep and hand out some gold. Everyone’s got a smile. Everyone can spare a pinch of kindness towards others (or oneself) as you go about your daily business. In life, you always get what you give, so it might be worth your salt to give each moment your all.
Keep seasoning your chicken! Dive deeper into what passion means to you.
© Jamin Olivencia