For some of us (me), the natural tendency is to say “no” to new opportunities, often because we’re timid or fear failure. This is a BIG mistake (if it is a habit). Saying “no” only reinforces that we are “failures,” hurting our self-esteem. In contrast, saying “yes” provides at least two benefits: (1) it helps us learn new skills, abilities, etc.; and, (2) it boosts our confidence to stretch ourselves more. It’s a virtuous circle, often. Besides, it makes life more fun. Even when we actually “fail” at the new. “Better to have loved and lost. . . ” To try is to love life.
Example: My dad said “yes” when he was asked to be his fraternity’s president, even though he had no leadership experience. Yada, yada, yada, he later won the first and only “Mr. Fridley” award for being one of the lead farm advisors in California. (Think “Green Acres.”)
Caveat: This isn’t a principle, just a rule of thumb. Saying “yes” to heroin would be stupid in almost all circumstances. Use your brain, check the facts, be rational (as should go without saying).
Great advice, unless you’re among the multitudes whose “passion” is not readily apparent. One’s “passion” is not an intrinsic (inborn) characteristic that requires only “letting go.” No. You must actively find and develop it.
How? By searching! Try different things, occasionally invoking the “Risky Business” mantra (“What the F_ck!”). And, don’t give up on something too easily – give it a chance. “Passion” is not a mere interest. It is an interest cultivated through growing knowledge and mastery. (This is the story of most successful careers.)
For example, my father wanted to be a cowboy from a young age. He took this interest and developed it by, e.g., learning how to ride horses, working summers as an actual cowboy driving cattle from Colorado to Texas, obtaining his degree in animal husbandry. This pursuit ultimately culminated in a career as a livestock specialist. (As a boy, he went so far as to sleep with a stick between his knees with his ankles tied together to give himself bowed knees. Not recommended!)
Note: Playing hours of video games does not count as pursuing a passion unless you are a game developer!
Whenever you find yourself rationalizing an action with, “Just a little more” or the like, STOP! It’s probably a bad idea.
Example: “I’ll windsurf in the the hot Okinawan sun just 15 more minutes.” 30 years later, I’m still paranoid of being in the sun and skin cancer. Not to mention the extra age spots and over-thin skin.