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Finding our P’s – Passion and Purpose

Are we born with passion and purpose or do we find it along the way?

Throughout our lives we are constantly searching for the meaning of why we are on this earth plane, what are we here to do, is there more to life than what it is that we are doing. These questions are mostly asked when we are not feeling at our best, when we are down, feeling depressed, unenthusiastic about work and life and so on.

So what is the meaning of “Purpose”?

Purpose can be defined at the psychological tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and to possess a sense of intentionality and goal directedness that guides behaviour.

Positive psychology research suggests that purpose comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether it be through religion or a specific deity or serving humanity, our animal kingdom or our planet.

If you have ever done any of the Art of Living Courses you will have learned that service (serva) plays a large role in our happiness and fulfilment. They say that if you are feeling down there is no greater pick-me-up than going out and doing for others.

Let’s have a look at the word “passion”.

TheUrban dictionary defines passions as:
“Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind body and soul into something as is possible.”

For me, passion is when you get so in the zone when you are doing something that you forget all time. It is when you are at your happiest and most fulfilled. Where nothing matters but what you are so busy with.

Following your passion while living out your purpose is the ultimate life goal. Oprah Winfrey said, ”

“Follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose.”

Many scholars make decisions on their future career based on how much money they can earn in a certain profession. They follow all the right steps towards this career but somewhere along the line they end up hating what they do. Would it not be far wiser to follow a career that ignites passion? Passion leads to purpose and when you have purpose all that is positive will flow so much more easily than banging your head against something you dislike which in turn just keeps creating disharmony and unhappiness.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

— Confucius

Often our “social self” interferes in our purpose as we are so concerned with fitting in with our peers, we are afraid of what others and our family may think, we focus too much on pleasing others. And so we often make decisions on what seems good and right to others around us creating a recipe for purposelessness.

We create beliefs about what is and is not possible based on upbringing, teachings and past failures. These just pose as roadblocks.

So what comes first? Purpose or Passion? Your purpose may flow from your passion or your passion may flow from your purpose. Some of us know very soon on in our lives what our purpose is and some of us find it along the way and often way down the line. Or we can find our cause or our cause can find us.

Passion is often born from experience, from trying new things, going outside of your comfort zone and from broadening your horizons to trigger that “aha” moment that can change the course of your life forever. In other words, it isn’t something that suddenly finds you while you’re sitting on your couch at home watching television. Passion develops from doing.

Passion and purpose can become quite intertwined but there are some fundamental differences between the two.
– Passion can be selfish. Purpose cannot. You can pursue a passion for your own pleasure and it can be purely self indulgent. Purpose is not selfish, it involves serving others.
– Passion can be unbridled. Purpose is focused. You can have many passions and spend countless hours on them but to fulfil a purpose requires focus.
– Passion is what. Purpose is why. Passion focuses on nouns. What do you love? It’s about the objects of your desires. Purpose is your motivation, your why.
– We may have many passions, but for most of us we only have one purpose.

So, what are you passionate about? If you are not sure work through the list below:
– make a list of all your passions. Write everything down, no matter how silly, serious or funny. What do you really like, what catches your attention, what excites you?
– think about what you liked doing as a child. What were your hobbies? How did you spend most of your time?
– what would you like to do the most of if money was not an object?
– what makes you come alive? What ignites a spark in you?
– what really feeds your soul? What do you see or hear that evokes so much emotion in you?
– what do you like reading about, what are your favourite subjects?

Do you notice any threads or commonalities running through your list? Is there a common purpose glaring at you? Could you find a purpose from your list of passions?

Passion is an energy source, a natural human fuel for living an inspired life that is driven by purposeful action. it is based on your core values, strengths, skills, interests and talents. With it, you can overcome any obstacle, solve any problem, and circumnavigate the endless challenges that life throws your way.

Research shows us that purpose in life is linked to positive health outcomes, including better mental health, less depression, happiness, satisfaction, self-acceptance, better sleep, and longevity. It is no wonder at the absence of these that we question why we are here.

Without passion, people often succumb to anger, frustration, disappointment and continuously get caught up in seemingly insurmountable problems. People with passion too experience these negative feelings but are more likely to overcome them quickly because of their positive mental state and resilience to things getting them down.

If you want to live a happy, content and fulfilled life it is critical that you find your passion and life purpose. Without a life purpose as the compass to guide you, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfil you.

Living your purpose through your passions adds value in the lives of others and by doing so you are adding value to your own life. It comes back to that old saying, “What you put out, you get back.” Together passion and purpose can only lead to great success, happiness and fulfilment.

I wish you luck in finding your passion and purpose and with that finding the ultimate in happiness and fulfilment for yourself.

The End

Art by Leonid-Afremov

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