In seeking our life’s passion and purpose, are we embarking on an endless journey with no possible destination?
Does Dr. Robert Holden, wellness Psychologist’s, assertion that “happiness is in you” also translate to finding your life’s purpose – Is your passion and purpose, like happiness, already here?
The “Passion Hypothesis”
(The key to occupational happiness is to first figure out what you’re passionate about and to then find a job that matches this passion.)
Associate Professor Calvin “Cal” Newport unravels the passion hypothesis in his book, “So Good they Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest For Work You Love”.
He insists that “The passion hypothesis is ……. wrong and potentially dangerous”, often leading to angst, confusion and disappointment.
“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).”
Likewise, Benjamin Todd in his TED Talk (To Find Work You Love, Don’t Follow Your passion) argues that success fuels passion and not the reverse. He urges us to choose work that’s “valuable” – incorporating achievement (or mastery), significance (or meaning) – and ultimately work that leads to societal contribution. He encourages those seeking their career path to go out into the world and explore; try new things; and to discover skills in demand that are transferable across vocations.
Dave Isay, (StoryCorps founder, Winner of the 2015 TED Prize & author of Callings: The Purpose & Passion of Work), gives some excellent guidance for finding the work you were meant to do (your calling) as follows:
-Your calling is at the intersection of doing something that you’re skilled at, feeling appreciated or validated for your efforts and believing that your work is improving people’s lives.
-This is “work ignited by hope, love, or defiance – and stoked by purpose and persistence.” It often arises from difficult past experiences & demands courage in its execution.
-Other people and circumstances may gently guide you towards your calling
-Your calling is an ongoing process and not a destination.
-Age is irrelevant; your calling may declare itself at any age.
-A calling may not come with a high income but will nevertheless bestow its own riches.
Visit StoryCorps here: https://storycorps.org
Find his book at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Callings-Purpose-Passion-David-Isay/dp/1681682168
Jeff Goins in his book, The Art of Work, also suggests avoiding the quest for passion per se and asks you to review all of your previous achievements to find your calling:“Take time to look back at all you’ve experienced, and listen to what your life is saying.”
He further clarifies this with “I used to think that your calling was about doing something good in this world. Now I understand it’s about becoming someone good—and letting that goodness impact the world around you.”
What Is Your Message To The World?
In her TED Talk, The Art of Being Yourself, Caroline McHugh (Speaker, teacher, coach and author of Never Not a Lovely Moon) inspires us to “tap in to [our] inner voice”.
She affirms that “Your life is your message….Your life has to be your message. Otherwise, why are you here? It’s not like you’ve got a spare…. When you think about your identity, when you think about what it means to be alive….You’re not your thoughts, because you think them.And you can’t be your feelings because otherwise who’s the you that feels them?You’re not what you have, you’re not what you do, you’re not even who you love or who loves you. There has to be something underneath all that.”
She reassures us that if we can “transcend all [the] judgments” that people put upon us & “tap in to that inner voice…. not only will the speed of your life get quicker, not only will the substance of your life get richer but you will never feel superfluous again.”
Watch Carline McHugh’s TED Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veEQQ-N9xWU
Anita Moorjani suffered an “after-life” experience and in her fascinating TED Talk
Dying To Be Me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhcJNJbRJ6U), she relays the important lessons she learned from that transcendental journey:
- Love yourself, value yourself – The more you love yourself, the more love you will have to give to other people.
- Live fearlessly. Love keeps you & your loved ones safe, not fear.
- Humour and laughter and joy are more important than any other spiritual activity
- Life is a gift, not a chore. And all life’s challenges are a gift (although they may often not seem as such until you’ve journeyed through them).
- Always be yourself. Be as “you” as you can be. Shine your light as brightly as you can.
Embrace your uniqueness and love yourself unconditionally.
How Can You Find Work You Love?
The late Scott Dinsmore, founder & CEO of the Live Your Legend movement www.liveyourlegend.net, described hismission in life as being to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing. He published a series of questions to direct people to finding work they love & others have provided similar guidance.
Some of these are as follows:
What do you love to do that excites you?
What do you feel qualified to teach to others?
What do others seek you out to provide them with & how do they change as a result of your gift(s)?
Who inspires you to be more / do more and why?
When was the last time you stayed up late at night to do something just because you felt passionate about it and why did you do it?
What were you doing the last time you found yourself in such a state of flow that you disregarded time & all else?
If you had unlimited resources and knew that success was absolutely guaranteed, what ventures & adventures would you choose?
If you had unlimited income, what work would you gladly do for free?
What are you naturally curious about”
What are five things your friends & family say you’re good at? (Ask them!)
What revolution do you want to lead?
What significant changes would you like to influence in the world?
The answers to these questions and the ideas they ignite have assisted many in finding work they love.
So Is Finding Your Passion & Purpose The Journey or The Destination?
In the wise words of Henry David Thoreau, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Regardless of whether or not you subscribe to the passion hypothesis; finding your “why” or letting it find you, meaningful work is an attainable life experience.
First and foremost, know your values and develop a deep appreciation for your uniqueness.
Dare to dream and plan for a brighter future but never neglect the gift of the present moment.
Live in line with your values now with gratitude and joy; while looking forward to more excitement and fulfilment in your future life.
Embrace life’s challenges as opportunities for growth and change.
Dare to go out in to the world and explore it fearlessly. Seek endeavours that will improve yourself and your community – Make useful, valuable contributions. Make note of those that inspire and enrich you in any way.
Hone your skills, master your crafts. Strive to be the best that you can be in all that you do.
Love courageously and live generously. Ask not what your purpose and passion are but what you can contribute to your world.
Above all, free yourself from the search for your life’s purpose – Feel the joy of adventure by just stepping out into your world. Show up each day determined to offer all that you have to give. Passion and purpose are already here…………..