“Follow Your Passion” is Bullshit Advice

…So is Seeking Happiness

It is better to follow your Purpose than to seek happiness or follow your passion.

I’m going to keep this brief.

You hear the terms passion, happiness etc., referred to all the time, like we can just go out and do them:

“Follow/find your passion…”

“The secret to happiness…”

“Do what you love to do…”

I call bullshit!

The bottom line is: if you don’t have Purpose, you will never have passion, happiness, contentment or a sense of meaning in your life. Period.

I could make that list a lot longer.

What you will have is a lack of motivation, a sense of lacking, disillusionment, stress, anxiety, depression…You get my point.

I could make that list a lot longer as well.

Do you know your Purpose? Do you know what that is? Can you clearly state it in 2-3 sentences to yourself right now?

No? Then read on!

Misleading Advice

Passion is a feeling, not an action. You don’t follow your passion or pursue your passion. You either have it or you don’t.

Happiness is a state of mind. The problem with ‘doing what makes you happy’ is that few of us know what makes us happy.

It is a tradgedy that we hear this advice all the time. There is big business in selling an idea that you can “follow your passion.”

This type of advice is beyond ineffective because:

  • Most people are motivated by instant gratification
  • Real rewards take effort
  • We don’t know what would really make us happy or provide a feeling of passion

The Alternative

All is not lost, however. You can feel more passionate about what you do.

Happiness is more complicated, because everyone defines it differently. For me, I want to feel a sense of peace that my life is on track in a positive way and that I’m content making good decisions that will embody a rewarding life.

See, I’ll be you didn’t define it that way.

Purpose is the concept that will bring about passion and contentment.

Purpose is how you live based on your core values

When you live with Purpose, specifically defined, you can make decisions and act in a way that will bring about the results that provide you with the biggest reward.

If your life is lacking in some way, you are probably not taking the specific actions that will result in a feeling that your life is rich and rewarding.

The How

Here are steps you can take to define your Purpose:

  1. List your core values
    • What is most important to you?
    • Examine those values and describe why they are important to you? Is there a deeper drive than you initially listed?
    • Ask why again. This takes effort and honesty
  2. What do you want your legacy to be?
    • What do you believe makes for a good life?
    • How do you want to look back on your life?
    • This should help you refine your values further
  3. Write a statement in 2-3 sentence (or even 1), of what your Purpose is
    • Should be values based
    • Should be actionable
    • Example: My purpose is to research and learn in order to help others find more meaning in their lives

The Why

This statement will help guide you in the following ways:

  • It will help you prioritize activities. I know now what things I do contribute to my Purpose and what won’t. Not everything you do will contribute directly, but you need to be doing things that do contribute to give life meaning. If I’m not creating and helping others, I’m just going through the motions. I now can be aware of what I need in order to move my life forward in a way that is rewarding to me.
  • Goals are tied to Purpose, not a superficial desire. We are more likely to follow through if actions are meaningful.
  • You will feel more passionate about what you’re doing, because you will know that it will bring the rewards you seek.

Do you think business owners renting porta-potties decided to do that from a young age? Do you think they are “doing what they love”? Of course not.

These folks are doing it for a higher purpose. There is meaning behind what they do that provides the lifestyle that is important to them. And yes, even feel passionate about what they do, because those actions have a higher Purpose.

Immediate Actions

  • Develop your Purpose Statement
  • Make a plan to engage in pursuits that align with your Purpose
  • Write your statement and review it occassionally
  • Refine it. It will change over time as you learn and grow

Parting Thoughts

There is too much to cover in one post, but I want you to think differently when you see material related to happiness, passion etc…

Your life is much too important to be shortchanged by frilly inspirational crap.

Go here to learn more.

Leave a Comment