Passion is a lot of things for a lot of people. It is determination, love, effort, joy, success – endless attributes – all rolled into one. It is what determines good work from great work, the ordinary from the extraordinary. But how do you cross that fine line? What does it really take to live passionately, to avoid “half-hearted attempts” at life?
Let’s go one step back: I see life as being one big creation (or project if the word makes more sense to you). It’s a series of decisions, responsibilities, tasks, lessons and leaps into the unknown. Ultimately, it’s something you craft. It’s something you DO.
Enter Passion: passion – and this is just a personal belief – is the driving force of creation. Anything done with passion will more often than not result in something beautiful (if beautiful is the right word here), simply because they are executed with dedication. You put a little bit of yourself in them. You give your best shot.
Let’s put both together: If my life is what I make of it, and if putting passion in the things I do will help me do them to the best of my abilities, then the answer is pretty obvious: let me love what I do, pour my soul into every little thing and I will have made it. It sounds terrifyingly easy on paper.
In reality? Something happens then that shatters ideals, scattering the fragments of all the hard work to indifferent winds.
Life happens. When the unexpected doesn’t knock on the door but barges through unannounced, it’s hard to focus on doing things with love. Especially when all you care about is getting through the day, drown in a large wine glass and fall asleep. Yeah, guilty as charged.
A little turning point.
What I’ve learnt from the little I’ve seen of life is that at whatever point we are in, no matter how sad or disappointed we may be, we are always given brief glimpses of, for want of a better word, “happiness”. Essentially, it’s anything which manages to lift the corners of our mouth on a really bad day. They can take any form; a familiar face, a musical instrument you haven’t touched in a while, your old ballet shoes, a book, a little writing pad. These glimpses are usually small, very easily overlooked, but they’re there if we are mindful enough to see them for how important they’ll turn out to be.
I believe (and this may sound a bit cheesy but bear with me) that these little instances are life’s way of telling us to get up and find other means to express ourselves. There are countless other outlets out there – they exist if we give them time and effort. Time, Effort and Passion. Putting passion into that window of “happiness” will help you pull yourself up from the ordinary, the murky, the uninspiring. You will start feeding on it until it eclipses everything else. Until you become so good at it that being the best is the only way you know.
Now imagine if you succeed in applying this same drive to other aspects, to the dreams you’re harbouring, to your work, to your relationships. Can you imagine how loudly your actions will reverberate? How confident you’ll become, how beautifully you’ll shine? Nobody said it was easy (I bet you all sang that part) but perhaps it is only a push we need – just enough to open a window.
Life is too brief a stop to risk missing the bus, and it’s not meant to be lived backwards either. I don’t want to live and die, regretting not making an effort to do things with the love and passion they deserve. I want to be the best at what I am and at what I love. I probably won’t manage to be the best at everything and I know I’ll get disheartened along the way, but that’s ok. Because we’re all meant to feel what it’s like to fail, to be able to enjoy the taste of success.
As long as we find those glimpses into what makes us happy, as long as we turn them into our strong points, letting them define us, then all will be OK.
So go: write, meet, sing, dance, work, cherish, love. Be Great. Nothing defines us better than what we do with what we are given. When we are:
mindful enough to see things as they are AND as they can be,
when we manage to put love into what we do EVEN when no one is looking,
when we pull out the best in us and in others,
when we’re brave enough to get up, knowing we’ll fall again
– that is the true value of our worth.
That, in my opinion, is living passionately.