THE BLOG
10/16/2012 07:29 am ET Updated Dec 16, 2012

Combine Passion With Purpose: The Secret to Finding True Happiness

Once you have acquired much of what you've ever wanted and achieved the main things you've set out to do, what's next? How can you continue to grow and achieve even greater happiness in your life? You may have already attained personal success, but as most high achievers would tell you, even the most noteworthy accomplishments as well as the status that results can feel old and unexciting after a while.

Mahatma Gandhi said "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." He also observed that by chasing happiness for yourself, it eludes you; but by helping others to find it, it finds you. Moving beyond yourself and focusing on a greater good is not only a way to help another person, cause or group of people, but a way to expand your own potential for fulfillment and true happiness while still living your passions. There's no need to "move the earth" to make a difference. Any step, big or small, can be important and impactful in an effort to help whatever or whomever you recognize that's in need, as long as you forgo your own expectations of reciprocity.

We all have passions that are unique to us. How can you combine one of yours with a purpose outside of yourself to help the greater good? What cause(s) inspire you? Think about something you enjoy doing or that you're interested in that you might not have a chance to do or be involved in during your daily life. Now think about how you can turn this interest into a way to help some person, a group/organization, a world issue or even a cause like animals or the environment.

Use your passions and be creative in transforming them into a way of giving back. For example, if you enjoy playing tennis, volunteer to teach children in your community who don't have access to after school programs. If teaching is not your forte, organize a tournament that benefits a cause you're passionate about. Animal lovers can volunteer at a nearby shelter. The list of things of things that are possible here is endless. If it's difficult to find time to devote to a benevolent cause, think of a person or an organization you could aid financially. This can be a creative process, as well. For example, if you'd like to help children, you might consider purchasing children's books to donate to a local elementary school, or contributing funds toward a new playground in the area.

Many successful people talk about being burned out on their own success and find that it's possible to feel stuck even when everything in their lives is going well. By expanding your efforts to something bigger than yourself, everyone benefits. I describe this benevolent place of functioning in my book, Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, as one where you no longer need or crave money, praise, or recognition as motivation for helping others. This is a great definition of genuine happiness, which anyone can achieve. Remember, personal fulfillment, meaning and joy come to you most effortlessly when you get beyond yourself. So combine a unique passion of yours with a purpose that serves others and experience this wonderful phenomenon for yourself.

For more by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.