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All through history different schools of thought, philosophers, and leadership consultants have debated the difference between purpose and passion in leadership. They have said that passion is the emotions and feelings you have for leadership where your purpose is the reasons behind the passion. The passion is defined by the “what” and the purpose is the “why” you are in a position of leadership. There have been many significant figures that have tried to simplify this argument.

Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato were all very significant philosophers from the past and have offered many ideas that have defined the way we think about issues and problems today. They all had opinions on these two words that shed some light on the argument. Aristotle believed that passion was only to be considered part of pleasure or pain for humans. Socrates thought that passion took the soul and imprisoned it to the body, while Plato that the goal of humans should be a dispassionate control over our body.

Religious leaders in the world have said that the “Meaning of Life” is to be completely self-aware and to be conscious about the world around you, the desire to own more will cause suffering in your life. This means that the reason you are trying to advance in a leadership role should not be that of personal gain.

Many people have said to “follow your passion” in life in order to find who you want to be. It is often told to people who are in a low point of their life or in a point where they dislike the job they are currently in. The hard part of this saying is that some people don’t have passions or as Plato said, should be dispassionate. The “purpose” is still there in everyone even if its harder to see. The reasons you are doing what you are doing is what is driving you for success.

I believe the true path to success in leadership is to have a blend of both characteristics in your life. You need to have a purpose for success but without passion the underlying emotions towards your purpose are non-existent. The middle ground needs to be able to hold both in harmony to a path of better leadership.