Over the past few years, we have been tormented with books, gurus, and self-development courses insisting that we discover our life purpose and follow our passion. For a while, there was a whirlwind of information telling us how to discover this elusive must-have in our life. But, should you follow your passion and get your knickers in a twist trying to find your life purpose or not?
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Excuse the knickers in a twist description but that’s how it felt on and off for years as I tried to find what “it” was. I spent a lot of time trying to find out the thing that I could do to generate income and enjoy what I did at same time. The classic “do what you love” rang in my ears for years – I’m a poet and don’t know it. LOL However, finding my life purpose proved more difficult as the years rolled by.
I was determined and I tried lots of new things and researched different possibilities. In the early days, I did a training course to become a personal trainer but I didn’t finish it. Instead, I got a new job and moved to a different country. This flitting about and not finishing stuff wasn’t unusual for me. I didn’t realize at the time but my lack of self-worth and low self-esteem was dictating how I made my choices, and also, when I didn’t make choices, which, by the way, is still making a choice.
Years later and with the explosion of the internet I started to look at online opportunities. Many of these so-called opportunities seemed too good to be true and a lot of them were. Either that or they involved massive amounts of work for very little pay.
Long story short, I started to watch a lot of videos by a guy who eventually created an online Life Purpose Course. I finished the course and did the action steps. I enjoyed the course and I learned a lot. Defining my core values and picking up useful information and life tools, it was worth the (very reasonable) amount of money that I paid.
That said, I still wasn’t sure what my life purpose was. Disillusionment set in.
I let the whole idea go for a while and it was then that I came across a book that went against everything I had been trying to do.
This Book About Life Purpose Threw Me
In his book So Good, They Can’t Ignore You Cal Newport states categorically to NOT follow your passion. This guy was telling me the exact opposite of what had been doing for years!
It was the front cover that intrigued me – Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.
He talked about passion being rare and dangerous. My mind said – Whaat? – So, I read the book quickly, I had to know what this guy was on about.
It’s great when you get a different point of view as it means you can open your mind and get a different perspective. He flipped the concept of “find your passion” on its head. From “find your passion so that you can provide value and be useful” to “be useful and provide value so that you can find your passion”.
He cited chronic job-hopping and anxiety as a symptom of trying to find your passion and life purpose. For sure I had experienced that, which was why I after finishing the Life Purpose Course I mentioned earlier, I stopped thinking about it for a bit.
Building your skills up and becoming great at them comes first, he says. Here is a quote from the book:
I really enjoyed the book – I definitely recommend it as it not only gives you a fresh way of looking at finding your passion / life purpose but he gives practical tips and strategies to start building skills that matter.
I started to think differently about the whole concept and it was at that point that I came across another book that created an even bigger shift in my thinking.
It completely changed my mind.
This Book About Life Pupose Completely Changed My Mind
The book was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
From my early twenties onwards I wanted to find something I loved to do and get paid for it. Over the years that desire changed slightly to I want to get paid for doing something I love AND be my own boss.
In A New Earth Eckhart Tolle talked about two purposes. An inner purpose and an outer purpose. He said that the inner purpose was about knowing and understanding our inner workings.
You may now be thinking, okay BUT is that going to help know how to work for yourself and be your own boss?
Yes and no.
Tolle explains that once you begin working on your inner purpose, your outer purpose will begin to show itself.
You see, YOU begin to change when you work on yourself.
Your change in perspective will have an effect on how you see yourself and what you want, including what you want your outer purpose to be.
Inner & Outer Purpose
Working on your inner purpose is like peeling an onion. You discover something you want to work on, e.g. like a negative belief and you remove it. Then, you start to see positive changes and you make better decisions.
That’s a layer of yourself that you have worked on but of course like an onion there are more layers underneath. These layers are revealed as you continue your inner purpose.
Your self-esteem increases as you accept yourself and gained more self-worth. It’s a domino effect.
It makes sense that removing limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns will uncover the real you – the authentic you. Your desires and how you view your life may change in the process as your authentic self is discovered.
Your outer purpose organically comes to light and is sometimes not what you thought it would be.
Should You Follow Your Passion?
Both purposes are connected, by working on our inner purpose of knowing who we are we automatically start to get ideas and information on how to move forward with an outer purpose.
A New Earth changed my mind and kick-started me into finally working on knowing and understanding myself. I discovered I had limiting beliefs in my subconscious holding me back.
I learned how to remove these and replace then with positive, beneficial beliefs. I started living in the present by practicing mindfulness. All this kick-started a whole new me. A new me with high self-esteem and confidence. I started this blog, which I thoroughly enjoy doing – both the writing and the technical side. Time flies when I’m working on my blog – I get into the groove and flow easily. It’s great.
If I had not worked on my inner purpose – I would not have thought about doing this, let alone had the courage to do it. It was a massive learning curve – I had no idea how to create a website but I pushed through and did it anyway.
Learning and trying new things really helps to raise your self-esteem. By pushing yourself and growing you prove that you can do it, whatever it is. The more you do this, the higher your self-esteem, self-worth and confidence.
I created a short YouTube video for my About Me page when I first set-up my website but now I’m thinking of creating regular videos and growing a YouTube channel. Even as write that last line it seems unreal that I would even contemplate a YouTube channel! But I am. I really am.
Have I found my life purpose and passion? Yes, I work on my inner purpose every day. After that, everything else is a bonus. I have a new passion for life in general and I wake up every day with the intention of living (and enjoying) life on purpose.
Should you follow your passion? Yes, when you realize that your passion, your real life purpose is YOU.
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