Your passion defines and drives you – find it

What are you passionate about? Whatever it is, do it, talk about it, grow it, share it, seek out collaboration or guidance or mentorship from one or more people who are further along than you or are already an expert.

If or when a passion fades, loses relevance, or is outgrown, consider moving on to the next one. Maybe you dabble in a hobby or interest on the side for years, or maybe you set yourself up to make a very abrupt change into a new field or interest. Whatever you choose; it’s your life and your decision… own it!


“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” is one of the top five regrets of the dying — a sentiment that hints at the fact that people wish they’d spent less time talking about the weather and more time delving into what it is that makes their heart swell.

Nothing wrong with shootin’ the you-know-what every now and then, but sitting down to talk about what makes you tick is a prime practice for feeling good about life. A study published in Psychological Science found that those who take part in more substantive conversation and less trivial chit chat experienced more feelings of satisfaction.

Follow up to yesterday’s Hopkins quote

Your perception of how other people view you is a tool that’s both very useful and useless, depending on the circumstance. It’s not always easy to understand how best to weigh the various perceptions that you are told or that you might observe about yourself.

One close friend’s words might weigh pretty heavily – as long as he/she doesn’t have vested interests at stake – compared to a complete stranger.

Four hundred complete strangers might weigh heavily *as long as* it is not about one event and one set of rumors.

One or a handful of strangers making juvenile, offhand, or baseless comments are weightless and are immediately dismissed.

Strangers or close friends or relatives offering up their pessimism or disapproval of a project/dream/goal/objective you have decided is important and worthwhile, especially if they are raising questions or doubts you’ve already considered and accounted for: probably quite weightless.

In the midst of this, what I feel shouldn’t be ignored is the reality that some surely use the quote to justify whatever behavior they want, oftentimes denying or ignoring any “consequences” for the behavior, even if in fact those effects may be both negative and significant. For instance, it’s clear that those who are the happiest and most successful make a conscious effort to avoid negative, pessimistic, and toxic people, and the result is that some are themselves the cause of their own solitude (they drive others to distance themselves).

But, as always, it’s ultimately your choice – you can do what you want, because you are the leader of your life. You decide where it goes; you decide what you become. Own every decision you make. Own your every action and behavior. Own every word that comes out of your mouth. Own the results that you get. Own it all.

Theodore Roosevelt on the topic of friendship: “If a man has a very decided character, has a strongly accentuated career, it is normally the case that he makes ardent friends and bitter enemies.”

An explanation of cause and effect

Cause and effect can be determined, but they’re not necessarily easy to find. It does require a certain amount of strength to set prejudices and egos aside, dig for answers, and then admit what is found, especially if you are worried that the answer might “make you look bad” or be something you wish weren’t true.

For reference, “karma” is a Sanskrit term commonly used to denote the entire cycle of cause and effect. What might you estimate your level of “karma” to be?

So what’s the point?

Some have trouble accounting for the long-term causes and effects *on themselves* for certain decisions they have made; consequences *for them* for certain beliefs, and also for certain things their beliefs guide them to do and say. Beliefs translate into actions or inaction. To the world at large, these consequences are almost always “dust in the wind”, but to the self they can be quite significant.

Instead of leaving things to luck and circumstance, consider accepting principal responsibility for your outcomes, and take control of your life so that you might better contribute in positive ways to yourself and to those who freely choose to associate with you. Or don’t, but be warned that you might not be happy with what you find in the end!

One man’s story how he changed habits and himself

Incredibly inspirational story, focused on weight loss, but applicable to understanding and possibly replacing one or more habits one desires to change.

Clips from the text with some paraphrasing: To get where I am today, I better understand myself and why I do what I do; I’ve identified my motivation; I’ve changed how I perceive myself and think about myself; I’ve begun to see myself as, and make decisions like, the new person I want to be; I stay focused on the present. Goals? When I reach my goals, I will have new goals to aim for….I never want to stop challenging myself in new and exciting ways. And I think that’s the best attitude one can have.

Optimism can make a huge difference

This one is a little bit longer – about 5 pages – but I think the length is not just “filler” and that it covers a very useful concept. ymmv

” ‘Which story do you prefer?’ This question turns out to matter a great deal if you are trying to figure out who grows after trauma and who gets swallowed up by it, a question that each movie addresses and that psychologists have been grappling with for years. Think back to the last time you experienced a loss, setback, or hardship. Did you respond by venting, ruminating, and dwelling on the disappointment, or did you look for a faint flash of meaning through all of the darkness — a silver lining of some sort? How quickly did you bounce back — how resilient are you?

Far from being delusional or faith-based, having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience — how quickly people recover from adversity — but it is the most important predictor of it. People who are resilient tend to be more positive and optimistic compared to less-resilient folks; they are better able to regulate their emotions; and they are able to maintain their optimism through the most trying circumstances.

For many years, psychologists, following Freud, thought that people simply needed to express their anger and anxiety — blow off some steam — to be happier. But this is wrong…. another study found that facing down adversity by venting — hitting a punching bag or being vengeful toward someone who makes you angry — actually leads to people feeling far worse, not better. Actually, doing nothing at all in response to anger was more effective than expressing the anger in these destructive ways.”

Evaluate current habits and assess if leading in a good direction

Another one of those good reminders. Here’s to living with candor, gratitude, empathy, optimism, responsibility, continuing improvement, and drive! Don’t just sit there… make it happen… take time to evaluate your current habits and assess whether or not they contribute to you being on track to becoming the person you want to be.

Follow up:

By the way, it seems that this website has a trove of useful posts, lists, and articles. This one on relationships seems right on the mark too…

You control how you view and react

“You can blame everybody for your problems in life – and you might be right – but you can’t change that. What you can change is what you think and how you react, and what power you give other people’s actions and thoughts over you.”

In yet other words, “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” – Epictetus

Things to avoid, or characteristics of those to avoid: blaming others, playing a victim, helplessly whining and carrying on about problems.

Consider instead, thinking about solutions and taking action – accepting personal responsibility – for positive change or resolution, either by how you decide to view something, or by what you will personally do (today or tomorrow) about it!

Your attitude, good and bad, is contagious

The words you choose and the way you present things, can and does impact your own attitude and the attitudes of others.

For example, it’s common to hear statements in the form of (with emphasis on the word “have”):

“I have to go to a meeting”, or “I have to create a presentation for a new client”, or “I have to go to the gym”, or “I have to interview job candidates”.

Oftentimes the implication – or simply the perceived or received message – is the lamentation that one has to DO something, or do something or a list of things that are less desirable than something else.

Now, regardless of whether you really would rather not do what you feel obligated to do (maybe you need a tooth filling!), or you are genuinely appreciative and enthusiastic to be able to make a difference and work on something important, consider that you might make yourself, as well as those you communicate with about the task, feel better and more positive about it, simply by choosing a different way to describe it.

For instance, instead of “I have to…”, one could begin “I get to…”, or “I have an opportunity to…”, etc. In other words, “I have an opportunity to present the neat stuff we can do to a new prospect (that I can’t pass up)”, or “I get to select a great person to join our company and team, which is really going to help…”, or “I’m getting a tooth filling to save my tooth!”, etc.

I think most of us want to associate with happy, positive, enthusiastic, and fulfilled people, and, again, the words we choose can indeed have an impact on the attitudes of everyone “in the room”, including ourselves. Further, it seems undeniable that our attitudes about even the small things throughout our days carry over to the “big picture”, and our *overall* outcomes, more than we might fully recognize.

Sadhguru on Fear

I found this to be a very valuable 1.5 minute video addressing fear and its potential irrationality.  Very insightful…


An unrealistic perception of life is the basis of fear.

Fear comes about from “living in your mind” rather than with life, with reality, with the here and now. Fear is always about what’s gonna happen next, meaning your fear is always about that which does not exist.

If your fear is about the non-existent, your fear is 100% imaginary. If you are suffering the non-existential, we call that insanity.

So, many people may just be at socially acceptable levels of insanity, but, if you are afraid, or you are suffering anything that which does not exist, it amounts to insanity. Isn’t that insanity?

People are always suffering, either what happened today or what may happen tomorrow, so your suffering is always about that which does not exist, simply because you are not rooted in reality. Instead, you are always rooted in your mind. Mind – one part is memory, one is imagination – both of them, in one way, are imagination, because both of them don’t exist right now. You are lost in your imagination – that’s the basis of your fear. If you were rooted in reality, there would be no fear.

No Fear in the Now

How minimalism can relate to what you care about

Caring less is not about apathy or a lack of empathy for others. Apathy is the refusal to care – it’s a sign of an absence of empathy – and that’s a ruinous habit that encourages us to disconnect with the world and be an isolated person.

Caring less, or saying that you “don’t care” about something, can be about one’s acceptance of reality and things that you cannot influence or change, and then not worrying about such things. It’s about letting the little stuff slide.

Invest your time, energy, brainpower, and resources on positive objectives that bring solutions, peace, happiness, and joy.