“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Most of us have been taught since childhood to fear passion and to view it as dangerous. We have been told that passion is dark and sinister, that it compels people to commit crimes in its name. That it is irrational and unpredictable. That it brings heartache and regret. We are conditioned to believe that the pursuit of passion is also the pursuit of pain and uncertainty. Why put everything on the line when the payoff might be a resounding failure or humiliation? Why take on risk when we can take a much safer and foreseeable path?
These lessons are reinforced by the example set by many celebrities. How many rock stars have followed their passion for music or fame all the way to self‑destruction? How many actors have sought acclaim and fortune only to be rewarded with crisis and despair? All around us we see people who have been led astray by their passion. History confirms our fears. What was the legacy of Hitler’s and Stalin’s passion? What good did passion do Romeo and Juliet?
Passion can bring out the worst in us, especially when it becomes an emotional drug, an addiction, or a blinding and all-consuming obsession. But passion also brings out your best. When you are passionate, you are self-confident; you entertain the possibilities for your future. Passion empowers, heightens your awareness, engages your attention, and kindles your excitement. Passion provides inspiration and stamina. Perhaps most importantly, passion is unconditional. It may evolve, but it is unwavering.
Passion provides you with all the stamina and inspiration you need. When you act from your passion, you do not need to call on your reserves for energy or initiative. You could have a fever of 103 degrees, a stack of documents to review, or a party to attend, but if you are passionate about sailing and someone offers you an afternoon on a schooner, you’ll get to the dock on time.
Commit to Passion
Is passion missing in your practice or other areas of your life? Do you want to bring it back? If so, commit to starting with your heart. Do not disparage or deny your feelings. Accept them and move forward with them. Have BIG dreams. Don’t let anyone else tell you what your dreams ought to be. Your dreams are yours alone. Henry David Thoreau writes in Walden, “When one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” You are capable of greatness and entitled to it, but you and only you can bring it about. By embracing your passion and committing to your Passions, you are vowing to take control of your life and to create a self-fulfilling future of success and fulfillment.