Passion Is Pointless
Oooh, I bet I hit a nerve with that title.
Maybe you ended up here just to read this post and berate me for offending you with 3 words. Three words that went straight to your core and insulted your entire being, your life’s work, your “passion” for whatever it is you dabble in. Whatever activity you spend a few hours a week on, some weeks a little more, most weeks a little less.
Perhaps you don’t care so much about the title. You think I’m just a negative person, writing this to arouse animosity among the readers. You’re just here to see if I start a comment war that you can read for entertainment.
Or maybe you thought it was witty and you wanted to hear me out. The title was just a hook. This was more about being curious, seeing where I take you, an attempt of some kind to expand both our realities. Mine by way of getting someone’s attention and getting positive feedback, yours by taking my opinion to heart, letting it push the boundaries of your perception, allowing you to understand that this word, passion, holds no weight in our 140 character, text-only-don’t-ever-call, society. Maybe you leave here understanding that the energy the world labeled as “passion” is scarce. It doesn’t exist everywhere. It’s a rarity that’s lost its true meaning because since Facebook rolled around everyone became “passionate.” Everyone wakes up and lives with passion. They hop on their blog and write about things they’re passionate about. And if you write a status about passion, you’re an amazing, motivational person, but in reality, you’re just an ego maniac, becoming satisfied with the responses and likes.
Whatever it is you leave with, I hope your mind opens up a bit more than when you clicked through to this page.
- Strong and barely controllable emotion.
Why’d I post this definition? It’s fancy, I know. But all those words are diluted. When the Niners lost to the Ravens last year I was upset. I probably could say I’m passionate about the team and everyone would believe me, but in reality, the emotions were controllable. I didn’t lose it.
When you didn’t get into Stanford, you were upset, but you didn’t explode from the raw emotion inside of you.
When I say passion is pointless, I mean that everyone claims it but no one lives it. We were raised to think that if we were passionate about something, it was simply something we would always want to do. Something that pulled us toward it every day, made us feel alive, made us see the colors a little brighter and made us smile a little longer. But if this passion didn’t pay the bills, it was okay, it would still be our passion, just on the weekends. And that’s exactly where the problem is.
You hop on a skateboard a few times a week, you get really into football or basketball, and you write papers about the same thing in school every chance you get. You think you’re full of passion.
We all think we are.
But we’re not. Because passion is raw. It’s a force that draws you so strongly toward what you love to do that the thought of anything else pales in comparison. You wanna talk passion? You have none.
There’s more passion in every tear Michael Jordan sheds when he realizes he’s getting too old to play the game. More passion every time Michael Jackson moon walked across the stage for a roaring crowd. More passion in every cord Steve Vai rips, more passion in all those things than the rest of the world has to offer for their hobbies that they’ve convinced are their passions.
We dilute these phrases and concepts because we want the image of what’s possible more than the reality of it. We’ve become a culture of show offs, of performers. A sea of water in the heat, a mirage and nothing more. When you dig in beyond the dirt, you’re clawing at nothing. There’s no gold underneath, no value, just the thin layer of fools gold that fooled you.
The point of all this is to make you think. To make you go beyond the daily routine. To make you dig through the years of repression. The daily ritual you created of pushing what you loved deep, deep down to the point where you didn’t want it anymore so that if anything reminded you of it, you’d lie to yourself that you’re happier now.
You enjoyed something. Something that interested you more than everything else. Something that you poured hours of learning into, but the first person that said it was “an unrealistic goal” was all you needed to knock you off your path to real passion. A mere statement or disagreement set you on a trajectory of taking the more realistic approach, whatever the hell that means.
If you’re still reading this, I have no clue what’s going through your mind right now. But if you have something that creeps into your mind every now and then, something you used to think about more than you think about your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend, ANYTHING that made you smile with a simple thought, I hope that you go after it. That you shake the dust and realize yourself and all you’re capable of. Because today, it isn’t simply enough to name drop what you think you’re passionate about. You need to live it every day of your life. You need to make it your entire being, make it something you do so often and become so good at, that its part of who you become. Eventually you won’t have to say what you’re passionate about; it’ll be in everything you do.
Because passion isn’t something that’s breathed into you. It doesn’t just exist. It develops over time, like most things. You find something you enjoy, you continue working to be better, the eustress pushes you to continue along that path and hard work + enjoyment combust, forging the early stages of passion. It takes over and the satisfaction comes from the fact that you gave yourself an opporunity to create a passion, as opposed to sitting around, waiting for the stars to shine down on you and choose something for you.
Because if you look closely, those that are truly passionate about what they do, don’t ever feel the need to air it to the world.