What's Old is New

What’s Old is New 

I have been surfing for 30 years now on and off, and the sport never gets old.  To paraphrase one of my favorite surf movies; surfing is a place where you lose yourself and find yourself, a true spiritual experience…We are lucky if we have passions such as surfing in our lives.  These can be anything, from cooking to photography to relationships with our significance others.  All of these passions require one thing in common.  They require work.  Without work, these passions soon become stagnant and eventually fade away into memories of what once was.  But what does “work” consist of?  What are the ingredients that we need to keep our passions alive and well, whether they are the passions that we sometimes call hobbies or the very threads of our friends and families?  The methodologies are the same.

Start with a goal

Do you want to become a better photographer this year?  A better dancer?  How do you define the term better?  Make sure that the goal that is associated with your passions passes the SMART test.  The goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  What is it exactly that you want to accomplish with the relationship with your spouse this year?  Be specific.  How can you measure the improvements that you will make in your schoolwork this year?  Is getting a B average good enough for you?  Is becoming a world class surfer attainable for you this year?  Or should you make an incremental goal of competing at the professional level only in the State this year, and making plans to expand to the National level in three years?  Do you have the time and energy to dedicate yourself to opening your own business this year?  Set a realistic goal based on your own capabilities in the now.  Finally, what is your timeframe for completing this goal?  Should you have weekly meetings with your spouse to make sure you are reaching your short term goals of spending more time together in the hopes of rekindling a relationship that has been ravaged by work stress?  All of these SMART factors need to be in place for your goal to be real and not just a pipe dream.  Everything that you do should have a goal attached to it, including your work and personal passions.  If you don’t know where you are going, then how can you expect to stay motivated in what you are doing?  Feeling calcified or bored with what you are doing?  Set a goal using the above guidelines.

Hold Gratitude in Your Vision

Without gratitude, our passions can quickly turn into frustrations.  When we are frustrated with our own passions or are unable to partake as much as we want to in the things that we like to do, we grow resentful and often undermine the very things that we wish to practice.  Keeping a grateful mindset deflects any negativity that you may hold towards your passion.  For example, if you concentrate on the negatives of how you are not able to perform on the shooting range, you will not be able to shoot well the next time your go to the shooting range.  If, however, you decide to be grateful for the fact that you know how to shoot and that you are improving your dry fire techniques in order to maximize your time doing live fire, then you turn the negativity into a more positive outcome.  When you get frustrated with your spouse, remember why you got married in the first place and the first time you fell in love.  Be grateful for the fact that you have someone that loves you unconditionally and has been there for you through thick and thin.  Holding gratitude in the forefront of everything that you do will fuel your passion to higher levels than you ever thought imaginable.  

Try Something New

Rekindling and old relationship with something new breathes new life into passion and keeps your brain from becoming stagnant and calcified.  Making new pathways is possible, even with old relationships.  Back to surfing.  I recently decided to upgrade my surfing to a more high performance board that I was not sure if I was ready to ride.  At the advice of one of my more experienced surfing friends, I tried surfing on a shorter, wider, and more volumetric board than I had done in the past.  Although I loved to surf, I had become stagnant and set in my ways when it came to riding boards.  I hesitated to ride anything shorter than 10 feet in length (we are talking stand up paddle surfing here, so for those that are pure surfers I know that 10 feet seems long to you).  When I finally rode a board that was 9’5” I was blown away by the performance, stability, and my ability to pull some pretty radical maneuvers almost naturally (30 years of experience finally pays off!). Trying a new board was all it took to do that.  Rekindle your passion with something new.  Perhaps take a class that is related to your passion.  Read a book.  Go on a new vacation.  Cook a brand new recipe.  Whatever your passion is, try something new with it.  

It Takes Work

Lastly, work drives your passion to fruition.  We often think that passions just happen.  That is not the case.  Passion and work work in a circuitous way, where work drives passion and passion causes us to work.  The two concepts drive each other for the passion to be successful and rewarding.  Loving your spouse with all your heart takes work.  Period.  Becoming a great surfer or photographer or pick the hobby requires work.  Yes, the passion of a relationship will drive you to work hard; but, your passion alone will not help you through the down times when you don’t feel like putting the effort in because you are tired or distracted.  In those cases, hard work will drive you back into your passion and help you to succeed or get into a better position regarding your relationship.  


Make a list of the passions that you have this week.  What are some of the goals that you wish to accomplish for each of them?  Remember the SMART concept and apply it here.  Are you willing to put in the work that you need to succeed?  What kind of work are you willing to put into your relationships?  These, without a doubt, are the most important elements in your life and will help you to achieve other passions.  Remember to inject new elements into your passions to keep them interesting and fresh.  Are you willing to put in the work?  I think you are.

“Lean into it!”

Dr. N