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The Difference Between Passion & Purpose For College Students

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Now more than ever, society pressures us into finding our passion. And as a college student, we are constantly surrounded by peers doing just that. They know exactly which classes, organizations, internships and volunteer opportunities they need in order to find passion post-college. Or so we think.

Society is persistently telling us that if we are not passionate about what we do, we won’t be happy. And in contrast, if we do pursue our passion, we won’t have to work a day in our lives. Because passion should be an effortless feat that results in a flow of money and happiness, right? Then why are we constantly at a standstill? Watching others pursue their passions while we sit with our head in our hands staring at a blank page and a dull pencil. That’s because there is a significant difference between passion and purpose. A difference between what you love to do and what you were wired to do. A difference between what infatuates you and what innate talents you possess.

Stop basing your purpose off of others

There’s a fine line between finding inspiration and judging your purpose against the purpose of others. Today we have the ability to experience the lives of others through different social media outlets, blogs, websites, documentaries and more. We also have the ability to use the access to such information to inspire us or to point us in the wrong direction.

Scroll through instagram and you witness classmates, sorority sisters and peers using their gifts to provide water to third world countries, to travel the world photographing every mountain peak and every wave, to share their beauty tips through a viral YouTube channel. We believe these are the type of passions we need to have in order to be successful and happy. But we ultimately, those are not our talents or gifts, those are theirs, and just because we don’t have a following that makes our passion seem real, we still have a purpose to fulfill.

Figure out what you’re willing to sacrifice

In order to find out what your purpose is, get off your phone, off the social media outlets, the blogs, the websites, and focus on what struggle and sacrifice you are willing to tolerate. What are you willing to stay up all night for? What are you willing to put off having a family for? What are you willing to break down and cry for? That is your purpose and it will involve sacrifice.

Just because you love something, doesn’t mean you will be making a life of it. Although you find yourself enjoying your Tuesday night Salsa lessons that doesn’t mean that that will be your purpose. Although you find yourself enjoying the blankets you knit each month that doesn’t mean that that will be your purpose. Keep them as hobbies but unless you’re able to stay up all night to focus on the nitty gritty of those professions, then they are not your purpose.

Utilize the resources you have on campus to immerse yourself in an excessive amount of opportunities. Feel a draw to a certain organizations mission and vision? Join one of their committees. Feel a love for a local animal shelter? Attend their volunteer open houses. Feel an interest developing in graphic design? Meet with a professor in that field and try out their class. College is an ideal time to dabble in several different passions in order to help yourself find your purpose.

When you do come across those innate talents and abilities that are wired within you in order to succeed, take the time to get feedback. Ask someone with a completely unbiased opinion to look at your work and critique. Ask a stranger in the coffee shop or your MBA class to look at our work and critique. Continuously gather input.

Take action

Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, stop thinking about it, take a risk and make the first step. The more you allow yourself to think about the next step, the more you will convince yourself not to take it. Instead, choose to engage in your purpose. You do so through daily actions, daily task completions and daily conversations.

Life is to be lived intentional and with purpose. Everyone’s purpose is different. We were all wired in our own specific and powerful ways and it’s important to know what our purpose is in order for us to make the biggest splash possible. Your purpose won’t be effortless, it may not result in money and happiness at first, but I assure you, it will be worth it.

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