It’s a nice idea, but the reality is that this never occurs. While we may enjoy an activity and say we love it more than any other, the love for it is not constant. Instead, it’s like a wave, with crests and troughs that occur at various times. However, unlike a wave it is more random. At times, the love for an activity may be at a maximum and stay there for weeks. During other stretches of time, motivation may be at a minimum, to the point that others would quit.
The trick, then, is to find a way to persevere despite these dips and surges in motivation and love for an activity. We know that breakthrough performances don’t occur in bursts, but during extended bouts of concentrated efforts. Therefore, relying on those crests and troughs to fuel the fire for your passion is not a great way to improve over the long term. Instead, it’s much better to do an activity over and over, improving over the long-term.
In order to do this, we have to accept that an activity that we love may not always be enjoyable. It’s not that you may have days with low motivation. It’s that you will have these days, and your overall success depends on how well you can push through on those difficult days. Can you put aside the difficulty of today for the goals of tomorrow? Do you have the discipline to do so? These are all questions that will be asked over the course of practicing a certain craft.
Another important thing to note is that it is critical to stay patient on those great days. Often, we caution against the days where practicing your passion is difficult, but we forget about the troubles a fantastic day can cause. When we’re having an amazing day, we’re liable to take on more than we can handle. Consequently, we try to do more, thinking that we are “ready” to handle more. However, the truth is that your average day has to improve in order to think you can handle more. A peak is not indicative of the workload you can handle. Just as you wouldn’t lower the workload after having a bad day, you shouldn’t increase the amount during a good day.
Furthermore, the danger in a good day is that it can establish a new precedent. Then, there’s a certain pressure to do just as well as that great day during the subsequent days. Initially motivated, you may be able to ramp up the training. However, the inevitable lows combined with the fact that you aren’t really ready to take on more can lead to burn out and no desire to continue. This is the worst situation that can happen, and so we want to avoid it at all costs.
What we must remember is that there’s no requirement for us to love an activity every single day. Just because you love your passion does not guarantee every day will be easy. On many occasions, you’ll feel like you’re wasting your time with what you’re doing. But you must press on, for long-term goals are achieved by ignoring the day-to-day mood swings. Overall, the data can show a trend. However, by getting to granular, data becomes misleading noise.
If you have to fall in love with one thing, falling in love with the process of improving would be the best fit.
You don’t have to fall in love every day. Instead, you need to be willing to push forward on days that are tough, and be disciplined on days where it is easy.