Using Purpose Rather than Passion to Guide Your Life

Passion is overrated. I feel like anytime I express indecision or uncertainty, someone says something along the lines of “you just need to find your passion”. Although it is often touted as a cure-all to any decision, passion is not always the answer. First, I’d like to define passion; according to Collins Dictionary “Passion is a very strong feeling about something or a strong belief in something”. 

To me, there are two major problems with the idea of “passion”. Firstly, passion isn’t necessarily enduring. I’ve had many fleeting hobbies that I was “passionate” about for a few weeks before I dropped them. Passion can have a hard time growing and evolving alongside us. Because of this phenomenon, it can be difficult to stay motivated after a setback. Secondly, the concept of finding a singular “passion” that sparks your motivation every day is simply unrealistic for most people. I personally cannot define myself with just one label, and I doubt you can either. We are inherently multifaceted beings. A downside I’ve noticed of following the idea of a singular passion is that I become wholly engrossed in that activity for a time, to the exclusion of other things in my life. This keeps me from trying other things that might also be enjoyable for me and I lose a sense of balance that helps make life sustainably happy. 

For these reasons, I’ve switched from pursuing passion to creating purpose instead. To me, purpose is the reason “why” you do what you do. For example, my purpose for exercising regularly is to help me feel healthy. The reason I want to feel healthy is because I am trying to create a life that I enjoy. All my goals fall under the umbrella of my overall purpose of finding enjoyment in life. I am able to rely on purpose when I have low motivation because I know it will help me be who I want to be. Purpose can help you organize your life and actually use your time to achieve things that matter.

Without purpose, goals can be contradictory and confusing and passion can be short-lived. I believe that through purpose we can create a continual sense of passion about our lives as a whole rather than just one aspect.

 

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