motivation

The Magic In Your Head

Things Aren't What They Seem.

Even if he’s a fictional character, a certain part of us feels like Dumbledore’s a pretty smart guy. Don’t get your panties in a bunch if you’re not a Harry Pothead; I think we can all draw some wisdom from the wisest man in the wizarding world (or would that be Gandalf? Yoda? Let the argument begin!). The essence of Dumbledore’s words seems black and white, but can applying this type of thinking to your everyday routine or your five-year plan be more complicated than simply ‘doing or not doing’ things? Surely it seems so… but things are not what they appear. Let me explain…

Expecting the Expected

Start with the fact that you have to put effort into doing anything in order to accomplish a goal. Does effort not inherently mean you must try, then, Dumbledore? Nice! I think we’ve got him on the ropes. Oh, but wait… here’s the kicker. Doing or not doing things  relies on the effort you put in to those actions; however trying simply indicates you’re allowing for the possibility of failure, and maybe even expecting it. 

Consider this conversation, and think about how confident you are in the person who is trying.

“Hey, Johnny, do you think you could help me out with changing a tire on my car?”

“Yeah, I’ll try.”

Ding ding ding! This is what Dumbledore is getting at. Of course you’ll try, what kind of loon doesn’t try in one form or another when they do something? The point is, the word “try” is indicative of impending defeat, thus setting a mental precedent from the start and keeping you from going into a task, objective, state of mind, or otherwise with 100% commitment and belief that you will succeed.

Ones and Zeroes FTW

Sounds crazy, but frame of mind is equally if not more important in every single detail of an undertaking than your reliance on your body to carry out your brain’s orders. If you want, have, or are asked to do something, DO it, or DON’T do it, but don’t try to do it. Half-assery is not a good look, and Dumbledore would totally flunk you for it. That is if SNAPE didn’t kill him! Okay this got weird but you get the idea.

March to Your Own Beat, or Don't

Just Do You

Harsh, but true. Frank Zappa was one of the most legendary musicians to ever live, and his genius was the result of following his own trajectory and doing exactly what he wanted to do, regardless of what was popular or safe (musically or otherwise). He was able to live his life the way he envisioned he ought to, taking advice where he could and either using it or not. However, of the 60+ albums he produced, he hardly ever, if at all, followed the beaten path. While Frank Zappa was obviously a unique, one-of-a-kind person whose methods worked for him in his own time, his message should be taken to heart one way or another. Digest it, and either use it or don't. I’ll tell you how you can try to do both! Let me explain…

Find the Right Speed

Being caught up in work can have various effects on a person. You can become overwhelmed to a point where you have so many things on your plate that you decide to do nothing. You invent ways to avoid progress — a quick social media check, a quick snack, a quick trip to the mailbox, a quick TV show… before you know it, another day is gone with the excuse “No worries, I’ll get back on track tomorrow.” This is a scary spiral into mediocrity which you must push through and avoid. Breaks are necessary, but they’re only an option when you deserve a break in the first place. Another way being caught up in your work can impact you is when you work without stopping, in large chunks of time; you work straight through the day, putting off meals or other necessities like exercise or those all-important decompression breaks, where you, in fact, do nothing. 

Question Everything

Regardless of your work ethic, you will no doubt be told by teachers, parents, or other influences in your life about how you should live and what you should strive for. Here’s what they may forget to tell you: everyone learns, thinks, and operates at a different speed and on different fuel. What works for one may not work for another. If you’re told you need to go to X college to major in Y and become Z, take a step back. Is this what you want to do, or is it what you’re “supposed” to do? Comfort is not gauged by security and doesn’t always yield happiness. Making difficult choices reveals a side of you which in more comfortable conditions may not have been possible to see. 

Stand Up

The meat of Zappa’s quote is to not fold under the pressure of what society says you should do. It exudes confident defiance. My takeaway is you should hear and respect (most of the time) everything you're told, but in the end, you need to make your own choice. A wise person told me that I’m never smarter for not knowing something. Take information and suggestions where you can get them, but don’t ignore your own thoughts and aspirations. Make decisions based on your own feelings. If you’ve ever tried to walk in somebody else’s footsteps in the sand on a beach, it never quite fits, does it? Some sand will always fall from the edges. The same is true in life. Take influence where you find it, and use it to make your own footprints on the world.

Get a Grip On Passion

Are You Missing Something?

Did you ever wonder if there was something more to your life than what exists in your fridge or on your cell phone screen? Something other than a monotonous, scripted timeline that lays out your foreseeable future? If you have wondered this, you’re missing passion. Passion comes in many forms, and can be mistaken for something else if not measured properly. There are various ways to discover what you’re passionate about, how to determine if you’ve already found your passion, and what pitfalls can sap or even stifle your passion altogether. Let me explain…

What Passion Isn't

First, it’s important to identify what passion isn’t. Passion contributes to your life or the world in a positive way. In other words, playing that hot new video game for 18 hours in a row does not mean you’re a “passionate gamer.” It means you just wasted approximately 17 hours of your life (I know this from experience). Letting off steam and indulging in some entertainment for an hour by playing a video game is definitely not a bad thing, but when it begins to rule your life and give you nothing in return except a sweet new virtual kingdom or ten new unlocked levels, you’re losing time you could have spent looking for your passion. If you’re not a gamer, substitute any unproductive activity — binge watching Netflix, scouring the annals of Facebook, taking 100 BuzzFeed quizzes — I think you get the point.

The Answer to Your Question

So, for review, your passion is something that you can do for 18 hours in a row which contributes positively to your life or the world. Obviously, the video game example doesn’t do anything constructive for you other than make you really good at something that, unless you’re going to be one of a handful of humans on the planet who makes a decent living playing video games, is probably not the best use of your time. Passion reveals your unique skills that can be used to better your life mentally, physically and/or monetarily. I’m sure you’re wondering, “How the hell do I find my passion, then?” The answer is simpler than you think. Are you ready for it? Are you sure? Okay, you asked for it! To find your passion, you must… *drumroll*hunt.

Self-Examination

To hunt for passion, you have to consider what makes you happy. Think of something you’ve always been curious about. Maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the musicians who live in your car radio. Or, maybe you aren’t a music person, but you love the thought of building a car stereo. Maybe you’re bored by mechanical construction and despise the glam of top 40 music on the radio as well as on TV, but you really dig how life-like your video game graphics are. 

The Ultimate Reward

Whatever you find that interests you in this crazy world, which, by the way, is a treasure trove of curiosities, it’s up to you to put your foot down (or your video game controller) and try something new. Take an online class at UDemy.com without spending a dime. Ask someone you admire or respect what kind of hobbies they have. Go to a local pawn shop and strum the strings of a guitar. Hunt. You will be rewarded.