“The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Passion and Purpose
These two somewhat cliche terms are thrown around quite extensively in the self-help, entrepreneurship circles, and for good reason. While they are used a bit too haphazardly in the mainstream, they are key ingredients for living a fulfilled life of a somewhat spiritual substance (in relation to the human soul transcendent of material success). For me – and completely anecdotally – this held true once I decided that passion and purpose were integral values of my highest self.
Firstly, what is passion? It can be defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion”, to which I would add as the impulse to act or participate intuitively in something that makes you feel omnipotent. And purpose? The more formal definition can be described as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. It is not too hard to discern that a presence of passion and the understanding of your purpose can bring about a joy and heightened experience of living. However, I would like to stress that this does not need result in material comforts or western ideas of success, but more importantly contentment and fulfillment.
For me, searching for my passion and purpose in life has been at the forefront of my actions for the past 4-5 years. I have job hopped, read dozens of books, taken action towards my highest self, and journaled hundreds of pages asking and searching for clarity about these two seemingly illusive ideas. Throughout this process I have experienced many life changing wins as a reward for the search, and I feel I am closer than I have ever been to a place of purpose in my life. Passion for me has always had an ephemeral quality, but when it shows up it is almost always an indicator of what my next move should be in my search for purpose, suggesting they are inextricably linked.
So what now?
I think to some extent we all inherently understand that having passion and purpose present in our lives will make a positive impact on our experience. But what my observations have suggested, is that the doctrine of westernised society acts as a pollutant/barrier to many who would otherwise seek to find their passion and/or purpose. Consequently, I have noticed that people who seek these aspects of life, do so passively or without any positive action. And justifiably so in a lot of cases, as modern society becomes more demanding on our time and hip pockets. (However, this is a potent reminder or doorway into the importance of living simply.) For those who feel that intuitive poke to seek out a more meaningful life, yet feel restricted in their capacity, I offer this way of thinking in the hope you can find some value in it.
Finding Your Car Keys
You have just finished the morning rush and are about to leave the house for work, when your car keys are no where to be found. Everything stops. You scour your residence high and low frantically searching for those keys, knowing full well you cannot go anywhere without them, a temporary prisoner. Your commitment to the cause is overwhelming until, low and behold, there they are nestled between your towel and water bottle in your gym bag.
I think the commitment and focus enacted when finding your car keys is redolent to seeking ones passion and purpose. You can’t just passively find it, you need to actively pursue. Until you begin the search, you cannot move forward. It needs to become the primary goal, but not the end goal. Finding them, simply allows you to walk out the door and begin your life’s work. In my experience, this is the major journey of life. I am excited to get there, but I am still on the journey to find my purpose.
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