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How to Find Things You Love to Do

·787 words·4 mins

How to find things you love to do

When you are pursuing a big goal, you will encounter days that do not feel great. Life interferes, things break, and bad things happen that derail our progress and knock the wind out of our sails. So, how do you keep rowing? Here is a takeaway from The Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler (affiliate link).

Finding Foundations

There are two types of motivators: intrinsic and extrinsic. These are the triggers that give you a sense of pleasure when you are taking steps towards where you want to be or who you want to become. They give you dopamine in your brain, telling you to repeat that action. Extrinsic motivations are those that are external to you. They are things like more resources (money, food) and being desirable (fame, sex). These are difficult to control and have many dependencies. Once you have achieved them, their impact typically diminishes. Intrinsic motivations, on the other hand, are ones that come out of your desire to create meaningful and intentional actions. These motivators are curiosity, passion, purpose, autonomy, and mastery.

From Curiosity to Passion

Going from “that’s cool” to “Let’s Gooooo!”

These are general areas that you are curious about in your life. These are things that you find interesting. If you are struggling to identify things that you are curious about, think of a few topics that you are knowledgeable about than the average person. What might you want to take a course on or read a book about? Be very specific. Here are some examples:

  • The requirements specific to running a marathon
  • The potential for grasshoppers to be a food source
  • The mental benefits of going outdoors and exercising

Within the edges of your curiosities are areas where they may intersect with other curiosities. This is where your passions lie. With the example here, your passion can be finding a way to use grasshoppers as fuel for athletes. Combining curiosities like this amps up your drive and engagement with the topic. You will feel more drawn to it.

Explore your passions after you have identified them. Explore by intentionally reading articles, listening to podcasts, and watching videos on the subject. Explore them bit by bit each day.

Passion to Purpose

What we do has meaning to us and others

When we have a purpose, our actions not only impact ourselves but also others. Here we level up our passion into a purpose by incorporating the community component. This is the desire to do things that matter not just to you but also to other people. The sense of meaning in the things that we do is not only amplified by our own desires but also by the desires of others around us. To give it form, outline big problems that really concern you, for example: poverty, inequality, climate change, education. Then find intersections with your passions with those big problems.

Autonomy and the Path to Mastery

Make space to go with the flow

Now that you know more about what you want to do instead of looking at your phone all day, you will need to make time for it. This is essentially autonomy: the freedom to pursue what you want to do, your purpose. This will require space in your day of intentional effort. You can time block your day to create the space needed to make an incremental effort. Let those 1% progress add up.

Mastery is the desire to get better at the things you do. Here you have achieved a state of flow, where you are completely engrossed in your work. You are heads down, with complete focus, like a laser. Doing it. Until it is done. There are more things to Mastery that we will cover in another post, like what it requires and how to achieve a state of focus that multiplies your productivity.

Love What You Do

“Anywhere in time and place, where do you want to go?” - Dr. Who

In order to know where you want to go, you first need to know where you are. Here we have explored ways to identify the actions that really matter to us from The Art of Impossible (affiliate link). We went from things that we were curious about, finding things that you are passionate about, to identifying your purpose. Perhaps you have been feeling a small frustration in the back of your mind that is telling you that what you are doing is something that is meaningless, something that does not matter, or something that is haphazard. I hope this has helped you discern where you want to go, and in the end, love what you do.