Why Finding Your Passion or Purpose Can Leave You Frustrated and Depressed… and What to Do Instead
by Erika Slater
If you’ve traveled far enough along the self-development track and listened to a few of the gurus who use this train as their journey for you – pun intended – then sooner or later they’ll talk about finding your passion and purpose.
Well, are you ready for an alternative view on this?
Forget trying to find any of these!
Recently I wrote a post about exploding the myth of finding your purpose , and so today I’m going to the do something similar for finding your passion.
Golly gee Erika, what right have you to do this, and what makes you think you know more than all those millionaire gurus who have thousands, if not millions, of followers to their name?
First, it’s not just me saying this but people much smarter than I on this topic.
Additionally, there are folks who do recognize their purpose and passion early on and follow it for the rest of their lives. But… and it’s a big but… did they find it, or did it find them? Were they searching for it, or did it just… happen naturally.
Do you really think Mozart at age 7 when he wrote his first music had spent years trying to work out his life purpose? Nope.
These smart folks who’ve studied the topic suggest for most of us our passion for something “grows” on us and this is what we’ll discuss today and ways of replacing this search for passion with focusing on something else that’ll help lead to passion and purpose.
You may also ask as I’m a hypnotherapist why do I care?
Well aside from the fact I’m curious, I’ve notice in many clients I see who attain their change through hypnosis, those who have a clear sense of passion and purpose then making significant positive changes in their life is helpful to them with clarity around their purpose(s).
Let’s begin our journey together by exploring what the terms passion and purpose mean in this context…
PASSION AND PURPOSE:
Passion, in the context of emotion, “is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something. Passion can range from eager interest in or admiration for an idea, proposal, or cause; to enthusiastic enjoyment of an interest or activity; to strong attraction, excitement, or emotion towards a person.” [Wikipedia]
For this article we’ll leave “affairs of the heart” out and focus instead on activities and interests and things as it relates to passion.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines purpose as: “something set up as an object or end to be attained: intention.” [Merriam-Webster] I don’t know about you but that sounds too general for me. So, let’s turn to Frederick Buechner who said: “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.” [Wikipedia] I think this better gets at purpose in our context.
As I researched this topic I noticed that folks use the terms passion and purpose interchangeably. I’d argue this is wrong as they’re distinct from each other.
You can feel passionate about something without it being a purpose in your life.
For example, I love watching the Boston Red Sox play baseball and some would say I’m passionate about them as a team. But it doesn’t hook-up to any purpose in my life. So, if they lose the game I’m watching I’ve not that devastated about my life – well, not for long.
Being passionate about something doesn’t always mean its enjoyable either. For example, a High School teacher may be passionate about their topic but teaching High School kids can be hard and far from enjoyable at times. Taking an interest about a topic you’re passionate about can also take a lot of time and effort to get to a higher level during which time your passion can wane.
My point here is you may have multiple passions in your life and some of them may be interests and hobbies, but that doesn’t mean they have to hook-up to a life purpose.
Purpose on the other hand is different. If you have purposes in your life then you should also be passionate about them. After all, it would be a hard slog through life if the purposes you choose to pursue, you weren’t passionate about and found them enjoyable most of the time.
So, now we’ve “cut ourselves some slack” haven’t we?
We’ve defined passion and purpose and discussed the differences, and said its okay to be passionate about things without it being linked to a life purpose. But when we have purposes in our life then we’ll know because we’ll also feel passion for this purpose.
Now the hard part… how do we find our passion and purpose?
FINDING YOUR PASSION AND PURPOSE:
First of all, stop searching for passion. Passion isn’t something you find. It’s not like you’re doing a chore one day at home, or out for a walk with your dog, and suddenly you see fireworks and hear a thunderclap and there it is right in front of your eyes or in your head… you’ve discovered your passion!
Passion develops and grows usually from an interest. It’s not like its hiding from you.
It may take a while to grow and it most likely needs some cultivation. There’s no need to rush headlong into an interest to find out if you’re passionate about it. It will develop naturally.
You’re not born with your passion and the rest of your life is spent hunting for it.
So, can you have multiple passions? The answer is of course yes.
Now, certainly you’ll have different intensities of passion for activities and interests. For those you feel an intense passion for and can’t wait to “work on them” then this may be signaling a link to a life purpose to you. See where it goes.
So, what about purpose?
I’m not going to question anybody’s belief system here. We’re taught we’ve all been put on this planet for a purpose and so we’re encouraged to “find our purpose.” Again, this is a pursuit guru’s have expensive systems to help you find your purpose.
If you feel this will help you then go ahead and follow this road.
If it’s more of a spiritual quest for you, then also follow this road.
I subscribe, and suggest you look at an alternative to finding one purpose, and that’s to having multiple purposes in your life. I’d even say they may come and go, and morph into different purposes.
I’ve seen people invest years into what they thought was their purpose in life only one day to realize it’s not making them happy. Unfortunately, for these people they end up frustrated or even depressed as they feel they’re back at square one and can’t recover the time.
Don’t do this to yourself.
Instead, be open to new interests and activities and give them time to grow. Help cultivate them by taking those you have a passion for develop naturally with some attention and focused pursuit. As you make this journey pursuing your interests and passions then some will most likely develop into purposes.
If they don’t morph into one big purpose don’t despair but instead let me blossom into multiple purposes and bring joy both to you and others, then you’ll be closer to what Frederick Buechner was getting at with his definition of purpose… naturally.
Hypnosis is a tool that can help you to relax and open your mind to feeling more comfortable around pursing passion and purpose.
While I wouldn’t suggest one hypnosis session will uncover your purpose in life, it can help spur your powerful unconscious mind into helping you. As for some it can be a frustrating pursuit especially if attempts have been made to discover purpose and met with dead-ends, then hypnosis can help to quiet the mind of negative thoughts and instead open up to new avenues of passions and purposes.
Whatever you decide, the journey of your life should be enjoyable and full of discovery.
Passion and purpose are often confused as the same thing but this is wrong. You can be passionate about many interests and activities but these don’t necessarily link to a life purpose you feel destiny has in store for you.
Passion isn’t something to find because its hiding. It’s not. It wasn’t buried at birth waiting for you to dig it up one day and exclaim eureka! Pursue interests and activities and let the passion grow naturally. Consider being passionate about many things and not just one interest in the hope this will lead to your single purpose in life.
Consider you’ll have many purposes in life and not just one. While for each purpose you’ll be passionate about it, accept each passion will not lead you to a life purpose. Be open to enjoyment in your life and, as the movie title suggests, “the pursuit of happiness.”
If you need some help in discovering answers around purpose then check out this self-hypnosis session to tap into your unconscious mind to help discover the meaning of your life here >>>
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