This week I’m in Virginia for the American Association of State and Local History conference.
What I love about conferences and conventions is that they bring together so many people from a variety of cities with an array of backgrounds who have at least one common interest. But the most interesting part is watching those in attendance and observing the differences between those who are passionate about the topic at hand and folks just there ’cause their company footed the bill. Even better, once you start actually talking to people, it becomes evident that the folks who are genuinely passionate about the subject matter are far happier and enthusiastic than those who are here just to be here.
While this phenomenon may be more readily observed in a conference setting, it is a fact that rings true under all circumstances.
Kids who enjoy school the most have a passion for learning, they want to answer all the questions and are driven to be right. They strive for excellence in education because they’re passionate about it. Kids with a passing interest in school only like a few subjects, if any, and tend not to perform as well.
Pro ball players are passionate about their sport. They put their bodies through grueling conditions to perfect their performance. Those with a high level of enthusiasm may cheer from the sidelines or at most play rec ball. Remember Michael Jordan practiced his free throws hour after hour after hour because he was passionate about achieving success.
And Michelangelo, who didn’t even want to take on the job of painting the Sistine Chapel, was passionate enough about creating a work of grandeur that he designed his own scaffold and spent four years straining his neck to paint a ceiling. I’m willing to be that if he had only been mildly interested he would have tried to find a way out after Pope Julius II aggravated him to no end or he got tired of the cramps in his neck…
Even those ordinary folks who have to get up and go to work every day or have the gumption to start their own business get up and go with a smile when their passionate about what they’re doing. So when circumstances get rough, their boss works their nerves, the bank won’t finance their expansion or whatever else is thrown at them, they weather challenges with a smile because they get to do what they love.
Folks who are only interested in their jobs gripe, grumble, make excuses and quit after a while.
Now many will tell you that too often the problem is that their passion won’t allow them to support themselves and their family.
However, I would argue that the real problem is that far too many of us don’t really know where our passion lies.
We may have a ton of interests but after it gets tough we want to drop it or we might get bored or we get to whining about somebody else killing it for us but the fact of the matter is, if we were really passionate about it nothing but nothing can kill our drive.
So, today I challenge you to think long and hard about what you’re passionate about.
What would you do for free? What do you love to do in your spare time? What drives you to push harder?
I promise, once you figure those things out and determine where your passion lies you’ll find a fulfillment in your life unlike any you’ve ever known.
So think about it and share. What is it that you’re genuinely passionate about?
It’s open mic time!