Passion and Purpose

By Jim Selman | Bio

I was working on the design of a course the other day and musing about what would someone in my circumstances want to ‘get’ from a workshop about ‘designing the rest of my life’. When I began to think about it, I realized I’m happy and okay financially. I have lots of friends and family and experience lots of love. I am still engaged in my career and have numerous outlets for my creative impulses. All in all, I can’t think of much that I want that I don’t have or couldn’t easily acquire. But the one thing that did occur to me is that I would like to have the kind of passion I felt in the ‘70s when we were crusading for civil rights, campaigning for peace, and bringing down those who supported the war in Viet Nam. It was the kind of passion I saw again in Chicago as Obama became our president elect.

This is not to say I don’t get turned on about the subjects I work on—I do, but usually when working and in front of a room. I don’t wake up into that kind of focused passion and profound sense of purpose and confidence—I don’t experience that feeling of “I am doing the right thing and it will make a difference” getting out of bed in the morning.

Of course, I ‘know’ that the kind of passion I am talking about isn’t something that comes ‘from’ the cause or the circumstances I’m involved with. Passion is something we must generate and then bring to our circumstances. Likewise, a purpose for living doesn’t come to us from the sky. Purpose must also be created from within and then become a context for our day-to-day actions (and not some abstract goal or destination).

So why am I not creating that kind of passion and purpose?

© 2008 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.