Stop Banking on Passion.

As people, we often want to believe in something magical, something different, or something out of the ordinary that  explains how someone else is doing something and doing it so well. We want to believe that if we can posses this very important thing, then perhaps we too can be just as exceptional at something. For this, we came up with this thing called passion, and I used to believe in it, once upon a time.

What is passion, exactly? Dictionary definition describes it as an intense emotion or feeling towards a person or thing. So, does feeling strongly about something mean that we are going to be good at it? Does is mean we have suddenly found the magic button that will make our work feel like a fairy tale?

Of course, there’s the saying that says, “do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”, but this statement has been highly misconstrued to make people believe that passion, somehow, lessens the amount of work, stress, sacrifices, etcetera, that we have to put in to doing something well.

The truth, at least the one I have come to learn over the past five years, is that work is work, and work is hard. You can make it easier by working smarter, you are more inclined to put in more effort if you actually like the it, you are going to be happy when it yields good results, but at the end of the day it is still work, and no amount of that feel good term called  passion is going to change that.

Think about it, if you loved someone so much, loved them “to the moon and back” as some people would say, would it matter if you were always away for their important days, birthdays, graduations, weddings, performances, and shows? Maybe you get forgiven for missing a few, but if you missed all of the important moments all the time, then that passion you were banking on as the thing that would make every thing okay would eventually die. No matter how passionately you feel about someone, no matter how much you love doing something, what keeps passion alive is showing up.

The things we love doing are going to get hard at some point: we’re going to get stuck in stories we thought we had figured out, we’re going to battle with funding as small startups, we’re going to worry about projects going over budget even after we planned meticulosly. Passion is not going to stop these problems from happening, and passion is not going to help us bulldoze through them like they aren’t actually there. At the end of the day, what will count are our actions: showing up everyday to give these obstacles just another little shove. As we do, our muscles become stronger without us realizing it, till one day we’re pushing the obstacles away like they aren’t even there (of course, at this point, we should have newer obstacles to help build new muscles, but this is a topic for another day).

This said, does this mean that passion is just some random term that should mean nothing to us?

No. Passion is important as we each have your own likes and dislikes, and we all, definitley, have something we’re good at, which we would rather do. Sometimes, we need to work harder than others to find that something, but remember that the active term here is work.  What we cannot do is sit around waiting for something or some idea that we believe we’ll do for the rest of our lives. Waiting to find a passion ranks right up there with waiting for inspiration on the “Let’s Make Excuses Why We Can’t” list. We can only find passion in doing, so stop waiting to find a passion, and find something for your hands to do.

Passion is an emotion and emotions fade, but action stops only when you stop. Stop banking on passion and go for action.

Till next time 🙂

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