Change your life for the better and get your desired results
In a world of “follow your passion,” it’s important to know the difference and importance of both passion and purpose.
Passion is about emotions.
It’s your motivation and what makes you feel good, it’s what you think of when you hear “do what you love.”
Purpose is logic. It’s the reason or the WHY behind what you do, especially for others. Passion can be all over the place, it’s wild, exciting, and all-consuming while purpose is much more focused and centered. Our passions are inwardly focused whereas purpose will always be outwardly focused on the greater impact you have on others.
In simpler terms, passion is what makes you feel good. Purpose is what makes others feel good.
I want to tell you why at the end of the day, you can’t have one without the other in order to become successful.
Success is not as glamorous as it looks when you’re first starting out.
I’m not making any pretensions on what it means to be a raging success, but I do know what it means to struggle every day, work hard, and achieve desired results.
I clearly remember thinking I knew what it meant to be a success story. I used to think every human being who ever became a millionaire or successful entrepreneur, became one by simply putting in the work every day for a few months and focusing on their passion. Everything was sunshine and they worked from cute coffee shops and always felt good about their work.
If only it were that easy.
One thing you have to know as you begin your journey is that success looks different for every single individual. For some, it takes months, for others, it could take years.
No journey is the same.
The point is not to identify your passion, but to identify your purpose and once you are able to do that, then the passion will come with it.
How often have you heard someone say:
“Follow your passion in life.” as opposed to “find your purpose in life.”
Passion is often seen as a solution to boring careers with average salaries or something that every person needs in order to be happy and fulfilled in their work.
However, the truth is that not everyone has a true passion, and the ability to pursue it. In fact, following one’s passion may be a dangerous career choice because passions can come and go while purpose is more permanent.
Philosophers have debated the heated tension between passion and purpose for centuries.
Aristotle considered passion in terms of pleasure and pain.
Socrates believed that passion imprisoned the soul to the body.
Plato believed that the dispassionate, rather than the passionate, self should be our goal as humans. When passion does enter the picture, Plato argues that you require mastery and discipline to control it.
Passion vs Purpose
Passion is hot and impulsive. You can be passionate about a certain thing but if it doesn’t serve you or others — it won’t always propel you forward.
You can be passionate about food, but will eating at different restaurants every week contribute to your success in the long run?
However, if you flip that passion into a purpose, for instance if you are passionate about food — you can create a food blog, or write articles about the restaurants you have tried — then you’re creating something that will propel you forward.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey
Purpose is about serving others. Purpose is about creating something that will allow you to fulfill what you were placed on earth to do.
In Daniel Gilbert’s book, Stumbling on Happiness, he writes that people often believe that creating the life of your dreams is a matter of deciding what you want and going after it, but in reality you are psychologically incapable of being able to predict what will make you happy. Meaning that whatever idealisms you have, your brain has created them from either something you once saw or read or heard of.
The problem with that is when you fail to achieve the desired result, you think of yourself as a failure.
You begin to look at your to-do list and the idea of not ticking everything off brings you dread — and you fail to acknowledge the fact that you still managed to do the bulk of what you wanted to achieve that day. You fail to acknowledge that every single day you are fulfilling your purpose little by little.
Instead of thinking, “I accomplished X, Y, and Z today, I’m so grateful for being productive.”
You allow yourself to think, “I didn’t get B, and C done. This was a shit day.”
It’s never about the amount of things you can accomplish. It’s about how well you do those things. We’re constantly told that our passion should be what drives our decisions, which means that when we aren’t “doing enough” we become unhappy.
This is where purpose plays a great role — because purpose is about your WHY. It’s about the value and the contributions you are making.
Passion is subjective.
It’s all-consuming and there’s no reason to it — it’s simply an ocean wave of emotions swallowing you whole.
Passion places fear inside of you — it makes you feel like you’re not doing enough when you aren’t engulfed in the action.
Purpose is logic.
When you’re sitting at your desk and working hard on that article and you realize it’s almost midnight — you’re tired. You’re sleepy. You want to go to bed but you know you need to finish your work — what is that 1 thing that drives you to finish?
Is it your passion for writing?
Or, is it knowing and understanding that you have a responsibility in the world to serve others and you’ve got deadlines to meet so you stay up another hour to complete the article?
When you’ve got a million things on your to-do list, but you fit in an hour of filming a YouTube video and editing it, do you do it because you’re passionate about YouTube or because you’re fulfilling your purpose of putting something of value out there?
Purpose is what gets you out in the world. Passion is what keeps you in it.