“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.”
– Joseph Campbell
Passion is a curious thing, and it’s filled with connotations depending on the usage. For example, passion can be used to describe a powerful, romantic attraction. Passion can also explain why one person will give their all while another is completely apathetic in the same circumstance. This alone is of interest because it makes it clear to us that passion is not universal. That is, my passions are not yours nor is the reverse true. Because passions are not universal, it also causes persons who share our same passion to be extremely attractive to us for partnerships and conversation. So, what is passion, and how do we find it?
I described courage as being that internal push of an individual against fear. Courage is taking deliberate action in the face of difficult circumstances. In a similar way, I described success as being the achievement of the goals which matter to you. These things are difficult, and these things are uncommon. Most people never muster the resources to fight and try for any real duration, others try and choose to give up (by the way: giving up is always a choice regardless of circumstance). If the body is a machine, then passion is our fuel.
Permit me an anecdote: I know of a man that goes every day to a job he despises. Like so many, he “has no other choice”. He does as much as he can to provide for his family despite a life which has been unkind in his estimation. He toils away for a company that doesn’t seem to care nor appreciate his contributions. When he wakes in the morning, he’s already exhausted. By the time he leaves his work, he’s floating through life. The expenditure of his tasks has left him empty day after day such that he comes home with no ambition left to try. He fears he will never escape this trap because he simply doesn’t have the energy left to dream.
There’s another man that I know. He toils away endlessly. In fact, the people that know him think he’s all but mad. He tends to his family and provides a commendable income. Somehow, he manages it all: house, family, work, and his personal life. When a demanding job finds him, he never backs down and works well into the night. Somehow, he’s all but limitless in his ambition. The worst thing about this individual is that – like all others of his sort – he absolutely insists that there’s nothing remarkable about him.
The purpose of my stories is this: passion is the energy that makes your task worthwhile; it’s that drive which keeps you going and sustains you when others exhaust themselves. If you can work within your passion, you’ll feel the difference. Those around you will notice the change as well. There is never any guarantee of success in life, but the passionate person stacks the odds in his favor.
So, this is all very well and good, you may think, but what if you don’t know your passions? Then I suggest it is time to study yourself. Observe your tendencies and observe how you respond to different tasks. Invariably, you’ll come to realize there are things in life that you will instinctively pursue. Better still, you’ll notice that the challenges that come leave you feeling full instead of empty. In time, you can use that energy to set your course.
Thank you for your time.