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Conventional motivational wisdom preaches the importance of finding your passion, discovering and doing the things you love to do (even feel born to do) as the key to success and happiness.

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I disagree. Success and happiness are not about discovering, learning and loving what you do. They’re about discovering, learning and loving who you are. (These are NOT the same things!) The keys to success and happiness are internal, never external. The treasures they are meant to unlock are not out there with some sacred purpose or the “love of our life,” but within our own respective hearts, our true, inner selves.

It’s far more important to love who you are, than it is to love what you do or what you have, because the latter are, by nature, temporary, not meant to last. And when what you do, no matter how important or how successfully, is done, where is the love? When there are no more championships, hit records, business deals, starring film roles, rungs on the corporate ladder, grand missions to fulfill, children to raise, peaks to conquer—what happens? Without self love, usually emptiness, self-medication (with sex, drugs, food, alcohol, etc.), self-loathing, self-destruction.

There is no lasting success and happiness without active, continual, intentional and unconditional self love. Success and happiness are not about finding your passion. Success and happiness are about BEING your passion. We are created to love and be loved; that is our ultimate, common purpose. Neither can happen without self love.

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