Have you ever told yourself or been told by others that you “should find your passion” or “rediscover your passion”? Read on to find out why Dr Demartini encourages you to rather find your “inspired mission” and shows you how to get started on your inspired and mission filled journey.
Passion or mission?
I love the study of etymology. Ever since I was very young, I’ve loved looking up the etymology of words to discover what they originally meant.
If you google the word “passion”, you’ll see that it comes from the word “pati” and “passio”, which originally meant “to suffer”.
The term “compassion” thus means “to suffer with another”.
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In my mind, “passions” are very different from having an inspired purpose or mission.
The etymology of the word “mission” means “to release or send forth”.
I often say to people that those with a mission have a message. As such, I believe that:
- An “inspired mission” refers to an INTRINSIC calling where you’re inspired spontaneously to act from within – without need of any external rewards or punishments; while
- A “passion” indicates an EXTRINSICALLY derived reaction where the world runs you from the outside by offering you an intense seeking reward or avoiding punishment to externally motivate you – for example, pride, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, and wrath.
Why do some people become a slave to their passions while others become a master of an inspired mission?
Knowing and living congruently with your HIGHEST values is key to living with an inspired mission.
I rarely do a presentation or write an article without talking about VALUES because I’m certain that values are the foundation of human behavior.
Like for you , each individual has, a unique set of priorities, or values that you and they live life by. Whatever is highest on your list of values, the thing that is most important in your life, you tend to be spontaneously inspired from within to do and to fulfill. You are not likely to need any extrinsic motivation or motivation from the outside to get you to do it.
Think of a young boy who loves playing online games. He’ll find every opportunity to play them without being asked, reminded or incentivized. When asked to do his chores or finish his homework, he may need external motivation to get those done.
So, whatever your highest value, your telos, or your end in mind is, that’s the most meaningful, most purposeful, most inspiring, most fulfilling, and most empowering thing you can do.
Attempting to live by your LOWER values or priorities:
If and when you attempt to live your life according to your lower values on your list of priorities, you will tend to require greater degrees of extrinsic motivation to get you to do so. When you do, instead of your blood, glucose and oxygen going into your forebrain, which is where you see a vision that is inspiring to you, where you strategically plan how to achieve, where you mitigate risks and find solutions, and where you execute those strategies and solutions, the blood, glucose and oxygen go into the amygdala and the hindbrain, where trial and error based hindsight, not foresight rules your life.
Your amygdala is also your desire center and not your executive center, which is the forebrain. The desire center seeks that which is pleasure and avoids that which is pain. In doing so, the amygdala tries to separate pleasure from pain while the executive center embraces them both and sees both as being essential in the pursuit of your inspired mission.
Imagine, as an example, that you are out there in the wild seeking prey for food while also having no predator. You would be likely to diminish your fitness because you would more gluttonously eat. Having a predator present would likely result in your eating just enough to maintain or sustain maximum life and fitness, but not too much where you would become slow and fat, and an easy target for a predator.
So, maximum development and fitness occur at the border of support and challenge, prey and predator, positives and negatives, pleasures and pains.
When you live in your highest value, which is your inspired mission, you tend to embrace both of them more objectively.
Objectivity means “even-minded, balanced minded, neutral”. However, if you are functioning from down in your amygdala, trying to avoid one side and seek the other, trying to avoid the predator and seek the prey, you’re not likely to maximize your potential. Instead, you’re likely to be looking for a fantasy – a pleasure without a pain, which is unobtaininble.
As the Buddha says, the desire for that which is unobtainable, pleasure without pain, and the desire to avoid that which is unavoidable, pain without pleasure, is the source of human suffering. And this form of suffering is the source of word passion.
So, when you are functioning from your survival based amygdala and living by lower values, you’re also most likely to be subject to passions – infatuation with somebody, craving for food, or uncontrollable rage towards anyone that challenges you.
I’m certain that these passions are ungoverned reactions to external stimuli that you see in an imbalanced way.
When you’re infatuated with someone, you are conscious of their upsides and unconscious of their downsides.
When you’re resentful to someone, you are conscious of the downsides and unconscious of the upsides.
In both cases, you have an incomplete awareness and are not fully conscious. However, when you live in alignment or congruently with your highest values and activate your executive center and your inspired mission, you’re more likely to be fully conscious of the pros and cons, positives and negatives, and advantages and disadvantages and embrace them both in your more meaningful pursuit.
You’ll also tend to manage more effectively what leadership roles demand, which is embracing both sides of your life’s events neutrally. Hence, you will have less fear of losing any impulsive fantasy and less fear of gaining any instinctual nightmare.
Instead, you can perceive people and events more resiliently and adaptively and wake up your creative genius, while pursuing challenges that inspire you, and thereby accomplish something that contributes to the planet as an inspired mission, thereby “sending forth” your message into the world.
Avoiding the very thing you need to get ahead – the CHALLENGE.
When your attempt to live in your lower values, and seek pleasure and avoid pain, you activate your amygdala which results in immediate gratifying addictive behaviors and consumptions.
As a result, instead of having a mission that serves people that builds a brand that makes you wealthy, you may find that you keep banging your head against the wall, trying to get ahead but not being able to because of ungoverned impulses and consumptions. Why?
Because you keep trying to avoid the very thing that you need to get ahead – the challenge – and instead become a slave to your passions.
Anything you infatuate with occupies space and time in your mind.
Anything you resent occupies space and time in your mind.
You have probably been in a situation where you’ve been highly infatuated with someone and couldn’t sleep at night or felt resentful towards someone and couldn’t sleep because they were occupying your mind.
Anytime you have an imbalanced perspective or a subjectively biased, distorted perception of your reality, it’s likely to occupy space and time in your mind and be stored in your subconscious mind.
Your subconscious mind stores all conscious or unconscious splits and causes you to avoid and seek, and therefore be externally driven and run by ungoverned polarized emotional reactions.
Extrinsic motivation is a symptom – never a solution – for mastery.
You may end up becoming a slave to your passions because when you’re infatuated with someone, and you minimize yourself to them, you are likely to want to change yourself to be more like them.
When you resent someone, you tend to want to change them to be more like you.
Anytime you try to change yourself and live outside your own highest values and in somebody else’s highest values or try to get other people to live in your highest values away from their highest values, you will experience futility.
So, passions are futile, but inspired and meaningful missions are utile.
Utile means “utility”, where you contribute and go out and make a difference in the world. You also awaken your highest value, which is unique to you, allowing you to be an individual, the essence of your being, instead of just existing and surviving.
If you live congruently with your highest value, you end up thriving.
If you attempt to live according to your lower values, you end up only surviving.
Surviving with your passions is not the way to become a master of your mission or to master your own life.
So, when you hear self-help people encouraging you to “find your passion”, you might consider replacing the word with “inspired mission”.
I’m a man on a mission, not a man with just a set of passions. I’m not interested in being governed by the outside world, being reactive, and getting out of control and distracted. That takes no effort. It does, however, take effort to have a unique and inspired mission and live authentically in a world attempting to make you conform or just fit in.
The challenge is that many people don’t want to put in an effort but instead want an easy ride towards an unattainable fantasy.
In my mind, the work is more than worth it because the fulfillment of living congruently with your highest value, doing something that contributes a service and getting remunerated for it with sustainable fair exchange is one of the most fulfilling things an individual can do.
When you make a contribution, and spread and exemplify that as a possibility for other human beings, it draws and synchronizes people, places, things, ideas, and events into your life to help you fulfill your mission while also inspiring them to carry on with theirs.
- If you want to go out and do something amazing with your life, it is wise to prioritize your daily actions and live congruently with your true highest value(s).
- People who are clear about their mission tend to go farther, set real objectives, not fantasies, accomplish and achieve more and have more fulfillment.
- Fill your day with high priority actions, activate your executive center and, become the executive so you can be paid more, have more self-worth, have more fulfillment, wake up your leadership, you’re not likely to be subject to the external world running your life.
- If you want to run your own life, prioritize your daily actions according to you highest values – your inspired mission.
- If you want other people to run your life, allow your passions to run wild.
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About Dr John Demartini:
Dr. John Demartini, is a human behavior specialist, a polymath, philosopher, international speaker and published author. He has recently been awarded the IAOTP Top Human Behavior Specialist of the Year as well as the IAOTP Lifetime Achievement Award.
His work is a summation of over 299 different disciplines synthesized from the greatest minds in most fields of study today. His extensive curriculum focuses on helping purpose driven individuals master their lives so that they are able to more extensively serve humanity with their inspired vision and mission.