I was listening to Andrew Conway from Pangea Wealth Management today as he spoke about his ‘Why’. He was referencing Simon Sinek’s concept from the book ‘Start With Why’ which says that we need to work out, and then talk about, why we do things, rather than launching straight into what we do.

He spoke about his mum and his childhood, but it’ll be different for each of us obviously.

What are you willing to suffer for?

The phrase that really stuck with me though was right at the beginning when he referenced the Passion of the Christ film and challenged us to define the word ‘passion’. We struggled. Andrew said that our passion is the thing that we are willing to suffer for and I realised how much I agreed with him.

I often talk to people about what’s important to them, what their values are. It’s the bedrock of why we do anything: making decisions, choosing particular paths, connecting with likeminded people. Sometimes I help people to identify these things by talking about what makes them angry. Anger breeds passion to change things and often this is because it is not in line with what is important to us, and therefore it’s ‘wrong’. Often this passion will then lead us to do things to rectify matters, which will cost us in time, money or energy; we ‘suffer’ in some way.

So instead of asking people “What makes you angry?” to help them unlock their values, I think I might start asking “What are you willing to suffer for?”

This will obviously lead to follow-up questions along the lines of:

  • How much of your time is devoted to these things?  (It’s surprising how many people quote a frighteningly small number here)
  • How are your decisions promoting these values? (And again, many people don’t consciously consider this)
  • What do you want to do differently to align your actions more closely with what you are passionate about? (Alternatively, what are you going to sacrifice/give up/stop doing to focus on your passions?)

Once we start focussing on our passions, we start to enjoy life more, become more productive and are definitely more attractive members of society.