What Is Passion, And How Can I Start Using It?


Find your passion, live your passion. Let your passion lead you to the promise land known as success. Passion, passion and more damn passion. Seems to lose it’s meaning with redundancy, don’t you think?

The Anatomy of Passion

The term passion has found its way to what I call the over-hyped forest, a fantastical place where once novel ideas go to lose themselves among rumors and misleading expectations. The word passion refers to something that drives us, almost uncontrollably, toward a thought, a dream or an idea — uncontrollable being the intimidating part.

We are entranced and overwhelmed by the million-dollar passion industry. There are books and magazines, films and websites telling us that pursuing our passion is the map to our indecisive life paths. But if you can’t identify what your passion is, how do you move forward with this passion-before-action logic?

The fundamental problem with following your passion is that, without your approval, it can’t exist anyway. According to Ted speaker Terri Trespicio, “You don’t follow your passion, your passion follows you.” Her point is that our passion is an extension of ourselves, and therefore cannot exist or develop without our action. Passion has the true nature of a beast, to follow it blindly would lead you to chaos. So then, it seems a bit nonsensical to follow something that’s waiting on our first move.

There’s Passion, Then There’s Hobby

Passion and hobbies are not the same thing. Hobbies change, passion transforms. But some hobbies may be a product of an overarching passion. For example, Liza may play 12 instruments, but playing them isn’t necessarily her passion. She might be deeply moved and intrigued by the way certain sounds evoke emotion. That might be her passion. And this intrigue might eventually lead her to a similar idea about how the musical aspects of language inspire emotion. And this could become her transformed passion. Liza’s evolving passion reminds us we are complex individuals with an ever changing list of interests, both fleeting and lifelong.

Putting Our Passion To Work

Through our life we are asked to look outward and collect experiences, to learn from them and to discover what fuels our motivation. A mentor of mine once gave me an exercise to help with just that. He advised I rephrase my intentions — instead of asking, “what is my passion?” consider, “What do I exude?” His point, I believe, was that nobody gives a shit what you’re passionate about, they care what you offer to the world. Results. That’s the way of it.

Asking what you can offer can lend your imagination to a need. When you’re fulfilling a need, your passion becomes purposeful — we give it something to do.

If you were hoping this article would help you find your passion more quickly, sorry. If you are searching for passion, you won’t find it. There is no map to it, and there is no definitive characteristic that makes something a passion, except that you decide it to be.

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