Passion isn't always fun

Have you ever noticed how many self-help gurus tell us to follow our passions?  I’m sure we’ve all heard this platitude.  It’s self-evident, and I believe it insults one’s intelligence.  No one wants to work a shitty 9 to 5.  We all want enjoyable work, but many of us don’t know what we’re passionate about.  Some of us aren’t even sure what passion is!

Dictionary.com defines passion as, “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.”  So your passion is something you care about, but how do you follow your passion?  Maybe you’re really into video games, so you decide to become a programmer.  You sign up for a class in video game programming, and at first it’s great, but as the class progresses you realize software engineering is tough work.  You dread the class, and you begin to believe that gaming might not be your passion after all.  

How many of us have been there?  We start a project with the best of intentions only to find that we’ve turned our hobby into the bane of our existence.  Why does that happen?  I believe it’s because we misunderstand passion.  Passion isn’t always fun.  One of my best friends is a writer.  He writes a minimum of 3,000 words per day.  He requires it of himself.  He has days when he doesn’t feel like sitting in front of the keyboard, but he knows that it’s those low periods that are most pivotal to his success.  It’s that dedication to his craft that makes him great.  

You might think you have a passion, but if you’re unwilling to trudge through the difficult times, you merely have a hobby.  You won’t make a living at your hobby.  It takes passion.