I just listened to a great podcast with Brian Johnson and Ryan Holiday (The Ego is the Enemy). One great take away (out of many) was the idea that using purpose as fuel for motivation is much more powerful and longer lasting than “passion.”
Often, you’ll hear that you need to find your passion. And that the passion will ensure that you reach your goals. But I’m sure you’ve had days where you didn’t feel that passion and then….you find yourself watching TV or Internet surfing or going out for drinks with friends instead of working on your “passion.”
If you focus on your purpose instead, your motivation goes deeper.
Let’s try an example. Let’s say you feel your passion is music. You practice your instrument and tell yourself that, at last, you’ve found your passion. At last! Now your life has meaning. You practice every single day, happy to be known as The Musician. You audition for a group and you don’t make it. What? But it’s your passion. How could this happen? You practice some more. Audition again. With each rejection, your resolve fades. Maybe this isn’t what you’re supposed to do…maybe you aren’t passionate enough.
But what if you tell yourself that your purpose is to play your best music and bring happiness to others through music? Yes, this is my purpose, you say. So you practice. You audition for parts and you do your very best. You don’t make it. That’s okay, you say. I’m going to keep playing and I’m going to play at the Alzheimer’s home each Saturday, because they always enjoy it. With each audition, you get better. At last, you make it. But you have felt joy all along, because you knew what your purpose was and it was detached from ego.
Purpose is more pure and more enduring than passion as a motivator (but there’s nothing wrong with having both)!