Merriam-Webster defines “passion” as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. The definition of “purpose” is the reason why something is done or used: the aim or intention of something; the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something; the aim or goal of a person; what a person is trying to do.
To put things simply, your passions and purpose answer two important questions: What and why!
Your passions, what you truly love to do above all else, answer the question of what you do. When you have a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something, your actions will be in alignment with your emotions. What you do with your passion is vital to your health, happiness and fulfillment.
Many success books — one of which is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill — detail how being passionate and enthusiastic drastically outweighs credentials, knowledge and experience. If you were to hire someone for a position, would you rather hire someone unqualified but extremely passionate or would you hire someone very qualified but who only wants a paycheck? Easy decision!
Where do passions come from and how do you define what they are?
Our passions are with us since birth. Just like our life purpose, we don’t choose our passions; our passions and purpose choose us. I can’t tell you why I am passionate about writing, speaking, coaching, creating or helping others improve their lives. All I know is that I am naturally drawn to do these things and that, unlike most people, I allow them to happen.
Many people avoid or lose their passions because of negativity they received from their parents, teachers, coaches and neighbors while growing up. Another reason is fear of being ridiculed or considered an outcast in our society.
To find your passions, start looking back on your life and determine what it is you absolutely loved to do. Start with your earliest memory and go through grade school, high school, college, young adulthood and present day. Your passions are what you love to do so much that you would do them for free.
Your purpose is why you exist, why you get up in the morning, why you say yes to one thing and no to the next; it’s why you do everything you do.
What is your purpose for going to school? For going to work? For getting married and having kids? For pursuing your dream? For going to a meeting? For watching a certain show? For reading this article?
Drs. Patrick Hill and Nicholas Turiano conducted a 14-year study with over 6,000 people to determine effects on having a life purpose. Within those 14 years, inevitably there were people who would pass away. About 9 percent of the sample group died — and they all were the ones who reported a lower purpose in life.
“Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose,” Hill states.
The Association for Psychological Science found similar outcomes: “Greater purpose in life consistently predicted lower mortality risk across the lifespan, showing the same benefit for younger, middle-aged, and older participants across the follow-up period.”
Meaning, it does not matter how old you are, by having a sense of purpose you will live a longer, happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.
Where does your life purpose come from and how do you find it?
Just like your passions, your life purpose comes from within. It is something that has always been there. We simply ignore both of them sometimes because our parents, teachers, coaches and neighbors fed us their limiting beliefs in hopes that we would conform with the rest of society and do what we are told: “Go to school, get good grades, get a good job with benefits, work for someone else, get married, and hope to retire before you die with a pension or Social Security.” —Bob Schmidt
You can find your purpose within the keywords of your passions. When looking at your passions, ask yourself these two questions repetitively: “For what purpose…?” and “For what intention…?”