Finding Your "Important"
Not Passion but What's Important
Life is not about going after your passion. As I discussed in my "not passion" post, you can be passionate about a lot of thing. I am passionate about wine, but I don't want to work in the industry, or write about wine, or make wine. But I do have a passion to know it, drink it, and learn about it. That's not life. Life is about discovering what's IMPORTANT to you and then focusing on THAT.
What's important to me? LOADS!
- Being a good Mum
- Taking out the trash (don't want a smelly house)
- Being on time
All of these things are important but they don't answer the question - what should I focus on in my life. (I'm using this in terms of finding your important for yourself - if being a good Mum IS your important - Hooray, you've found it.) I did what any other self-directed learner would do... I researched to try to learn.
Finding the Important Focus
After 3 days of scouring the Internet, looking through my self-help books, doing exercises left and right, and taking more online quiz's than I care to admit, I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea what to be analyzing or looking for.
I was overwhelmed with all the psychology, all the opinions, and all the "advice". So, I decided to head to science. I took a course on the Neuroscience for Daily Life to see if I could learn how the brain works with regards to "wanting". When I learned a bit more science, I felt a bit more grounded in what I was doing and the direction I wanted to take.
My question was, how do I figure out what is IMPORTANT in my life and this is what I have to offer?
Neuroscience teaches us that the brain is always changing as we grow and learn. It relies on the use of skills (keeping those neurons active) and good blood flow to keep the brain in healthy check. The brain also changes with experience and the use of memory.
Memory is fluid, meaning that our memories constantly go through the change of being reprocessed and consolidated. Yes, we all have a brain but it is the combination of genes, environment, and experiences that makes us individuals and THIS is what makes us want and know what is important to us.
The Important Exercise
Here's an exercise that helped me find my important.
- The brain relies on the use of skills. What brain skills do I do well and enjoy doing?
- Talk to people, to research, to learn (autodidactic)
- Bring ideas together
- The brain relies on good blood flow. What physical activity do I love to "do".
- Talk to people
- What memories are strong and why?
- Going through post-natal depression because it brought me to the lowest point of my life.
- Running educational events I developed because I loved bringing people together to learn something and create meaningful connections.
- Memories of climbing Mt. Washington because I never thought I could do it.
For those of us in our 40's we have a lot of memories to recall but there are those that are linked with experience that our brains have recalled more often than others. These strong memories are the stories that make us who we are and it's these stories that are important to us.
Looking at the Answers
Looking at my brief answers, I notice that what I consider important includes constantly learning, writing, to be with people and share ideas. I may not think I can find something that connects all these together, but I did climb Mt. Washington after all.