Passion and Purpose for 2022


December 20, 2021

Writers: Sarah Mondoy
Editors: Alvin Joseph Mapoy, Azie Libanan, K Ballesteros
Researchers: Sarah Mondoy
Creatives: Jacklyn Moral and Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio
Moderators: Ian Stephen Velez, Marga Miñon, Pat Sevilla, Aiah Osano
Documentors: Raven Gavino
Spaces: Alvin Joseph Mapoy, Tobey Fhar Isaac Calayo, Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio


“Para kanino ka bumabangon?” A question from a familiar, famous coffee. How do we answer this question? Do we even have the right answer? In what ways does this question affect our daily lives?

Defining Passion and Purpose

Vallerand’s (2003) Dualistic Model defines passion as a strong inclination toward a self-defining activity that people like (or even love), find important, and in which they invest time and energy on a regular basis. The dualistic model proposes two types of passion: (1) harmonious and (2) obsessive [1].

Morales (2020) discussed the difference between the two types of passion in an article posted on Psychology Today. In harmonious passion (HP), an activity is integrated into the authentic self because it is highly valued, and the person chooses to engage of their own free will. Harmonious passion focuses on mastering the self  rather than controlling others. It is linked to the “flow state,” which happens when one is immersed in a task that leads to losing a sense of self. Activities counted as harmonious passion often feels effortless. It also reinforces psychological functioning, physical health and overall well-being [2].

Meanwhile, obsessive passion (OP) demands being obsessed with or being persistent on which one is passionate about. With OP, the activity overpowers the person. The sense of self-control is lost. OP makes the person reliant on what they are passionate about to produce feelings of self-worth. There is a need to focus on control over external factors.. Obsessive passion involves the ego and creates a rigidity when doing activities. This results in an inability to step away from the activity that can further affect interpersonal relationships. Generally, harmonious and obsessive passion predict our behavior. Our passions may also affect how we perceive ourselves and our sense of purpose.

In 2014, Larissa Rainey of the University of Pennsylvania explored the search of purpose, its definition, and the purpose of anxiety. According to Rainey, to understand the search for purpose, we must first understand purpose itself. From the various definitions of purpose that was explored, Rainey defined purpose as a consistent and central life aim that (1) makes use of an individual’s strengths, talents, skills, values and passions, (2) stimulates goals for the future which also influences an individual’s actions in the the present, (3) is at once personally meaningful and contributing to someone or something other than the self and (4) willingly fulfilled. Rainey mentioned that purpose can be viewed as an intrinsic motivation for meaningful goals that creates a pull to the future [3]

Passion and Purpose in the Pandemic

In a recent article released by BBC, Morgan (2021) discussed how workers have been affected by the pandemic. Most have lost interest in jobs they loved. Some workers were cognizant about the chosen careers but the pandemic forced the doubts and dreadful feelings of coming to work. For almost two years, many employees felt their love for work to deteriorate, while others are disappointed towards other people’s careers. Some disinterest was amplified. Many workers now seem to be having a tough time in their current profession because of the pandemic. It is really discouraging to come to work with a job that we no longer feel connected to.  The pandemic has caused plenty of downtime which resulted in waning interest [4].

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz of Harvard Business School discussed pivot points or situations in which individuals must decide what to do next. According to Fernandez-Araonz, the pandemic is an example of a pivot point that allowed us to redefine our future. Having been privileged to speak with more than 4,000 individuals, Fernadez-Araoz learned from each of their journeys and discovered how pivot points aid in the progress towards richer and more meaningful lives. He was able to come up with the 6Cs that are critical in finding our purpose and living a happier and more successful life. These are our (1) capabilities or talents that we already have, (2) connectivity which refers to the relationships that we have or we ought to build, (3) credibility, how we value the sense of integrity, (4) contemplation, an ability to step back and look at the bigger picture, (5) compassion, our positive ways of taking care of ourselves and even the people around us and (6) companions, vital people who are consistent and who make us happier and stronger [5].

Passion, Purpose and Well-Being

Researchers Philippe, Vallerand, & Lavigne (2009) examined the differences in wellbeing between passionate and non-passionate individuals of various age groups. They worked on correlating passion with (1) hedonic well-being which views well-being in terms of a person’s general happiness with their life and (2) eudaimonic well-being which views well-being in terms of self-realization and growth. The study supported the idea that being harmoniously passionate in activities contribute significantly both to hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Meanwhile, not being passionate or being obsessively passionate in an activity does not contribute to well-being at all. The results were the same for both women and men of all ages. The same study also showed that individuals who are harmoniously passionate experience an increase in subjective vitality or a sense of aliveness and energy over a 1-year period relative to obsessively passionate and non-passionate individuals. This was also true across ages and genders [6].

In 2013, Schaefer et al. researched about purpose in life and how it predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli. This research purpose further defined purpose as  the tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and possess a sense of intentionality and goal directedness that guides behavior. The researchers tested whether purpose in life was associated with better emotional recovery. By conducting an experiment where participants were exposed to negative picture stimuli. The eyeblink startle reflex (EBR) was utilized to measure sensitivity and emotional state. Results were differentiated from emotional reactivity and emotional recovery. As concluded in the research, greater purpose in life, assessed over two years prior, predicted better recovery from negative stimuli, even after controlling for initial reactivity to the stimuli during the picture presentation, gender, age, trait affect, and other well-being dimensions. These data suggest that having a purpose in life may protect and build recovery from negative stimuli. In  turn, purpose may also confer resilience through enhanced emotional regulation after being exposed to negative stimuli [7].

Ways to Find Fresh Passion and Purpose

In an article by Psychology Today, Susan Biali Haas, M.D. talked about her own journey in finding her passion and purpose in her many years of practice as a professional [8]. Here are some of her suggestions:

  1. Be curious, pay attention, and be open to new things

Leave space for wonder. Let us entertain the child in us who is always fascinated with new things. Be open to opportunities and possibilities that will come along the way. In a time of uncertainty, we never know what’s ahead of us, but being open will allow us to know ourselves better.

  1. Watch for needs and causes that you are passionate about

There are causes that we are willing to fight for no matter what. Let us find the needs and causes that actually make an impact not only to ourselves but also to others. What improves us in all aspects may also boost other people’s lives.

  1. Look back at your childhood for inspiration

“When I grow up, I want to be a dentist.” Can you still recall what you wanted to be back in preschool? We might find interesting things that we were obsessed about when we were younger that may strike the inspiration of what we want to pursue.

  1. Notice and pursue activities that make you lose track of time

When we lose ourselves in an activity, it means that we should do it more often. These are called flow-producing activities that improve our well-being. This was also further discussed in the book Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

  1. Start small and keep it fun

Working on our passion does not need to be grand. With all that has happened in the past year, we can work on small things at a time. We can choose to do something that we really love to, what we can make time for and is manageable. Doing things in small amounts but regularly will make a great impact to make us feel better.

  1. Protect what matters by making it a priority

One of the effects of the pandemic is that it highlighted our priorities and values. With this, we can focus on what we recently discovered as priorities. It is also important to keep these priorities in mind so we can protect it and behave in a way that we are truly passionate about.

Passion, Purpose, and Permissions

We are nearing the end of another year. This means that we are about to face a new one. A new year paves way to new beginnings and new chapters in our lives. With the forced pause and the months of being stuck at home, beyond the struggles of daily life, we were also challenged to take time and look within ourselves.  The pandemic may have been a negative force in our health, but it also paved a way for us to check how we’re doing with our lives. We may be pressured or anxious to pursue whatever path we are in, but our passion and purpose serves as a guide to build our strength, courage, resiliency and our overall well-being. Though it may be a blur at times, let us allow ourselves to acknowledge the blurs as part of the process. Your #UsapKada is here to remind everyone of the permissions we take in our daily lives. Finding our passion and purpose begins in self-awareness followed by our intrinsic motivation. As Bob Moawad, author of Whatever it Takes, said in his book, “he best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”.  Let us journey together in finding our why’s and slowly figure out the hows.

Guide Questions:

  1. How do you define passion and purpose?
  2. How did the pandemic affect your passion and purpose?
  3. How can we reignite our passion and purpose for 2022?


[1] Vallerand R.J. (2016) The Dualistic Model of Passion: Theory, Research, and Implications for the Field of Education. In: Liu W., Wang J., Ryan R. (eds) Building Autonomous Learners. Springer, Singapore.


[2] Morales CHt./EFT, J. (2020). Two Types of Passion: Harmonious vs. Obsessive. Retrieved 15 December 2021, from


[3] Rainey, Larissa, “The Search for Purpose in Life: An Exploration of Purpose, the Search Process, and Purpose Anxiety” (2014). Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects. 60.


[4] Morgan, K. (2021). Why so many workers have lost interest in their jobs. Retrieved 16 December 2021, from


[5] Fernández-Aráoz, C. (2021). Reigniting Your Purpose in the Wake of the Pandemic. Retrieved 16 December 2021, from


[6] Philippe, F., Vallerand, R., & Lavigne, G. (2009). Passion Does Make a Difference in People’s Lives: A Look at Well-Being in Passionate and Non-Passionate Individuals. Applied Psychology: Health And Well-Being, 1(1), 3-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2008.01003.x


[7] Schaefer SM, Morozink Boylan J, van Reekum CM, Lapate RC, Norris CJ, et al. (2013) Purpose in Life Predicts Better Emotional Recovery from Negative Stimuli. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80329. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080329


[8]Haas, M.D., S. (2021). 6 Ways to Find Fresh Passion and Purpose. Retrieved 13 December 2021, from


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