It is becoming more obvious to me that as we age, our purpose in life feels more pressing and timely. Some people are not concerned with finding their purpose and continue on the treadmill of life and that works for them. Others prefer to run on the rugged terrain exploring what gives them a sense of passion and flow. Following a purpose in life can bring happiness. It is well supported and falls along the idea that ‘money can’t buy you happiness’. Being a physician and knowing physicians on a personal level, I know this to be true. Why is finding your purpose, passion and flow important?
Brendon Burchard, an expert on motivation and leadership, created this short video titled “Caged, Comfortable or Charged – Which Life is Yours?”. In it he provides some insight into living a life with passion, despite the work and bumps along the way. Someone living a caged life feels trapped with no options. The reality is we all have choices and makes choices, even though they can be difficult and uncertain. Living a comfortable life is what we all strive for – having everything we need – financial stability, a career and a family. But there comes a point where the comfortable life might not be enough, and the search begins for living a charged life filled with more passion. This is also known as being in a state of flow.
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, known for his research in positive psychology, coined the term ‘flow’. Flow is akin to ‘being in the groove’, a high level of engagement driven by intrinsic motivation. His research supported the notion that the happiest people are in a state of flow. Personally, I know this to be true. My internal drive to blog, inspire, motivate and educate comes from within me without financial gain being the determining factor. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to stay on track, and the results are not obvious overnight, but the meaningful results are worth it.
How do you uncover your purpose, passion and flow?
The first point I want to make is that life is fluid, and so is what motivates and inspires us and gives us meaning. When you set out for self-reflection try to be kind to yourself and allow space to explore without judgment.
1) Spend time with yourself – It may be through meditation, walking, sitting in nature, sipping a latte in a coffee shop, etc. – wherever you can foster the relationship with YOU.
2) Expand your knowledge through reading – Read blogs, books, newspapers, articles, Twitter, or whatever avenue you enjoy. Through this process you will see what you are drawn to.
3) Consider education and learning lifelong – If you are interested in something, can you learn more about it? Do you prefer to learn online or in person? Is there a course/class/conference accessible to you?
4) Look for a role model/mentor – Is there someone who really inspires you? Is there someone who brings out the best in you? It could be someone famous or someone next door.
5) Search out like-minded people – This is where the cyber world opens us up to so many opportunities to connect and reach out to people all over the world. Take advantage of it!
With an open mind and open heart, you may find purpose, passion and flow in your everyday life.
Have you ever followed a path toward passion and meaning? What was the outcome?