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Purpose in Life Totally Falling Apart? This Could Be Why…


A new concept of ​​contemporary psychology explains why we sometimes give up on our passion in life.

In our own time and even for some time past, a trend within culture has invited us to discover our passion in life. Such a suggestion is offered in contrast to the routines to which we can sometimes fall victim, domesticated by the regular rhythms of work, socializing, daily occupations, family obligations, etc. Faced with the risk of such monotony, some perspectives will urge us to experiment until we find something which gives us a certain enthusiasm for existence. And this, against all odds, seems to run the risk of being diluted day by day, until it’s a little more in line with all of our other occupations.

Sports, spiritual disciplines, art, or the development of some personal project; these are but a few of the ways presented to us to dabble in and to try. Perhaps we’ve tried one for a while, but it so happens that within a few weeks or months we discover that we’re not entirely convinced or satisfied. We’ll then abandon that which at first seemed to be an activity entirely appropriate to us.

Why does this happen? Do some people simply lack passion for life? How many times do we need to experiment before we find that thing for which we were made?

One answer to all these questions can be found in the concept of ​​ “implicit theories of interest” in contemporary psychology. The notion roughly considers that the interests we may have in something (a subject, a purpose, a challenge, etc.) are maintained if we’re able to consider their circumstances as part of the broad process of learning, effort, and the co-probability of our failure as equal to our achievement.

Carol Dweck and Gregory Walton are two psychologists from Stanford University who have explored these ideas within very particular behaviors. In their research, they discovered that those people who tend to consider an interest or a talent as “a fixed quality,” inherent to their personalities, are therefore more inclined to abandon pursuits derived from such interests or talents in the face of the first difficulties they encounter. According to the researchers, this may be because the skill in question was developed with the idea of a search for external validation. This, when not present, causes people to disengage early from their own efforts.

In contrast, when we consider any project or interest as an opportunity to personally grow, develop or improve, it contributes to a person’s conviction. One tends to value one’s own efforts and their results, little by little, according to Dweck and Walton.

This approach can help us to change the ideas we have about our passions in life. Rather than waiting for applause, achievement, or triumph, perhaps any intent can be undertaken and sustained simply by realizing it, pouring our energy, along with our desire, and our will, into it.

In a sense, this is in itself the necessary disposition for maintaining our enthusiasm for life.

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