What if… in the search for meaning and purpose in our lives, we are being guided towards learning the virtue of staying put and staying true. To choose again what we chose before — instead of always looking for that shiny new object.
We all know novelty works, but it only works for a certain amount of time. At some point, that shiny new object becomes not so shiny and new.
Sometimes, it’s not about pivoting and changing. It can also be about recommitting to something that was once important in your life. Something that you once loved with all of your heart.
If that love has waned, it’s easy to think it’s time to move on to something new. Yes, sometimes moving on is the right thing to do. Yet sometimes, finding meaning and purpose can be as easy as recommitting again to that thing you once loved. With new eyes. A new intention. More wisdom. And a whole new level of love.
Novelty Seeking And How It Relates To Your Purpose In Life
This epiphany came to me while reading the book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, and it made me think of this blog.
This love of mine has been a part of my life for over 12 years now. Over those 12 years, I have certainly had moments where my passion faded and I’ve had to recommit. Especially over the past 3 years and even more so when the travel industry got hit hard as a result of the pandemic.
When that passion waned, I thought I had to let this love of mine go and do something completely new. I wanted to feel like I was contributing to the evolution of humanity in a deeper way.
I started several new projects and when none of those really panned out, I began losing motivation to do much of anything. When we lose our purpose, we often lose our meaning in life and this has been a huge reality check for me.
As I sit here, I’m wondering if maybe those other projects didn’t work out because I was looking at things the wrong way. Maybe I don’t have to give up travel and this blog in order to be of service in the way that I desire. Maybe it’s just about recommitting to it with a new intention.
I am still inspired to travel — this will always be a huge love in my life — and I still love sharing what I’ve learned with others. I think what’s been missing from this blog for quite a while is more of my own voice. More of what I’ve been learning internally as well as what I’m learning externally.
I want to help people explore both their internal and external worlds to find their deepest excitement.
I thought in order to do that I had to start another blog (which I did at My Spirit Awakening) because what if people didn’t want to take the uncomfortable deep dive into their psyche to find out what makes them come alive? Or maybe it was just my excuse to keep those thoughts hidden from the majority of people. So I hid it away in a corner of the internet, never to really be seen.
The truth is, I feel extremely lucky to have found my passion and purpose so early in life and to be so successful at it. Yet at some point, I had decided I was going to throw it all away because I had temporarily lost that passion.
What Causes Us To Fall Out Of Love?
As I was sharing this revelation with a dear friend, she asked me what I thought causes us to fall out of love. And here’s what came to me. (This is obviously not true for every situation where we fall out of love, but it is very common.)
We are conditioned to think novelty is the answer to happiness in our lives. It is shoved down our throats everywhere in our culture.
Did you know the brain is built to ignore the old and focus on the new? Our brains are actually hardwired to seek novelty. Marketing experts and tech giants know this, which is why it surrounds us on a daily basis — especially with social media. The brain actually gets a dopamine hit when it sees something new.
Our non-stop craving for new things is messing with our daily lives and our long-term goals. It’s one of the reasons many people can’t focus and finish difficult tasks (that’s another topic for another day).
In addition to this, our culture is obsessed with self-centered achievement and we have taken individualism to the extreme.
The Fear Of Commitment
I think this is where the fear of commitment comes in for many of us. Commitment requires a little bit of selflessness. When you commit to something, you become a little less selfish and you continue to learn to be a little less selfish.
All of my life, I have been so afraid to commit fully to anything — jobs, a home, relationships, etc.
Commitment is a battle between the heart and the ego. When we take on responsibility for others it can feel like our freedom is being taken away — when in reality, that commitment sets us free. It gives us a sense of meaning and a sense of purpose.
I have always admired people who truly want to be of service. I feel like my selfishness has gotten in the way of that for a big portion of my life yet I never understood why I still yearned to be of service and commit if I felt like it would take away my freedom.
Now I realize why. It’s that sense of purpose and meaning I’ve been yearning for — which we inevitably feel when we are fully committing to something or someone we truly love.