In a word, passion is supposed to describe what it is that turns us on, sets us afire, makes us want to get up in the morning and go to work — or perhaps what makes us want to leave work, so that we can follow it.
I’ve always considered myself a passionate person, always thought I had more dreams than one person could possibly cope with, as recently discussed in the post Combine Your Dreams: Slash Culture. For me, the problem is too many dreams.
For many, I’m starting to realize, the problem is that there isn’t one in the first place.
I can’t understand what this would be like, though I have to admit in some ways it sounds kind of nice. No unfulfilled wishes eating away at you like stomach acid? No sense of self-loathing or pervasive failure because every morning when you wake up, you still haven’t gotten to that magical “arrival” place? I’ll take it.
But others don’t seem to feel this way. In fact, judging by the wealth of articles out there about finding your passion, I think the opposite might be true. The titles alone really give a sense of how difficult a prospect this is. Consider Oprah’s “The Secret to Finding Your Passion (Hint: It’s Not What You Think),” or Tiny Buddha’s “Try This If You’re Struggling to Find Your Passion.”
Apparently, passion can be a real snake pit. Bummer. This worries me: do I not actually know what my passions are? Have I misled myself? Is this why I’m not succeeding?
I don’t think so. I think more likely, achieving dreams takes days, weeks, years and months of toil. A lot of the work you put in won’t be enjoyable in the conventional sense (i.e. enjoyable in the sense that barbecues, paragliding, or danging like a madwoman are enjoyable), but it is satisfying. I find that I want to do plenty of work I don’t have to do simply because it feels like it’s going somewhere. And in the long run (and the short run and the medium run and all the runs in between), isn’t that enough?