Several years ago, right around the time that Simon Sinek gave his famous
“Start With Why” Ted Talk, people were talking about the importance of having a purpose.
Something that guides your life.
Something that gives you excitement to get out of bed in the morning.
Or as Tony Robbins would say, something you are PASSIONATE about.
And it is, in my opinion, important to have this “thing that keeps you going” in life- so you don’t get bored and restless, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
And then, there was a backlash to all this thinking about purpose.
I started seeing articles like “Following your passion is Bullshit!” (just do a search on this and you will see the flood of videos and articles)
The reason, they say, it’s bullshit, is that “passion” doesn’t pay your rent.
I agree. Following your bliss or passion is not the answer.
For example, what if you’re passionate about video games? Good luck making money from that! (yes I’m aware of Twitch, I’m also aware that some people who play basketball make it to the NBA)
So what do you do then? You’re not excited about your work, but you have to pay the bills.
Your passion doesn’t pay anything. It’s more of a hobby.
I contend that you still need a single driving purpose to be fulfilled in life. This could be temporary.
Maybe it’s for a few months. Or a year, or two.
In fact, short term projects like this are probably healthier in the long run. It’s much easier for the human mind to think it terms of short term, then things like “What do I want to do with my life?”
Instead of applying all this mental pressure and stress to yourself to figure “everything” out, you can much more easily start small and short term.
Let’s say you’re like me, and your #1 value in life and priority is freedom.
You can think that work takes away that freedom. Ahhh but this is not true!
Work can be the guide I mentioned above, and whatever you start doing can lead you to more freedom and fulfillment.
Rather than thinking of work as a separate, dreaded necessary evil in your life, it can be a puzzle that melds into your life, and it becomes a fun challenge instead of a chore.
Let’s say you found yourself broke and alone one day, with no job. Envision this, think of all the feelings you would experience- shock, sadness, despair…maybe it would feel like a sock to the gut.
Really try to feel what it would feel like.
Then, what would be your first step in bringing yourself out of this situation? And the second? And third?
How will you get back on your feet in your life?
And how can you reframe the situation in your mind? Is it really so terrible that you have nothing? Or is this an amazing opportunity?
Can you picture the stories you will have later, when you’ve been able to make a comeback?
The book, The Power of Broke, by Daymond John, can help you with this exercise. The author discusses how the hunger for success can become your greatest asset.
Then, have fun with what you can do.
You may have to spend a bit of time working in some job you don’t love, like washing dishes…to earn enough for rent + a computer.
Then, you can start building, in your off time.
Here’s a great post by Sean Ogle on 17 businesses you can start online with no prior experience (I’ve started 3 of these!):
17 Work from Home Jobs You Can Do From Your Couch (Or Anywhere Else in the World)
Can you start to feel the excitement?
Now it’s time to use that power, even if you’re not currently broke- to put your passion, purpose, calling or why into your first step.
Oh, you’re not passionate about anything but your hobbies? Bullshit! If that’s what you’re telling yourself, you will lead a dull, pointless life with no excitement or adventures.
If you have to, make yourself excited about something, even if it means you earn just $1 in your first month.
Getting paid can lead to more interest and excitement. And $1 is infinitely better than $0, as I discussed in my article on earning your first $1 online.
Then you start to get excited about the process (building, putting the puzzle together), instead of the end result (laying in a hammock on a tropical beach)…and one thing leads to the next, and the next.
Your action steps, not your thinking or “following your passion” or books you read on the topic, will get you to this place of a motivating purpose.
Enjoy (and learn from) the process!