Joy + passion = energy (for you and everyone around you)

Posted on February 22, 2010

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Barbara Winter wrote an interesting post on the effect people with passion have on their friends.

One of the ideas she shares is that you can choose to hang out with people with passion and energy – OR you can choose to hang out with people who are energy vampires.  People with passion about something often have a lot of energy and are willing to share (because they believe that there’s an abundance of good stuff or ideas to share).  People with a scarcity mentality fear taking the risk of sharing and so they hold tight to their ideas and their stuff.  Who would you rather hang out with?  Winter goes on to say that great achievements can flow from surrounding yourself with friends who radiate joy and excellence and service.

This made me think – you can also choose to BE a person of joy and passion – or you can be the person who sees only limitations and risk.

Think of your friends who express passion for something in their lives, whether it’s a partner, a child, a vocation, a hobby, or a new interest.  These friends often radiate energy and excitement and joy.  It’s hard not to feel get an energy boost just from engaging them in a conversation about their loves.  It’s hard not to be inspired by someone who is so excited about something that they’re driven to act with excellence. Who wouldn’t want to be near a person so full of life?

These friends radiate contagious energy – even if their passion is something unfamiliar to you.  This is because energy and passion are fundamental and universal.

Now think of a time when YOU radiated energy and excitement and joy.  What generated that spark?  Wouldn’t you like to have that enthusiasm whenever you work (or play or socialize)?  Compare that to times when you felt trapped, bored, helpless, hopeless or scared.  How would you rather spend your life?

Those moments of joy and energy are little hints about your life and your passions.  Can you figure out what about those experiences generated that energy for you?  Can you replicate those circumstances or activities?  Can you incorporate any of those activities into your current work or home or activities, even if just a little bit?  If you do, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.  And you’ll be doing the rest of us a favor, too.

Some Homework:

  1. Analyze: Identify one activity or interest that fills you with joy and energy.
  2. Commit: Set aside time – even if only a few minutes – to do it this week.
  3. Anticipate and build excitement: Plan for the event.  Tell your family and friends about your plans.
  4. Do it! Savor the activity.  Notice what about the activity made you happy and energetic.
  5. Share your experience with your friends.  Observe how your own enthusiasm affects your friends and family.
  6. Adjust your course.  Can you focus more of your time on activities that bring you joy and that generate energy?  To the extent feasible, can you eliminate or reduce your focus and time on activities that drain your energy?  Is it possible to regularly connect that joyful activity – in any way – with your current job or hobbies or family activities? Could you build a career from it?  Let your imagination run wild.

For me: I have been trying to spend less money these days.  This is hard in all the ways you might expect, and recently I have struggled with wanting to buy nice gifts for a couple of close friends’ baby showers.  I wanted to give my friends something to show how much I love them – but I didn’t have the funds to go crazy at some fancy designer baby store.  After thinking it over, I decided I would give my time rather than my money by knitting gifts.  I got a kick out of knitting the gifts – using yarn I already had on hand, taking extra care in finishing the items, then boxing and wrapping them.  I derived more pleasure from making the gifts than I have from purchasing expensive gifts in the past – and I think my friends liked receiving hand-crafted items.  It was interesting to me that something that seemed like a limitation (lack of money) actually pushed me to engage in something that made me happy.  As a result, instead of feeling bad about buying a cheap gift from some big box store, I felt joy and pride in presenting a gift that was made with care and love.  And the spirited discussion that followed when people realized I had made the items myself may have motivated some of the other guests to try knitting. 🙂

What do you think?  Have you had the experience of being with someone who was full of energy – so much energy that it actually moved you?  Have you ever BEEN that person?  Please share in the comments.  thanks, Ami

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