On passion

Passion. This vague term for countless years has been the cause of great successes and great torment. Everybody talks about passion, everybody wants it, but does anybody actually have first-hand knowledge of it? What is passion? Can it be cultivated or is it inherited? And is it necessary? Let’s break it down.

The main issue with any and all discussions about passion, is the word itself - “passion”. It is a kind of two-edged sword. If passion is something that you have or think that you have then the word takes on a welcome meaning of having successfully found an evergreen oasis in the desert of life. If, however, passion is something that you lack then any talk about passion will cause you great anxiety, making you turn yourself inside out looking for that secret ingredient that supposedly infuses life with meaning.

But before you do that terrible thing, let me just say that everybody has passion. The problem is not in you, but in the way we think about passion. To avoid any further confusion, let’s just do one simple thing that will transform the way we think about our life forever - let’s lose the word “passion” and use instead the word “curiosity”.

See, curiosity is something tangible. Earlier today you Googled something that you were curious about. When was the last time you remember acting out of passion? I don’t know either. The thing is, passion is a fuzzy term. Not only is it vague and open to interpretation, guaranteeing that every person will have a slightly different concept of it, but it is also overinflated and likened to a dark-room, I-haven’t-slept-in-three-days obsession, implying that if you are not completely crazy about something then your life must be boring and meaningless. So what do we ordinary people have left then? Well, we have curiosity.

Anything that we do voluntarily, anything that we read about or study or do by choice is the foundation of our passion. Upon this foundation we build, develop, and sculpt something abstract that eventually takes form, falls apart, then goes back up again. We direct it, shape it, try to understand it. That thing, whatever it is, will one day become everything that we are, and only then will we be able to look back at our efforts and retrospectively acknowledge passion by its proper name. And until then, we must stay curious. For if throughout life we maintain curiosity, then finding passion is not just likely -- it is inevitable.