The Passion Myth
Personal development is filled to the rafters with myths.
Not all are helpful.In fact for some people holding these myths as ‘truth’ causes them to feel bad – stuck.
Take one of the biggest myths of all.
What I call ‘The Passion’ myth.
Pick up any personal development book written after the mid 90’s and you’ll find page after page talking about ‘finding your passion’.
The word passion has permeated in to modern day self-help culture.
It’s presupposes that YOU are meant to be doing something you are passionate about. That ‘out-there’ there is a something waiting or calling for you to do.
When you do, your life will feel like you have been plugged in directly to the hardline of the life-force itself.
Everything will appear richer, more beautiful – colours become more saturated and stunning like your life is being lived out on a movie screen.
All sensory systems will be enhanced. Deep inside, you will feel really good. You will be the envy of your friends. People will want to know you – to be like you.
This is just some of the ‘rewards’ for someone who has found their passion.
Problem is. It’s a lie.
[Well sort of, more on that in a moment.]
All too often when good folks compare where they are now and what they are doing with their lives against the ‘passion’ ideal, they then feel crappy about themselves.
Life seems only more tediously boring, unfulfilling.
The Pot of Gold
Finding what your passion is meant to be is like chasing a pot of gold. You’ve seen the rainbow, you’ve heard other people have done it, it’s just no matter what you do; that darn pot of Gold never comes to you!
Let’s break this myth and organise our thinking in such a way so that it leads to effective action, feeling better, and enjoying every moment more.
“In life you are given a bag of moments. You don’t know how many of those moments you have. NLP is about showing you how to make the most of them.”
Dr. Richard Bandler
The passion myth is a pervasive meme.
Like all good memes if you touch it, you can’t help but get some of it on you.
So we need to get some gloves and wellies on.
Got yours on?
When you step right back and look at how this world operates you begin to notice that meaning is not something that exists in anything itself; it is what we as human beings give it.
Put another way; the meaning isn’t ‘out-there’, it is in us. Collectively or individually we all create meaning around events and objects.
We then forget we have ever done that and project those meanings and ‘infect’ others. If enough of us accept a meaning, it is accepted as unquestioned fact.
Perhaps this is what led the 19th century philosopher – Friedrich Nietzsche to say:
“All things are subject to interpretation.Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”
Finding your passion is something that is ‘sold’ as something out-there.
If you want to find your passion – turn the spotlight inside.
Rid yourself of the notion that your passion will mystically find you.
Go uncover it.
Recognise that discovering your passion is a process.
It’s a something a person actively does.
They don’t hang round and hope their passion will show up like a thunderbolt, then life is suddenly transformed.
That’s the Passion meme talking.
For many waiting… waiting… waiting kills their belief that it will occur. They B.S. (belief system) all over themselves.
Years go by – with no meaningful progress.
Perceived failings to find their true passion stack up, they compare themselves to their friends who ‘seem’ to be living happier, richer, more successful lives and they ask themselves:
“What the f**k have I been doing all this time?”
If this applies to you; go easy.
But take the ah-ha on board.
If you look at the bigger patterns of people who are passionate about their life what you’ll notice is they are driven by a definite purpose.
A something they want to do, or make right.
The motivator for pursuing their passion is not shiny things or the applause or the looks of admiration.It is the work itself.
It compels them to act. To walk the path (often through barren land for a time) to do the work they feel needs to be done.
Through confusion, sweat and toil they created or found something that truly is deeply engaging and valuable to them.
In other words they have given the work they do a special meaning.
Anyone can do this too.
It’s not just the ‘special’ or ‘lucky’ ones.
It starts with you deciding that you will bring meaning to the work that you do.
If you really don’t like it or feel in your heart you should be doing something else; then start today – no matter how far away your dream work may appear to be – and get to work making it happen.
Growing up whenever I found myself doing a job that I didn’t like, like picking a field of weeds, working mind-numbing hours on a factory line or working in a bakery at 2AM in the morning I’d remind myself,
“There is no such thing as a boring job, there is only a boring job for you.”
This would remind me that the state of boredom was something I was doing.
A meaning I was bringing to the situation.
It would encourage me to lift that job, no matter how mundane it seemed to be, to it’s highest potential for me.
How I did that was to become curious. To look for what could be fascinating about this job/work situation.
As I trained myself to look for this – I found so much more joy was right there to be found in that work.
Jobs I initially really dis-liked I began to love or find real value in them.
I became a human sponge, soaking up everything I could learn about them.
When I hit the apex of that job, career or situation – I then used that energy to pursue something more exciting and compelling.
This process has led me to find several careers that have held great all consuming passion for me.
But it only starts when we stop passively waiting for passion to find us and we decide to bring passion to the work we do.
These are all INSIDE jobs.
What’s one area or project you could start on today that you KNOW would bring more joy, passion and purpose to your life?
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