I’m 39 years old and for the first 38 years of my life I never had a passion. Then last year I picked up a pen and started writing. I write somewhere around 3000 words a week and I would write more if I could but life gets in the road of that. It’s hard to describe what having passion is like, I didn’t really understand it before and now that I have one it’s still hard to describe what it’s really like.
Passion is not the same thing as an interest, something you pursue because it’s amusing or fun gives you some form of pleasure. It’s also not the same thing as obsession. An obsession is targeted at someone or something but there is no creation in obsession. Passion goes beyond that. Passion is life changing, it becomes a part of you and you set your entire life goals around meeting that passion. You will see people with passion described as driven but that is a view from someone on the outside, it’s like saying a bird in a tornado is flying or a toy boat caught in a flash flood is sailing. You might see the word dedicated describing someone with passion but dedication is saying you are using your willpower to achieve a goal, with a passion you have to use your willpower to stop doing it.
You see having a passion is scary, big scary. Scarier than appearing naked in front of 50,000 people, scarier than jumping out of a plane or scarier than telling someone you love them. When you create from a place of passion you are creating from your very imagination, not an imagination based on how you think others see the world but on how you see the world. When you create from a place of passion, whether it be an artist, musician, writer, engineer, software developer or architect it 100% you that gets invested into what you are creating. It’s your deepest desires, hidden frailties strongest loves are expressed in the very things you create. The things you create expose every nook and crevice of your identity to the world and you know it. When the things you create are then sent out into the world for people to look at, to judge, to love, to hate and to criticize you feel every bit of that because those people are looking at you, judging you, loving you or hating the real you which was invested into what you have created.
When you have a passion every moment of every day slides into your passion. As a writer almost everything I see has a potential story behind it. A friend will post a Ted talk on passion on Facebook (Linked below) and for three days the urge to write about it has been burning in me. When I get the urge to write about something I can’t stop it. I can delay it, I can put it off but at some point my heart says enough and at 12.30pm at night (it’s currently 12:45pm as I write this) when I should be going to sleep I will write, because it’s the first chance I have had to do it.
I think’s it hard to fail if you are truly passionate about something. Even though your fears and worries are there your very passion gives you a shield against it as well. I know the Ted talk below says those who make excuses will fail to follow their passions, but I have to wonder if they truly had a passion or just had an interest. When you have passion you don’t do it for other people, you don’t create something for approval of validation, you create it because you really don’t have a choice. Making a name for yourself, earning a livelihood off it or becoming the best in your craft, well they are consolation prizes. At the moment I have written about five kids fables based around magical creatures. I have done this for gifts for friends and simply because I had to but I am going to write another five to ten of these short stories and publish it on Amazon as an eBook. I am not writing the short stories though to be published, I don’t even care if a single copy ever gets sold, I am writing them because I have to, because I want to, because when I do it fills a part of my soul that I never knew was empty.
I don’t know how you find your passion, I really just stumbled into mine but I hope you do. It will change your life, turn your life upside down and completely change your long term goals. I can say though that when you do find your passion you will definitely know it.
I have included this poem because when I say that parts of you are buried in what you create this is what I mean.
A man is worth a thousand pictures
A million words swirl in a man’s head
A thousand pictures ready to be painted
Ethereal they swirl, almost untouchable,
And yet each a double edged sword.
They can be crafted and shaped
Guided on to a canvas or paper
Messages for those who can see
Or art for those who can not.
Will a man paint a remembered crimson sunrise
And seize the wonder he experienced
Displaying for all who wander by
“This amazed me, captivated me and held me breathless.”
Or will he paint a solitary sailor on dark stormy oceans
Adrift and alone,
Fighting nature for his very existence
Fist held to the sky yelling “Is this all you’ve got.”
Does he paint a portrait of frail graying man
A man who has seen so much,
With such sadness and wisdom in his eyes
That say to the viewer “I learnt almost as many lessons as I made mistakes.”
Each and every word tumbling
Can cut into his soul
But they are double edged
They also cut into canvas
Every scratch left on canvas is now filled with a piece,
A piece of the man who was once cut by these words.
His every creation he cannot help but paint
His very existence displayed for the world to see.
He can paint what is not
Or things which have never existed
Except that in every painting
There is always himself lying naked and exposed.
His paintings are messages to himself
Regardless of whom he gives them to.
“See, here you be, this is who you are.”
“Be comforted that you know yourself just that little better.”
And when a thousand pictures have been painted
If this man had opened his heart and mind
He can join those pictures into a mosaic and say
“A thousand pictures paint me.”
Copyright Luke Davis 2014