Getting back to basics: living life passionately and inspirationally


We only have one chance at this life. Do we live a fulfilled one or do we squander it? At one of my talks I start by asking the question, “Raise your hand if you like sex”. Another question I ask is,  “Do you like mountain climbing?”. You may wonder where in the world am I going with these two seemingly unrelated questions.

Allow me to explain. When two people get together and engage in lovemaking there needs to be some degree of passion. Also, if you want to climb Everest, you definitely need to be passionate about mountain climbing. Passion is an energy, it is emotional and it is an action.

Sexual activity often culminates in orgasm. While this is a physiological occurrence, something else can happen. For a moment or two you may actually “leave your body”. This is an inspired state. When you get to the top of Everest and view the vast expanse from the top of the world, you will experience the same thing – inspiration.

Inspiration is a state of being. You see, inspired is to be “in spirit”. You are not doing or getting anything. When you are inspired, you are all mind, never body. When you are passionate you are all body, never mind or put another way, you are out of your mind.

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Think of inspired speakers who you have heard. Steve Jobs inspired people through his presentations and changed the world. On August 28, 1963, a speech took place which is what many consider the greatest of the 20th century. I feel fortunate to have seen and heard Martin Luther King deliver the “I have a dream” speech live on TV; it moved a nation and the world.

Passion is a negative or positive emotion. People can rev themselves into passion, but that is not inspiration. We hear of crimes of passion; that is not inspiration. However, passion can lead to inspiration. The reverse is also true, inspiration can lead to passion.

In today’s world there is so much clutter with the internet and the digital age, and all of its tentacles. This has complicated our lives. We need to lift the veneer and see what is important. We need to get back to basics. The message is that the secret to fulfillment is finding passion and inspiration; we need both.

We can find fulfillment in our work, our relationships and in our travels. We can do this at any age. People often wonder why we go storm chasing. Is it some form of insanity? Maybe. However, the passion is what drives us, but the ultimate – seeing a rotating supercell storm with a funnel cloud dropping from the cloud base  – is a truly inspiring moment. I call that fulfillment. When you are in fulfillment, you are true to yourself.

As Polonius says in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.”

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Do you agree with Dr Ely? What do you do every day to stay inspired? What is your passion?