Have you ‘found your calling’? Are you aware of what you were put on Earth to do? Do you know what your passion is?
These are still common ideas doing the rounds online. Memes that say things like, ‘focus on what excites you, and success will follow’.
It all sounds very fluffy and nice. But it doesn’t mean much. And it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
When did passion become a noun?
When we talk about it in this sense, we refer to passion as a thing. The pursuit of a single path, career, love etc. And we fail to acknowledge the reality for most of us. We have multiple interests and pursuits. The idea of committing to one thing is anxiety-provoking and depressing.
The pursuits are not passions. But we can engage with our pursuits with passion. And as we do so we unlock the meaning and purpose we are trying to find.
The Meaning of Passion
It can be a problematic word because it can mean different things.
- An Outburst of Uncontrolled Emotion (action before thinking out of an intense desire)
- The Growth of Enthusiasm (aroused by connection to a thing, person, or idea)
We see a short term explosion vs a long term evolution.
The Latin root of the word is patior. It means to suffer, and endure. Or to allow, or submit to something.
This paints an interesting picture.
Passion isn’t something that excites you. It is something you are willing to completely give yourself to. And it requires commitment and contribution.
You must be willing to sacrifice comfort, and endure the pain that comes from giving yourself fully to the thing in question.
Passion is a Muscle
The more moments of discomfort you overcome, the bigger your muscles (capacity/passion) will grow.
You don’t love something DESPITE the suffering. You actually love it more BECAUSE of the suffering. Friction is a necessary part of growth and joy.
We can buy solutions for almost any problem in our modern world. In so doing, we can avoid many struggles. We can also pay other people to serve us, and save us time, effort, and frustration.
A life of comfort, luxury and consumption sounds ideal to many of us. But it’s also a passionless life. Because when there is no friction, there is no foundation for passion to be created.
We need passion because we need a sense of meaning.
When you learn a musical instrument, joy is found on the other side of frustration, struggle, and even failure. It is through persistence and determination that you achieve success. And growth occurs when you make a breakthrough and get the hang of something that you previously couldn’t do.
Joy is not the result of success. It’s encountered through growth.
The good stuff happens when you get to the other side of discomfort. That is the passion zone of any pursuit. Not that you want to be forever in pain, or seek to be in a constant state of discomfort. But that you don’t run away from it. And you don’t assume that just because something is painful (and not exciting), you should quit.
Over to You
What did you take away from this show? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
P.S. I mentioned Mark Pierce’s book, The Creative Wound in this episode. Get hold of it here.