Volume 4: The Passion Recipe – use your biology for you not against you.
As human beings, we all have limitations. But it’s a sad fact that most people will never find out what they are. Now I say that is a sad fact because, I believe, true happiness is found along the way to finding your limitations. How can you ever realise your full potential, create the life you want, and experience the things you want to experience, and how can you ever fully know who you are unless you work out what you can and can’t do?! Have you ever consciously tackled these questions?
They are deep questions with multiple answers and can take a while to answer. What I have done with the crew in the salon is start tackling these questions. I am a full believer that when you can answer these questions, you are ever closer to finding your happiness. Below is what is called ‘The Passion Recipe’. It’s a derivative of the book, The Art Of Impossible. A book which I have taken quite a few teachings from over the last year or so. It is a step-by-step pathway to deciphering what can/will intrinsically motivate you and unlock your potential based on neuroscience, while also building unrivalled grit and perseverance as a byproduct of the motivation. I have been using this for a while and I promise you, with a little dedication and commitment, this is ridiculously effective.
The passion recipe
Step 1: MAKE A LIST
Write this list in a notebook instead of on a computer.
There’s a powerful relationship between hand motion and memory. When you are learning something new, pen and paper triumph over laptop and keyboard every time.
Start by writing a list of twenty-five things you’re curious about. Topics that, if you had the spare time, you’d read a couple of books about. Maybe you’d attend a few lectures or have a chat with an expert about it.
And be specific. ‘Football’ or ‘punk rock’ or ‘food’ is too vague to be useful. Shoot for topics like:
1. The pass-blocking mechanics required to play at the back in AFL .
2. The evolution of rock music from Elvis to Led Zeppelin.
3. The grasshoppers’ potential to become a primary human food source in the next ten years.
4. And so on…
Specificity gives your brain’s pattern recognition system the raw data needed to make connections between ideas—the more detailed, the better.
Step 2: HUNT FOR INTERSECTIONS
Now you have twenty-five very specific items on your list. Ask yourself how they intersect.
Take the examples of grasshoppers as a food source and the mechanics of playing left tackle. If you’re into pass-blocking mechanics, maybe you’re also interested in the nutritional requirements necessary to play left tackle. Insects are exceptionally high in protein—would they make good football food?
This is an awful intersection of items. Instead, look for crossover from three or four items on the list. Once you spot the overlap between multiple items, you’re getting somewhere. That’s where the energy is.
By layering curiosity on top of curiosity on top of curiosity, you are essentially stacking motivations. You’ll work harder, but you won’t notice the work. This is our internal biology doing the heavy lifting.
Step 3: PLAY IN THE INTERSECTIONS
When you’ve found the spots where curiosities overlap, play in those intersections for a bit. Devote twenty minutes a day to diving into those intersections. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read articles and books – whatever. Just get in there and feed your curiosity for a bit.
Here’s what you’re looking for in the action.
Someone interested in supply chain management, the future of health care, and the significance of widespread rollout of artificial intelligence could develop an intersection where they want to explore the advantages and disadvantages that A.I. brings to supply-chain management in the health care industry. Bingo!
Feed those curiosities little by little every day. This slow-growth strategy takes advantage of the brain’s inherent learning software.
When you advance your knowledge a little at a time, you’re giving your adaptive unconscious a chance to process that information. This process is known as “incubation.” Automatically, the brain begins looking for connections. How do bits of info you’ve learned before and bits you’re learning now overlap. Over time, you’ll see more patterns. This increases dopamine. And motivation skyrockets. Eventually, it leads to some expertise.
Expertise leads to less effort in the future.
When we play with information that we’re curious about, the brain makes natural connections. There’s no pressure. Less stress equals more learning. Let your pattern recognition system find connections between curiosities that make you more curious—this cultivates passion.
Step 4: GO PUBLIC
Real passion isn’t an overnight process. It’s not enough to just play around in the spots where multiple items on the list intersect. To really light that fire, you’re going to need a series of public successes.
Public success is nothing more than positive feedback from others. Any social reinforcement increases feel-good neurochemistry, which increases motivation. Getting positive attention makes the brain release more dopamine than we get from just passion alone. Oxytocin is also added to the equation. The combination of dopamine and oxytocin rewards “social interaction.” That creates feelings of trust and love which are necessary for survival. The feel-good nature of this reward comes around full circle. Our curiosity increases, which is the neurobiological feedback loop that forms the foundation of true passion.
Now, it’s time to make friends…walk before you run.
By taking things public, I don’t mean giving a TED Talk. Basic chats with strangers will do. Walk into your neighbourhood pub and chat up the stranger sitting next to you. Tell them about the stuff you’ve been teaching yourself.
Then do it again.
Talk to a different stranger. Tell some friends about your ideas. Join a meetup devoted to the subject. An online community. A book club.
It’s critical you do these steps in order. Skipping steps won’t work. You’re going to get excited when you start to investigate these intersections but keep it to yourself for a while. Don’t start conversations about the topic as a beginner. There’s nothing fulfilling or passion-cultivating about that. Knowing little often feels crappy. But having something valuable to say— having ideas of your own and a couple public successes built off those ideas—now you’re approaching escape velocity.
Now you have the Passion Recipe. Put it into action right away.