I’ve spent a lot of time over the years discovering what I’m not passionate about and I’ve met all kinds of passionate people along the way.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned about passion:
- Passion is infectious. I had an archaeology teacher who was in love with ancient pots. You could see the excitement on her face, hear it in the way she described the pottery. The broken fragments all looked the same to the untrained eye, but by the time the semester was done the entire class was in love with pots too.
- Passion taps into something deeper. “Why do you do this?” The dance director asked. “Because you enjoy it? That’s not the right answer.” I’m a competent dancer, but I’ll never be the a great dancer. It’s not enough to be technically skilled. “You have to bring what’s inside, out. You must put your soul into it. That’s what the crowd responds to.”
How do you know if you’ve found your passion?
- You’re willing to put in the extra hours. I’ve met a lot of small business entrepreneurs over the past year. The returns are often small, yet they put in the long hours to make their businesses a success, despite the frustration and challenges. They never rest even when success starts to come their way.
- Your passion becomes a lifestyle. I attended a flamenco workshop once. The instructor explained how many years it took to become a master of the art form. There was a plateau students reached where many would drop out. Those that persisted were the ones that became involved in the community, the ones who breathed and lived flamenco, who made it into a lifestyle that extended beyond dance.
- You will sacrifice for it. Priorities are shuffled. TV becomes unnecessary. That weekend trip away? “Sorry dear. I have practice. I can’t afford to take the time off.”
- You can talk all day about it. You’ve met these people. My darling E can watch sports, talk about sports, and play sports, every day of the week. He never gets tired of sports.
- You’re hungry to learn more. You devour every bit of information that you can. You’re constantly adding related blogs to your feed reader. You keep a folder of new ideas, and photos for inspiration. You seek out like minded people.
Lastly, just because it’s your passion doesn’t mean it’s easy. Nothing can substitute hard work, time, and practice. Some days it’s still tempting to give up. That’s normal, but passion is what keeps you coming back.
If I ever start to give my writing time grudgingly, if I start to resent sitting at the blank page, if I start to believe that my sacrifices are worthless, then I know I’ve lost my passion. So far it doesn’t look like there’s any chance of that happening.