Passion used to be my buzzword. I told everyone that I was passionate about education and teaching. I thought that was really cool, and set me apart from people who teach “only as a job”.

Media loves and glorifies passion. Passion is the stuff that shows up on American Idols, in TED Talks, in stirring speeches. It gets your heart pumping. Passionate people usually looks great.

As I grow older, I began to realize that passion, for all its allure, is hard to maintain. Sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Or maybe there was a major setback. Or maybe you lost something or someone precious to you…

My point is, life is not rosy everyday. We all experience ups and downs. It can be very hard to ignite my passion in something when I am feeling down, even when I really believe in that thing.

Purpose, on the other hand, is something more immovable. It is something that gives me meaning in what I do, whether I feel like it or not.

If passion is the feeling of cooling breeze in my face when I cycle, purpose is the place I want to go. Cooling breeze is enjoyable and it can be the reason I go out to cycle today. But when I am feeling under the weather, I won’t find the cooling breeze enjoyable.

But if I still want to go to a place, I will pull on a jacket and go cycle anyway.

How is this related to learning?

If you are passionate about learning, your passion might get dampened when you fail a test, or when someone tells you that you suck at it, or when you are faced with something extremely hard. You may want to give up, if the passion is gone for too long. Maybe you will start thinking, I can find my passion else where.

If your purpose in learning is clear, you will not mind whether you are cruising or struggling. If things go well, you are happy. If things do not go well, you may be unhappy, but your purpose remains unchanged.

Your purpose requires you to rise above your feelings, which is fleeting, and temporary.

Purpose eats passion for breakfast.

What is your purpose?

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