The insanely simple way to find a purpose
And avoid that “passion” bullshit
My road to finding a purpose was long and meandering. But now I can clarify the process. It’s easy as pie.
Having a purpose, a mission, a singular goal — makes life a breeze. You leap out of bed in the morning, listen to motivating music, and work becomes your favorite activity. You have unlimited pep in your step. You’re just “turned on” baby!
But, I think common career advice screws us up. And those idiot self-help authors. We usually hear: “When you have passion, you’ll just know! Go find it! Yay!”
So damn wrong. I’ll tell you why.
But before I give you the simple, life-changing formula, let’s talk about “passion.” Drop the notion of “finding your passion” right now, please.
The problem is the word itself, passion. Passion implies DESIRE. Desire can be powerful, yes, but if we desire the wrong things for the wrong reasons, we struggle and suffer. Many people struggle with DESIRE their entire life. They want, want, want, for the wrong reasons. They don’t even know why they want they want. Many times it’s baser instincts, the desire for sex, or the approval of other people — being included in social groups.
Finding a passion means finding something that’s rewarding right away. “You’ll just know,” they say. Well, guess what? I had a passion for getting fucked up, doing the horizontal mambo with strange women, sleeping all day, and doing it all over again. As often as possible. Think that made me happy or made the world a better place? Terrible example, but true nonetheless.
I mean, don’t we all have a natural passion for money, sex, attention, and fame? Sure we do. Don’t lie, Craig. I never understood this “passion” crap. It’s the same reason so many people never make a decision, they need trying to find something that they’re “passionate” about.
Passion sucks. It leads us astray. Makes us chase shiny red balls. Forget “passion.” Purpose, on the other hand, is significant. Purpose is a mission. Purpose is based on fact, on evidence.
Purpose is bad ass.
-Harvard Business Review
So, you need a purpose. You can have many purposes in your life depending on what your interests are. And guess what, you can multiple purposes! More on that soon.
Okay. Finally, here it is. How to Find a Purpose:
1. Have an interest
2. Do a lot of activity around that interest, go all-in
3. You *may* develop a purpose
Yup, that’s it. Annoying, ain’t it? You gotta work for a purpose, and maybe you’ll find one. Then when you really love that purpose and live that purpose, it becomes a “passion.”
Nothing that I do now, the blog, electric guitar, fitness and nutrition, being a dedicated father, my new business — nothing was immediately the best thing ever. Not at all. In fact, a lot of what I do every day is hard. It’s a struggle, it’s sacrifice! But it’s damn fun, because I have purpose around it.
I found something I was interested in, that called to me. Doing this new activity sucked, it was hard. Like when I first picked up electric guitar again about 1.5 years ago. I was horrible. My fingers hurt. I felt like an idiot. But I practiced three hours a night anyways. Because I wanted to be good. it was fun even when I sucked. Eventually, I found a purpose in this. I wanted to be a guitar hero. That lasted a year and then I moved on.
About 15 months ago I began a massive campaign of spiritual growth. The underlying foundation for this aggressive campaign was physical fitness. Cardiovascular fitness. I took up spinning and for about two months it was torture. But, it was also mind-blowing and incredible. I cried tears of joyous pain. It became a purpose, a calling. I reached a new level in life and now this purpose is slowly passing.
My new purpose is my startup business, helping you write more to the people you love. Helping you to express yourself in prose and letters again (or like never before).
In a couple years my purpose may be to develop the world’s greatest wood-chopping skills, or to run ultra-marathons (doubt it).
We don’t need to pressure ourselves to find ONE purpose for the rest of our lives! You’re overthinking it.
Your purpose can last a month if you want it to. Or it may last the rest of your life. You won’t know until you just DO SOMETHING.
Find something, and go all-in. Find an activity that gives you pleasure even when it’s not enjoyable. When you find that, you may be on to something. Don’t waste it. Jump in with both feet and give it a shot.