05 March 2008

Passion - Is it innate or do we develop it?

I have a feeling this post may turn out to be long, so there's your warning...

I've spent the last week or so pondering this idea of passion and having a purpose in life. I've been wondering if passion is a unique hard-wired personality trait that some of us have or if it's a trait we can develop. This internal monologue started when I was watching the movie "Peaceful Warrior." One of the quotes that really struck me was "You can live a lifetime and never be awake." This idea of being awake somehow tied into passion, probably after reading about walking in the light of your fire. Another experience brought this idea to the forefront when I was at the Time Out for Women conference over the weekend. There was a panel discussion and one of the questions was, "How do you find your passion?" I've been trying to reconcile these ideas in my mind. Of course, that hasn't happened yet, and I certainly don't have any sort of an answer, but I have been thinking about this. So, here are some of my thoughts...

It's interesting to me that someone would even ask the question of "how do you find your passion?" I don't think I've ever spent any time thinking about what my passion is. However, I've been able to find and discover things and ideas and experiences that I am very passionate about. It seems to me that if we're living our lives and taking advantage of the experiences and opportunities that come along, we'll discover the things that speak to us.

Those of you who know me, know that I have alot of goals and am pretty determined or stubborn or both. My parents started me along this course when I was 5 or 6 and for whatever reason, goal setting works for me. For as long as I can remember, I've had a mental list of things that I want to accomplish in my life. I've worked really hard to accomplish those things and am still working to achieve some of those dreams. I think most of us have those lists, but I wonder how many of us do anything about them. I wonder if that is part of this idea of having passion and living a purposeful, intentional life.

I think that also goes along with the idea of being awake throughout our lives. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and do what's easy, but I think that we miss out on so many opportunities when we're not actively looking for them. Once again, I'm not sure if this is a personality trait or if this is something that we learn or perhaps don't learn. Perhaps it goes back to the idea of basic psychological needs. If our most basic, primary needs are not being met, then maybe we can't begin to worry about or experience life. Perhaps fear plays a role and maybe it's too scary to be awake as we go through life. I also wonder if it isn't easier sometimes to just sleep your way through life, but that's probably a whole other post, so I'll leave that alone for now.

Like I said earlier, I certainly have no answers to this, but am still wondering what it is that drives some people to truly live a bigger life and to strive to change the world and why some people don't care at all. Maybe it is a trait that we're born with and we either develop or leave it alone. Maybe it's something that we gain from experience. I'm not sure, but I do hope and believe that I am living a purposeful, passionate life. It's totally hard sometimes, but I think its worth it.