Santiago sunset — Luke Blackburn

You Should Burn Down Your Life From The Inside Out

Got a lighter?

A few nights ago I was sitting on a roof patio about 220 feet above a crowd of rambunctious, emphatic Chilean futbol fans. They were chanting spirited calls in celebration of the Chilean national team qualification to the World Cup. The shouting and exuberance caused many of my fellow Exosphere pals to lose sleep. It seemed as though they were celebrating the victory of a championship, but in reality, they were just celebrating their chance to participate in the tournament. I was impressed by their passion. Or, was I just impressed by their enthusiasm?

As I was sitting by myself, just looking up at the cloudy sky, searching for centers of fusion powered light, I was reminded how ancient sea farers used the stars to guide their travels. In our age of electronic abundance and GPS technology, it is easy to take something as obvious as the stars for granted. That blanket of dotted light was used to navigate to new worlds in search of opportunity and a chance for a better life.

Similar to the stars, personal passions can be used to navigate through life in attempt to spark more adventure, fulfillment, and enjoyment.

In attempt to define the word passion, it is difficult to give it a tangible meaning. Many would reduce it down to something like, “It is what moves you.” Maybe some would say, “Passion is what you feel strongly about.” I would agree but there is so much more! Passion is not just skin deep. It is not simple attraction or enjoyment. I can’t just say that I have passion for a certain baseball or basketball team. My enjoyment watching sports does not crutch my spirit when it feels like I have had my legs taken out from under me. My favorite teams are not the reason I get up when I get knocked down.

Whether you are aware of it or not, passion is what humans constantly seek. More importantly, people who display passion are whom others are subconsciously gravitating towards. People walking in line with their passion attract others like moths to a flame. Passion is warmth, it is comfort, it is certainty in a world full of unknown. It is confirmation, it is food, it is what fuels our advances forward. It is an enabler of hard work with no expectation of reciprocity. Passion is what heroes and mad men share.

A phrase that comes to mind is,”Wear your emotions on your sleeve.” In regards to passion, you have no choice but to wear it on your whole body. It is your light, and therefore it is a part of you, like your thoughts. Your passions are always going to be there.

The kicker is that passion alone is not enough. It is arguable that passion isn’t the most important variable in the equation. The “x” is you.

You have to provide the spark. Passion is the fuel to ignite a kindling to an inferno.

You know those seemingly crazy guys that quit their jobs, uproot their families, and empty bank accounts to pursue some idea that everyone thinks is stupid? I bet you can guess what he is passionate about. When you have passion for something like an idea, it is the first electron pulse as you wake up, it is what occupies your mind even when that pretty girl smiles at you from across the room, and it is the last bullet point on your list of things you are willing to give up. In other words, it is something in which you are willing to fight for until there is no battle left to win.

When talking to someone who knows their passion, and is committed to it, you can sense their fire and feel the heat radiating from them. To borrow from Fake Grimlock, “NOTHING STOP PERSON ON FIRE. NOT SLEEP. NOT SICK. NOT BROKE. NOT BULLET. NOT END OF EARTH. NOTHING.”

The above quote is so true. When you meet someone that really is on fire for an idea or cause, you marvel at it because it is so rare to see. It isn’t rare because its difficult, I think it is rare because so many people are not even aware of their passions or are not pursuing them even if they are aware.

During that night on the patio, as I was thinking about my passions, I tried to mentally list them. I really struggled to identify clear examples. I knew that I cared about a lot of different topics and ideas but I felt it wasn’t that simple. Luckily, I received some free advice.

With the help of one of my new friends, I began listing notes on what I felt passionate about. Then I started writing notes on how I envisioned my ideal life playing out. A few hours later I finished an article detailing my large goals over the next 20 years. In the process, I found out what I was truly passionate about. If you want something to be included in your life 20 years from now, I think its safe to say you have a passion for it.

I feel that I knew the answer all along but I did not want to admit it to myself. I wanted to lie and say that I had passions about making money, becoming a famous personality, being the sole author of my story, or navigating through life with only my destination in mind. In the end, I am glad that my passions are deeper than that. I want to be a small piece of the machine that changes the world for the better. Now that I am aware of my passions, I can make small incremental steps to reposition my life so I can ensure I am working towards my goals every day.

Getting back to the Chilean futbol fans—they may think they have passion for their La Roja- but I urge you to look for something more. Find something that you can control and that you can invest your life into. It is getting colder everyday. This world needs more people that are on fire!

I think that Thoreau was referring to passion when he said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” That quote breaks my heart because you can see it everywhere you look. Most people seem to afraid too sing their unique song. Burning for an idea or cause destroys that fear and enables you to sing louder than ever before.

I believe that humans need a battle to fight or an adventure to live. Recognizing your passions and fighting to advance them is a great way to satisfy this desire. A lot of the average people in the western world do not live for anything other than material goods and entertainment. You do not have to be one of them.

I encourage you to spend time thinking about what really makes you burn and what weighs heavily on your heart. Take small steps to reposition your life so you can become aligned with what really inspires you to get out of bed each morning. Recognize your passions, become the fire, and start living a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Good things to come,

Luke Blackburn

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