Every quarter I ask my students an essential question. This question guides the purpose for the materials we read and the discussions we have as well what we journal about. I decided to apply this method to the writer side of me and ask myself an essential question. This question had to be one that is not related to my teaching career but one that will reignite my creative writing career. One that will keep the motivation going when abandoning my writing is too tempting.
Essential Question: Do you follow your passion or your purpose?
We are often passionate about a lot of things. And that’s great! Believe me, as a Gemini, I have a lot of interests that I can easily devote my time and energy to, but is it my purpose? Following a passion is easy. It brings immediate gratification. Much like how our phones bring us instant gratification for what we are doing in the moment. It’s a tough question to answer honestly, but you must ask, does this passion serve my purpose? If the answer is no, then we’ve got some work to do. For me, I am now asking myself, does this passion serve my purpose? Is it serving in a way that gives me a mental break from writing, aka my purpose? Does it busy my time to the point of depleting my energy which doesn’t support my purpose?
Following your purpose is counter-cultural. Culture tells us, just like I was told, and bought into, that there is a path in life. This path is an obligation and the only way to success and happiness is by following this formulaic path. As a culture we allow this path to dictate what is normal, what it means to “pay our dues” to chase after the elusive work-life balance, and it often dictates measurements of success. This path is easy to follow because countless generations have taken it and passed on this ideology to the next generation. Just because this path is deeply woven into our culture and into our families, it doesn’t mean it’s satisfying.
So, don’t take this path just because others are telling you this is the way things are done, that this is the only way to have success or happiness in your career. Allow yourself to make your own path if it nourishes your purpose. Your purpose is worth your time. As for those things that you are passionate about, keep the ones that support your purpose. When you are living in your purpose, you can freely give more time to your passions without depleting the time and energy needed for your purpose. Be like Robert Frost and take [the road] “less traveled by” and let it make all the difference in your life.
I’d love to hear from you! What are you passionate about? What is your purpose in life? How did you come about finding your purpose? Do you separate passion from purpose?