"General, do you hear what you are saying? This is ludicrous!"

in writing •  2 years ago 

Oh, yes. I hear what I'm saying. And it is ludicrous indeed.

I'm saying don't follow your passion. Don't do it. It's stupid, counterproductive, possibly destructive, even. Worse, it directs your focus to a place you don't want it to be.

Followers of Jesus Christ will remember him saying "he who would save his life, must lose it", or words to that effect. That's precisely what I mean here. "Following your passion" keeps your focus inward, on yourself. It requires you to be constantly examining yourself for passion, excitement, wide-open thrills. If you're not getting them, then something must be wrong.

Lemme give it to you straight, sunshine. I've been married to the finest woman on earth for almost 27 years now. I said finest, not most beautiful or sexiest or thinnest, although my love is beautiful, and sexy, and thin (she weighs less now than she did on our wedding day, and routinely wears our 15-year-old daughter's clothes) (sorry, Charlotte). Much of the time she's been tired, and lined, and covered in puke or poop or who-knows-what, because we have eight children. No one--no one--is ravishingly sexy at 3am after cleaning up from food poisoning.

If I'd followed my passion, I'd have been down the road. It's not passion that keeps me here, but commitment. Because of the commitment we made to each other, and that we honor every day, we have passion that is undreamed-of by those that are on their fourteenth relationship of the year. Passion, and security, and a love so deep it's inexpressible.

It's because of commitment that I have one of the longest-running blog series on Steemit. It's because of commitment that I landed a book contract. And that I can spend my days teaching kids and writing and pruning my tomatoes. None of that has anything to do with passion. Passion is stupid. It's exhausting. Just stop it.

Commitment directs the focus outward, toward the other. Toward the work, the partner, the neighbor in need. The fellow Steemian. That blog series? You know whose posts have never been featured, with over 350 awards given out so far? MINE. I'll be fine. But there are a lot of people out there struggling. I can help them. I'm committed to helping them, and if that means $.41 for two hours' work, then so what? Commitment doesn't care. Passion would have given this up a long time ago. But I'm passionate about Steemit because of my commitment to it.

Ludicrous or not, here's what I'm saying: stop worrying about what your passion is. Pick something and get really, really good at it. Commit to it. You'll go places passion will never dream of.

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Well put! This reminds me of something my composition (music) professor once asked me: if you had someone shadow you for a day, what would they say about you? Would they say you are a composer, or a pianist, or someone who liked to watch TV?

Then he turned it around to say, "Be the person you want to be. Composers spend time composing." Not talking about it, or daydreaming about it, or sitting around waiting for inspiration (which NEVER comes when you want it to).

I LOVE this. You are dead right. I'm currently reading a fantastic book called So Good They Can't Ignore You, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's brilliant, and right down the line with what you're saying here.

It does not matter how far the walk is. When you're committed to wanting to get there, it's all just a matter of staying in the right direction.

Awesome advice, @cristof.

I'm definitely with you on the commitment part. Examining my own life in terms of passion vs. commitment, I can see where I kept failing continually due to a lack of commitment and too much focus on passion, especially where my creative projects were concerned. Luckily I have developed some focus and stick-to-it-iveness over the past few years and no longer suffer the same rate of failure. However, I also think it's easy to commit to the projects I choose because I'm passionate about them; in other words, because I enjoy them and they bring me some level of fulfillment. What do you think? Can passion and commitment be good playmates?

Probably, but passion is tinder. Starts fires, but can't keep them lit. Only good kindling and then big, solid logs can do that. That's commitment.

To be honest, after a well-written entry like that, I feel like a rank amateur that had the temerity to belly up to the bar with all the locals staring me down.

Well done, really has a lot to think about. I have to chew this over.

Eh. That's another thing about this: commitment is what has made me fairly good at writing. I wrote a million or so words over a couple of decades learning to write essays. Still learning. But you have to write to get good at writing. Half the world says they want to be writers. What's stopping them? Nothing. But they don't write.

That's the miracle secret to being a writer: you write. That's it. And you, @talltim, you write. Therefore you are a writer. Just keep going.

Thanks for the reply. In retrospect it looked like a fishing expedition with me wearing a bright yellow slicker, but I didn't really mean it like that.

I just like your style, and I clearly have things to learn. Appreciate you sharing so I can.

Finding people like you to talk with, and to read, is one of the best things about this platform.

I'm blown away as well. For a non-native speaker, I guess it might take much more. @christof, are you a novel writer?

Yes. I write novels. Nine, so far. I've never published one.

It sounds like you did find yourself a sparkling woman! Haha, I was so confused before I read the challenge post.

And I agree that commitment will carry you through those times when passion sputters down to an ember. I like how you also mention it being outward-facing, I hadn't thought about that way before.

I got that from an excellent book I'm reading, and applied it to this situation. She's definitely a fantastic woman. Far better than I deserve.

This is very well said. Approaching 10yrs with my husband and still find it hard to believe he puts up with me!