I have been listening to Mark Manson’s posts quite a bit lately. (I like that his site has an audio option, so you can listen to them, rather than just read them.) I keep coming back to one or two; about purpose, values and passion. I suspect this is because I’m currently wading my way through my own existential crisis of sorts so wondering what others have to say about it.
For example, I particularly like this post from No Sidebar, which reminds us that our passion is not necessarily our purpose. And vice versa.
Anyone who knows me would pretty much be able to guess my passions: writing, reading, TV. So words and stories. The article’s author Jay Harrington talks about clients who area trying to reignite or find their passion and struggling. He notes:
What we come to realize, together, is what they’re really seeking is purpose.
He suggests, “purpose is what keeps us motivated and gives us the energy to push forward. Purpose is what gives us direction and gets us reoriented when we get off-track. Purpose makes us resilient and enables us to embrace life’s challenges.”
In my case… purpose would give me a bloody reason to get out of bed each day, in the absence of Vanilla Diet Coke. (I still miss it and Vanilla No Sugar Coke is NOT the same!)
Anyhoo, he gives examples of how we can identify that purpose in others and I certainly know people who – despite other commitments and challenges – carve out time to follow their passion. Perhaps because I realise, they see it as their purpose (though in a non-wanky ‘saving the world’ way).
Harrington talks about the fact that almost every single moment we have the opportunity to make a decision. The proverbial fork in the road. Of course it could be chicken vs steak for dinner; but it could also be: apply for this job, or don’t. In my case.
He talks about the inevitable regret many of us feel about past decisions or actions, but also reminds us it’s NEVER too late to stop and re-evaluate our life’s purpose and goals.
Similarly Mark Manson’s Seven Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life’s Purpose offers up some suggestions in his typical irreverent style. I won’t include them all here but examples include:
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?
Essentially how much crap are we willing to deal with or put ourselves through to achieve something? For me, am I prepared to sacrifice financial security to pursue writing; or am I prepared to sacrifice freedom / creativity to be financially secure and get stuff done around the house / travel etc? (Or you know… pay the mortgage!)
WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT AND POOP?
This speaks a little to our passion. What makes us lose track of time? For me, you guessed it: reading and writing.
HOW CAN YOU BETTER EMBARRASS YOURSELF?
He’s speaking about vulnerability here and the need to sometimes fail before we succeed. I suspect this is a stumbling block for me with my writing. Or most stuff really!
GUN TO YOUR HEAD, IF YOU HAD TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
A biggie for me, as he talks about us being complacent and happy to sit on the sofa all day eating Doritos. This is where the rubber meets the road on the purpose vs passion thing. If we could do anything we wanted – what would we do? I’d normally say ‘write’ but I’ve had shitloads of time lately and done little of it.
Obviously there are more questions, but I’d recommend you read / listen to the article yourself as there’s something brazenly addictive about Manson’s writing and words.
This kinda leads me back to my question about purpose and fact that – though I can clearly identify my passions – I cannot translate them into my purpose: for living. For waking each day and getting out of bed. For making the clear decision to forsake well-paid (or even PAYING) jobs to do what it is I say I MOST want to do.
What makes you forget to eat and poop?
Do you think passion follows purpose or vice versa? Do they mean the same thing to you?