Live your passion!
Follow your passion!
Find your passion!
Is it just me or has the word “passion” become cliché? I’ve been listening to Raymond Aaron’s Gold Bar of 100 interviews he’s done (which I’m loving, by the way); I’ve listened to Tony Robbins, to Oprah, to webinars, teleseminars, to audio books. I was reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau this morning. They toss of the “P word” like a frisbee for a dog. It’s driving me nuts.
Maybe it’s my upbringing where extremes on either end of the spectrum were actively discouraged. Maybe it’s my inclination to follow the Buddhist injunction to do everything in moderation. But to me, passion is about over-the-top, blind to everything else, extreme emotion.
In fact, the first three definitions of passion?
- strong, barely controllable emotion.
- intense sexual love or desire
- an outburst of anger
THEN we get to a “strong enthusiasm.”
I went looking for “passions”… I know there are connections to the Bible and found an extraordinary list by Saint Peter of Damaskos, who gathered them from scripture. There are a LOT of them, including (in no particular order)
harshness, malice, greed, gluttony, stupidity, flattery, lack of discrimination,
laziness, dissipation, loquacity, boastfulness, secret eating (and solitary eating),
ignorance of beauty, heartlessness, throttling, and, um, hanging. (good to know)
Good things gone way wrong.
When I hear “you have to follow your passion,” the gut reaction is almost palpable. “Cliché! cliché! Stop with the cliché already!” I want to scream. When things become a cliché… my brain just turns off.. and then I go think.
So, I went looking for quotes on passion, to see what I might be missing. Surely, it can’t be all bad. If so many people are talking about passion, there has to be something to it, doesn’t there?
“Passion is in all great searches and is necessary to all creative endeavours.” W. Eugene Smith
“Passion is the genesis of genius.” Anthony Robbins
“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
“Great dancers are not great because of their techniques; they’re great because of their passion.” Martha Graham
OK, I can handle this. But look…
On all these pages of quotes on passion, there were also other wonderful ways to talk about this curious energy.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. ” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Huh… “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”…and “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”
“It isn’t success after all, is it, if it isn’t an expression of your deepest energies?” Marilyn French (author)
“The main thing is to care. Care very hard, even if it is only a game you are playing.” Billie Jean King
OK, I can get into these.
Don’t ask me what my passion is as I’m likely to throttle you. Ask me (or yourself) instead:
- what are you good at?
- how would you spend your day if you didn’t have to worry about money?
- what did you want to be when you grew up (think back to your 8 year old self)
- what do people ask you for help with?
- where do you go first in the bookstore?
- what kind of seminars, workshops, conferences, or talks pull you in?
- what do you click through to on facebook?
- what makes your heart sing and your body tingle?
- what is an expression of your deepest energies?
- what do you care very hard about?
- what are you doing when you lose track of time?
Answering these questions tells me much more than the over-used, over-hyped, over-indulgent “P-word.”
Please….don’t talk to me about Passion. Dig deeper.