Thought of the Day: Finding Your Passion

Finding Your Passion

Happy Sunday Everyone! 🙂

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, as usual, Sunday on the Pineapple Chicken Blog is a long read on what has been on my mind as I continue my search for positivity. This week’s post is inspired by my boyfriend, though he has not blogged recently, behind the scenes he has been working really hard working on his trading strategy, and a business plan, on top of his day job. He is a doer: when he has his mind set on something it becomes all-consuming (which can be a positive and negative thing). I can feel his neurons firing away. For me, this feels like true passion which is very inspiring.

I realised that I have not felt like this in a long time. I feel like I have no true passion. This might explain the slight undertones of melancholy I have been experiencing over the past few months. I love learning and always in search of the next thing that I can work on or become better at. I mentioned to my boyfriend I felt like I have stalled. Recently, I feel like I have lost a bit of passion, or I was not sure what my passion was…. Do I have one? What is passion? These were all big questions, and honestly, it floored me.

With deeper searching and inward reflection, one potential cause for my little funk might relate to my job where I am now very “comfortable” and I am not sure what the next steps are and how I want to grow. Do I even want to stay in my industry? Or it might be something completely different entirely and I have not stepped outside my comfort zone to explore/discover? Or am I not being grateful for what I have and always in this constant search for something new and shiny?

As any girlfriend would, I relayed my concerns to my boyfriend and his usual supportive self, asked me the following:

  • What do you mean you have “stalled”?
  • Are you sure that you have even started, let alone “stalled”? (ouch!)
  • Is it because you do not have the headspace to think about it? Do I need to give you space?
  • With regards to your job, no one can tell you how to develop your own role/next steps. You need to decide this for yourself, don’t rely on your manager to guide you!

These were very painful truths but I think that was a kick up the butt I needed. I realised that I have been sitting in the backseat of my own life and was waiting for “passion” to land on my lap. I have also recently discussed this with my best friend and she mentioned that when her sisters felt comfortable, they would do something drastic just to switch it up, like quitting a job. Maybe this might be something I need to do.

What is passion?

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

I associate passion with something that is exciting and positive. If you are passionate about something you would have an unlimited motivation to keep working at it. I am sure you have all heard – “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.

Being passionate sounds amazing! The burning desire to make something happen because you care about it. When was the last time you were passionate about something? Personally, I can’t really remember and I really struggled to answer this question when my boyfriend asked me. Even when I told him that I am going to write a blog about passion, he noted that it would be difficult for me since I don’t seem to have one (ouch again!).

After my trip to Chamonix and seeing my friends from my master’s degree, I remembered what passion felt like. During my time at university, this was my sole focus, my “role” was to be a student and work hard towards graduating with a good grade and developing a network of like-minded and passionate individuals. To get me out this funk, I did what every other person would do in this situation and googled “How do I find my passion”? lol!

How do I find my passion?

I was hoping that my Google Search would provide a step by step guide to finding my true passion. I was ready and prepared to do something positive about it. There were a few wishy-washy ones like this article and this one. Somewhat frustratingly a lot related to careers, I did not want to look at what I could do as a job, there were a few articles that were interesting but ultimately, I wanted to learn more about myself. There are a few quizzes out there as well, but they never are any good (for those that clicked on the link, I got: Lifelong Learning).

Unfortunately, I did not find it very inspiring, so I kept digging. The more I searched, the more I realised that there were more articles and posts like this:

I was genuinely shocked by the turn of events as I was expecting rainbows and unicorns and a lot more positivity. In the hours of research and reading for this post, there were some key messages that came up time and time again.

1. Passion is an emotion

Passion is not something that drops out of the sky as some people believe – i.e. forget the ‘Eureka!’ moment. Maybe you are the lucky few that this might happen to, but for most people, you got to work for it. It is a bit like falling in love, your dream man/woman is not just going to casually walk into your life. You need to create the opportunity, pluck up the courage to speak to the other person, engage and court etc. etc. etc. – we can all agree – dating is hard work!

You know what passion is? Passion is an emotion. It’s an emotion without an action. Passion will get you nowhere. Inner drive will get you nowhere unless you act on it. You have to act on your passion. You have to act on your inner drive. Don’t let those feelings stay inside you. You gotta know what to do with them. You gotta know how to make them work to get what you want. – Michael Jordan

2. Do Something

As mentioned above, you need to do something, how will you ever find your passion if you sit on your laurels. Dweck and Greg Walton of Stanford recently performed a study that suggests it might be time to change the way we think about our interests. Passions aren’t “found,” they argue. They’re developed.

Try spending 20 minutes each day thinking about the things that have interested you recently, or any opportunities that you have spotted. Maybe try thinking back to when you are a child, what did you care about? What did you enjoy doing – is this something you can do now as an adult? Have you done something that made you lose track of time because you enjoyed it so much? It is a journey of discovery and it is exciting!

3. Grit

Closely correlated with doing something is that once you found something you care about – you have to keep at it. For the long term, come rain or shine. You don’t necessarily have to be good at it but you need to have grit and persevere with it. Don’t give up!

When you develop competence in something you enjoy, you build more confidence to help you tackle larger challenges, and you continue to grow, which fuels more passion to repeat the process. – Ayodeji Awosika

Angela Lee Duckworth’s video is really short and engaging about grit – I highly recommend clicking the play button!

4. Read

Once you have identified something that might be of interest. Read all about it and read some more. Do your research – websites, blogs, books, anything you can get your hands on! This is because there is probably someone out there in the world that is passionate about the thing you are. Read up about it, they probably have already done a lot; so learn from their experiences, enhance your knowledge.

My Passion

As I researched for this post and talked to others about my concerns and the little funk I have been in. I realised that I have been ungrateful (I feel like this might be a future topic to write about!).

This blog is definitely a passion of mine and I had failed to recognise that. I absolutely love seeing art, travelling and researching for the Long Reads. It has been such a joyous journey and I have learnt so much during the process. Yes, there have been times where I dragged my feet and didn’t want to make the effort. There have been times when I had a creative block and didn’t have content. Nevertheless, the blog has taken me to places I have not been to before and I have learnt about myself in the process.

In Chamonix, my boyfriend told me it is time to get serious about the blog. If this is my passion then I have to work for it! I am not yet there to quit my job and become a blogger full time – though that would be super awesome, possibly in the future. However, I am going to keep up with my posting schedule and take myself out the comfort zone and bring my dearest readers (you!) more interesting content on art and positivity.

Whoop, you have made it to the end, I hope this post inspired you to go out there to find your passion (if you don’t already have one). For those, who have found their passion – keep up the great work, persevere because what you are doing is awesome!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Thought of the Day: Interdependence

Hi Everyone!

How’s it going? Since it is the weekend, you know you are in for a long read on the Pineapple Chicken Blog; so please sit back and relax with a hot drink 🙂 Today’s thought of the day is the concept of interdependence. This follows nicely from my previous blog about change and how I am trying to understand/look at my current relationship from a different perspective.

What is interdependence?

I started reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, admittedly, I have not gotten very far as I am finding it quite a difficult read, or possibly I am not in the right mindset for it? I might have to give up and try something else before going back to it. However, before I give up, I wanted to consider the concept of interdependence introduced in the book.

Covey explains that there is a Maturity Continuum which starts at

  1. Dependence – needing others to get what you want. This is the attitude of “you” – you take care of me, I need you.
  2. Independence – free from external influence and support. This is the attitude of “I”. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you.

The third and highest level in the Maturity Continuum is interdependence. … We live in an interdependent reality. Interdependence is essential for good leaders; good team players; a successful marriage or family life; in organisations. Interdependence is the attitude of “we”: we can co-operate; we can be a team; we can combine our talents. – Stephen Covey

Why is it so important yet so difficult?

I recognise that interdependence can be very difficult, it is often easy to revert back to the stage of independence because it is SO MUCH easier to manage one’s emotions and expectations; being selfish and not having to take into consideration someone’s feelings is a freedom. Regardless of how difficult it is, research shows that “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” – Robert Waldinger (see video below). Therefore, the data suggests that it definitely worth investing time into relationships. What holds me back is that is is a lot of hard work, but why is this the case?

Alfred Adler, a world-renowned philosopher and psychiatrist, stressed the need to understand individuals within their social context. He recognised that:

All Problems are Interpersonal Relationship Problems

This is definitely extreme, to say the least, but it does put the focus on the difficulty of moving up the maturity continuum. If you really think about it, what negatively impacts you the most? For me, a fight with my sister or my boyfriend has a significant impact on my positivity and wellbeing. There have been times where it is all I can focus on, regardless of how busy I am at work or have other things to do to distract me – it can be all-consuming.

Another book I started reading (and yet to finish) is The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga. This was the book that first introduced me to Adler and the theories resonated with me. For those who interested, there are bloggers who have also neatly summarised his theories.

What can I do?

I mean it is all well and good knowing that interpersonal relationships are important yet difficult. What can we do about it? What should I work on to have a happier relationship with others? I think a lot of it boils down to emotional intelligence. ( This topic is important/large enough to have its own future blog post!)

Alder states that you must separate your “life tasks” and do not get it mixed up with others. If you can’t control what other people think of you, why worry about it? For me, this seems to slip back into the concept of independence, which is at odds with what Stephen Covey encourages. Alder also believes that it is important to work on “self-worth” before being able to contribute to others.

Adler’s three pillars: Self-acceptance, confidence in others, and contribution to others reinforce each other in a positive feedback loop

I have yet to finish Stephen Covey’s book and interdependence is tackled under habits 4 to 6 out of the 7, as the first three also works on the “self” – you starting to see the loop?

  • Habit 4 – Win/Win
  • Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6 – Synergize

I am going to keep working at these habits and let you know how it goes. A great summary can be found here if you want to skip the book and straight to the key learnings.

Thank you for making it to the end. I would be interested to know whether you are familiar with Stephen Covey’s book or Alder’s theories, as always, I would love to hear from you and your experiences, so please do leave a comment below 🙂

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Thought of the Day: Reading and Wellness

reading and wellness

Hey everyone!

Happy weekend 🙂 what did you all get up to? I am currently in a cafe and blogging from Rotterdam (very cool and chic) which I can’t wait to share with you all later, once I have processed my thoughts!

Following on from Art & Wellness blog post last week, I wanted to touch upon Reading & Wellness. This is something that is very close to my heart as well. There is a lot of research and articles in this space; so I am not going to try and reinvent the wheel but thought it would be useful to share a few articles which I have found to be helpful.

Reading has personally been very positive to my wellbeing. This is also why it is one of the more important new year resolutions I want to complete and would like to encourage others to make it one of theirs.

Reading & Wellbeing

  • Reading is relaxing – I constantly struggle to find time to do everything; as for many of you, do you feel like there is always a conflict of what one wants to do and the time available to us? I have been trying to actively make time for myself (working progress), often I use it to read or visit a gallery/museum. Reading is one of the most relaxing past times and I can easily get lost in a good book and not move for hours. For those looking for a comfortable cushion, I really recommend the L shaped IKEA cushion for only £7 (not an ad, just really love this cushion!).
  • Reading is a work out for your brain/mental stimulation – keeping the brain mentally stimulated has been proven in studies to slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. I believe that keeping your brain active and stimulated would help later in life. I think it is comparable to as being physically fit would keep you better equipped for bumps and pains when one gets older. With personal experience of dementia in my family, I would wish everyone to keep their brain active so that it stays healthy and happy! My aunties always tell me that mahjong does the same thing, so whatever works for you!
  • Reading can help with depression – following nicely from the previous point, studies have found that reading can help with depression. A wonderful personal account by Raifa and I think she delivers a very important message that reading only complements professional help; it is not the magical solution for those who have a mental illness.

The sense of community that one finds in books, a companionship with the narrative voice or the characters, can help provide a friend when in need and tackle one symptom and possible cause of depression – loneliness. – Rafia Rafiq

  • Reading improves your memory – it has been found that making new memories can also help consolidate existing ones. I think this is similar to the idea of giving your brain a workout and helps you concentrate.

There are a lot of other reasons why one should read, such as more interesting conversations and better vocabulary. I hope I have persuaded that reading is amazing :)! For those who would like to read more, I found a great article on 14 ways to cultivate a lifetime reading habit! Or if you aren’t ready to read another article, there is a great TED talk on trying something new for 30 days!

Thank you for reading my blog post today and may you continue to have happy readings!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Thought of the Day: Priorities

Hi Everyone,

I spent the weekend in Porto and only managed to return to London in the early hours of Monday morning. It was an opportunity to take a much-needed recovery period, I was proud that I did not check my emails on Friday and just immersed myself in the lovely town of Porto and catch up on reading. I will write about Porto another day, once I have sorted out my photos! For now, I recommend to make a hot drink and settle in for a particularly long post 🙂

Priorities

With a lot of time to reflect during the holiday, in this post I wanted to look back on what was discussed in my life leverage post; as I have been thinking about this a lot and this is partially a response to what my boyfriend wrote in his blog.

In Life Leverage, the book asked the reader to write a priority list of 10 items. This is saved on my phone with an alert to ensure that I review it on a daily basis. It is important that the list stays relevant and up to date. I have found this process quite distressing at times because it is very difficult to put things in order. Regardless, it has proven to be a very important exercise. In the spirit of transparency and openness, my list is as follows:

  1. Health
  2. Wealth
  3. Freedom
  4. Knowledge
  5. Self Confidence
  6. Family & Close Friends
  7. Entrepreneurship
  8. Travel
  9. Creativity
  10. Communication

Having just completed Michelle Obama’s new biography – “Becoming“; she also touches upon priorities as well. For those who have not read this yet, I highly recommend this book! It was very enlightening and also empowering at the same time. This post will not give it the full attention it deserves, but look out for future posts where I would give a more thorough review and discussion.

* SPOILER ALERT* Stop here, if you have not read the book and don’t want to know more! 

Thought of the day: Life Leverage

Hi everyone 🙂

It is currently a very grey Sunday in London and I have found myself reflecting on the year (I know, it is a bit early, but helpful exercise) and what I would like to do with the Pineapple Chicken blog. Unfortunately, there has not been much content lately and I am really sorry about that.

  1. I think have been extremely lazy (which is definitely a bad trait)
  2. I am not sure on the direction of where the blog should go
  3. I have not been going to as many exhibitions as I want to because other parts of my life have steam rolled across my plans.

BUT, those are excuses, so here I go with little mini Pineapple Chicken thoughts of the day. I would love to use this platform to share all the fun I have, but also things that I deal with being a relatively young profession in London Town! This is where I would like to hear from my readers! What would you love to hear about?

Struggles

I do sometimes struggle with living in my late twenties (very close to 30 years old!) and what life would bring. Do you feel the same? I have days where I feel empowered and top of the world. Nothing would phase me. Unfortunately, they seem to be far and few between, most of the time, I feel a little aimless. Many have said that it is normal, but as a person, I function much better when I have a purpose and sense of direction.

Life Leverage

My boyfriend has introduced me to a book he was reading – Life Leverage by Rob Moore. (Not an ad) Currently, I am on Chapter 8, but it has asked some profound questions that have got me thinking.

  • What are my priorities in life?
  • What brings me joy?

I still got quite a bit more of the book to read, but if my readers find it interesting, I will give a summary of what I found was helpful!

Mentoring

I am also very lucky to have some amazing mentors at work as well. One of the directors asked me, “where do you see yourself in 10 years time?”. *wince*. Isn’t that the most daunting question ever?! Just reliving that moment in my head brings me shivers down my spine. It is such a difficult question, but I think one needs to tackle that head-on, right?

  • What motivates you?
  • What do you really love doing?

So welcome to my journey and I hope that you will join me along the way of self-discovery. Of course, we are going to take photos, eat and travel along the way; but I would love to hear from you and what things keep you thinking/awake at night!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x