1. Worry about what other people think.
When others’ opinions become a driving force for you, you cannot attend to your own wisdom, gifts, ideas, warning signals, and honest inclinations. You trade your unique vision of this world for second-hand glances. You cut off your action from your greatest source of power: your own soul and all the faith and grace that reside there.
2. Ignore your deepest desires.
We are created to desire, to want, to dream, to hope. When we push down those most basic human energies, we cease to move toward what God is dreaming for us. God guides us through our deep desires and loves, and the power in those desires and loves is what propels us forward to our destinies.
3. Focus on the negative.
Whether the negative you focus on is in you, in others, in the media you choose to absorb, or simply in the way your day is going, it will drag you off course. Get negative and watch the passion slip away, just like that. The passionate person does not ignore what is negative and needs attention—bad news, an unjust situation, her own anger or fear or anxiety, sorrow in the life of a loved one—but neither does she shape her reactions and attitudes around the negative. She is always heading toward the better day, the resolution, reconciliation, forgiveness, creativity.
4. Waste time and energy on what is not really important.
Do you create tasks that simply fill the time and make you feel more productive? Do you spend a lot of time with people who drain you of hope and happiness? Do you get involved with dramas and problems that are not really yours to take on? Take a brutally honest look at a typical week and identify lost potential. Sure, you could attend that thing because someone asked and you feel obligated. Or you could politely decline and go write your next song or cook the beautiful meal by which you express your care and passion for your loved ones.
5. Think in terms of success and failure.
In the first place, success and failure are quite relative. Sometimes a huge failure leads to the most creative thinking and subsequent success. It’s possible to fail in terms of making money but be a profound success artistically. Have you succeeded in planning a flawless event—only to deprive other people of the opportunity to participate and learn? If you measure your life by calling everything a success or failure, you will narrow and simplify your vision and thus miss so many nuances of experience that lend it meaning. Better to think in terms of, Did I grow? Did I learn? Did I love others? Did I experience joy? Did I dive honestly into sorrow?
Please feel free to add your own items to this list.