Purpose, Passion, or Doing

In my last post, I wrote about purpose. Since then, I’ve been thinking about the post, and purpose a lot. I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s OK not to know my purpose. And more, that maybe I don’t need to be on a quest to find it.

I recently watched this TEDx talk about passion.

While, in my mind, passion is not quite the same as purpose, I think they are closely related in the way that I’m thinking about them. In the video, Ms. Trespicio talked about how she felt such pressure to find her passion. I genuinely understand that pressure. That’s what I’ve been feeling.

There are so many self-help books, videos, blog posts, etc. all exhorting us to find our passion. Well-intentioned parents, friends, and co-workers do the same thing. They all seem to say that once you find your passion, your life will have meaning and will be complete. Until then, you’re lost.

One thing Ms. Trespicio points out is that spending all your time searching for passion means not spending time actually doing things. And, in doing, you learn things, have new experiences, meet new people, and just maybe, will become passionate about something. Or not. But becoming passionate does not need to be the end goal. Doing things is what matters.

This video was a good reminder to me about how my life has played out so far. I have never, before recently, searched for my passion. I took jobs because I needed a job. Sure, I looked for jobs that seemed interesting. I taught myself new things because I was interested. I spent time with people I loved. I traveled to places because I wanted to experience new cultures, food, and history. Not once did I think, “what’s my passion or purpose in this?”

Through all of those things, I ended up discovering that I loved technology, computers, and programming. And that led to my career. I did not seek passion, it found me.

Now, I’m kind of tired of the thing that was such a core part of my life for so long, and it’s leaving me feeling a bit lost. I guess this is what’s causing the new-found feeling that I need to find something.

As I reflect on purpose (and passion), I see that maybe I should stop worrying about it. Instead, I should be picking new things to learn and do, new places to go, and new experiences. Perhaps, by doing that, I’ll find something I might consider a purpose. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll be doing instead of searching. And that’s fine.

2 thoughts on “Purpose, Passion, or Doing

  1. You should totally check out Cal Newport’s stuff about passion and work. He agrees, basically, and is against the “find your passion” doctrine. Start here:

    https://www.calnewport.com/blog/2010/10/16/the-passion-trap-how-the-search-for-your-lifes-work-is-making-your-working-life-miserable/

    I watched the video you shared. I would agree to just do something rather than wait to discover a nebulous passion to pursue. I like her statement that passion is not a plan. It’s a feeling.

    I think even if a person found a passion to pursue and worked/lived it out, that person would still experience “bad” days and sometimes lack motivation. I don’t think if someone is passionate then every day is exhilarating. That’s not realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jason. I’ll definitely check out the link you posted. You’re right: we can’t expect “passion” every day in everything we do. Life doesn’t work that way. Perhaps part of the journey is learning about being content, while still doing new things and pushing in a way that feels right.

      Liked by 1 person

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