Passion is a plant
We maintain a cultural mysticism around passion and its meaning in our work. We are told to hunt for it, to follow it. Our work and hobbies should all be built around it. But is that the blueprint for life? Do we just endlessly search for an impulse, cultivating a mood? Finding our passion can’t be that hard.
Maybe passion is not a mood. Passion is a plant. We are better served to view passion as something delicate to be cultivated and looked after, something to be grown, rather than as a fleeting emotion. The better stewards we are of that growth, the healthier and more fruitful the outcome of our effort.
There’s no question that the discovery of a new passion has a spark to it; the emotional surge could easily be confused with some passing excitement. But if passion is a plant, then that confusion leads us to abandon a sprout when it needs the most help. Instead, we need to create fertile conditions for growth: openness of mind, the courage to explore new and challenging skills, and a ready discipline to develop those skills.
Finding passion is a rare thing; we cannot take it for granted. We have a profound vehicle for contribution and expression, a new voice that no one had heard before. Many people spend years looking for something to spark their enthusiasm and creativity. Others know its there but tell themselves they’ll spend time on it when they’re retired, or some other distant day. How sad, to shelve years of potential growth and creation like an unread book!
Building a system of discipline and intentionality will allow us to make good on what passions we have been blessed with. Remember, there’s no such thing as autopilot, and it certainly won’t work to develop passion . Life is too short to ignore what brings us the most joy.