Passion, Purpose and the Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Holidays friend, Around this time a year, I enjoy asking myself, "Am I where I need to be…

Happy Holidays friend,

Around this time a year, I enjoy asking myself, "Am I where I need to be right now?".

This is especially the case this year, as I've made a lot of drastic lifestyle changes, and find that this year (26) is really pivotal.

For me, this process of reflection is more of a spiritual/emotional process where I really ponder, and ask myself deep questions to surface what lifestyle changes I need to make in order to fine-tune my life, to ultimately live in alignment with my truest or realest self.

What is living in alignment?

Let's dive right in...

We are all different.

Each of us is biologically configured differently then the next person.

Call it DNA. Call it something else. Whatever. None of my stuff is scientifically proven, so I wont bother trying to find scientifically-accurate tokens for anything.

What is your ultimate role on this planet?

Too deep?

I don't think so. I think this question should be common-speak.

It would change the narrative from get good grades in all these random subjects that you don't care about, to let's focus on what you're meant to do here while you're here so you're ultimately fulfilled.

Holacracy practitioners call this Role-Sole fit.

I think it's something worth adopting as a society.

I know that I've made a commitment to myself that I will only work-with / hire folks that are passionate and purposeful about their lives.

Hopefully others will follow suit.

Go for your passionate

Are you somebody that wants to clock in and clock-out 9-5, go home, eat dinner, maybe go to the gym, and do it all over again, for 40 years of your life, and then retire?

I totally get that thats the norm. But I think if you ask a child this question, 10 out of 10 times they will say no.

If you ask a college student, they will say they're trying to figure things out (in most cases).

If you ask someone in there mid-thirties, they will say, it is what it is.

If you ask someone in a retirement home, they will tell you they have regrets.

Do you want that person to be you?

Right, I didn't think so.

Go for epic, man.

Don't settle for average.

Because if you settle for average, I promise you, your soul will die a little bit, everyday.

And everyone can go for epic.

So why shouldn't you?

Why is there no pressure from society to be passionate?

Because it didn't fit the mold of how the system worked.

That's right. Worked. Past-tense.

Passionate people used to be threats to corporations that merely needed knowledge-workers. Or what Seth Godin calls, "The factory-worker economy".

But today, times have changed.

You can't survive without passionate people in your organizations.

There are 100-person teams of firey/passionate folks that are disrupting entire industries with corporations of 60,000 people.

I personally was working for the opposition earlier in my life when I worked at ADP Innovation Lab. An internal startup-type lab that's sole purpose was to defend against firey-passionate people at competing startups.

How did they defend against firey-passionate people?

By hiring other firey-passionate people.

And the main reason that was the case, is because of of course, technology.

Because technology can automate so much of what used to be manual labor, a team of super talented / passionate people, can displace huge corporations that are structured for the old economy.

Further, we don't need people to be doing simple tasks, that they are clearly not passionate about.

We have machines for that.

With these disruptive changes happening in the global economy, there will literally be no choice but for people to step up, and go after their passions.

Passion is the New Rich

Okay, not quite, but let me explain.

Passion alone won't pay the bills.

But merely having lots of money won't make you rich either.

Let me explain :).

There are plenty of people out there that have tons of money, but are miserable.

Would you consider them "rich"?

I wouldn't.

I think we should revisit the definition of rich.

My new age definition of rich is as follows:

  1. Finances (Money/resources) - of course this is the most standard definition.
  2. Human connections
  3. Experiences
  4. Passion for the work you do

I think if you're definition of being rich is purely a financial one, I have good news, there's more to life.

Money is good, but after a certain point ($75k/year in America), it doesn't add nearly as much value, and actually could have adverse/devastating effects on your personal life, if you don't have the proper maturity to handle that money in the first place.

That was definitely the case for me earlier in my life - when I was 23 - and used my money for validation. Bad move.

The narrative needs to change ladies and gentleman. Especially if YOU want to live the "richest" life possible.

Our parents generation (the baby boom) did great. They sacrificed a lot, worked there asses off to try to "make it" financially, and provided us a very comfortable life.

Now that we have the first two levels of Maslows covered in the western world, let's focus on the important things to make our own lives, and this planet a "richer" experience for all that pass through.

Purpose: the Highest-Level of Passion

The best part about passion, is that you feel like you're fulfilling your purpose on this planet. And that alone makes for a great life.

(This far exceeds financial benefit of working merely for cash and status)

This is the Self-Actualization part of the pyramid above.

In this part of the triangle, you're so passionate about what you are contributing that you feel that it's literally the reason for your existence.

And when you get to this level, I believe the benefits FAR exceed the benefits of pure monetary capital... which is, of course, an external resource.

Passion is internal.

You may be able to take my fancy car, or fancy apartment away from me, but you literally can't take my passion.

And because of that intimacy, it's worth far more. As with most things in life intimacy prevails. After all, you want money, so that you can treat your spouse to a nice intimate dinner.

It all comes back to the basics.

Happiness

Happiness is the ultimate feeling.

It's a response stimuli from your brain that tells you, "Nice work bud."

The better you treat yourself, the happier you will be.

It's not an external thing... if you don't want it to be.

You can literally choose to be happy.

It's a choice.

My happiness is a huge result of me consciously and incessantly reviewing the things that make me happy and adding more of those things into my life, and constantly reviewing what's getting in the way of my happiness and ruthlessly removing those things from my life.

I highly advocate for this way of thinking, because every time you say no, you create a new opportunity to say yes. And vice-versa.

Meaning, you have this limited resource on this planet called time. If I say yes to do something, that means I have to say no to something else.

So for example, if you got fired from a job. You really should say Thank You to your employer. Clearly you weren't passionate about that job. He/she did you a favor.

They made the decision for you because you had fears or whatever stopping you from making the decision you know you needed to make yourself.

Say thank you for them freeing up your time.

Now go find your passion.

Concluding notes

Living a life of passion is the true formula of a rich life. The key is to identify what you're passionate about, strive to connect the dots for how you can turn that passion into value, and find a place or method to monetize it. Sometimes this process is straight-forward. Sometimes it's not.

If it's hard, the reward will be greater. Get ready to put a dent in the world.

Further, the ethical way to achieving material wealth and success is a result of identifying your passions and pursuing them.

And lastly, there's nothing about any of the aforementioned that is not attainable to anyone.

Personal Update

This post wasn't as personal and transparent as usual. I think it's partly because I've been living in New York for awhile, so naturally my guard is more up.

That's changing, soon... =)

Although I have a lovely setup in SoHo / Chinatown / Tribeca at the moment... I am finally seeing my dreams through and moving to Venice Beach, Los Angeles in February!

I can't explain the magnitude of this announcement, as this move to Cali has been almost 5 years in the dream factory.

To infinity and beyond,

Tom