On Following Your Passion, Part 2

Earlier this week I wrote a post about following your passion1. The thoughts can be summed up well in a quote I included from Mike Rowe:

“Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction. Because passion and persistence – while most often associated with success – are also essential ingredients of futility.

I would add to Mikes thoughts the point that we often mistake “following our passion” for unmitigated enjoyment of our life and work. We think, “If I could just do/accomplish/be/get [fill in the blank], I’d be happy and fulfilled.”

That mindset reveals misunderstanding of what passion is. The English word for passion is derived from the Latin word patere, which means, “to suffer.”2 If we stop and think about suffering as an element of passion, it makes sense. For example, I know many people who are “passionate” about their children. If I ask those same people what it’s like to raise a child, some part of their answer will admit that the journey is often difficult and exhausting. I’m extremely “passionate” about what we do at The Iron Yard, but it’s extremely hard work.

It’s incredibly easy—preferable, even—to associate passion with what is most often the results of incredible sacrifice and a significant amount of hard, un-praised work over a long period of time.

1. You can read the first post, On Following Your Passion, Part 1, here.2. You can read more about the etymology of the word passion on Wikipedia.

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