Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Writing Lab: The Church of Passion

Prompt: "Do you think passion is enough to reach your goals or can passion only take a person so far?"

Saying that I used to believe passion was "enough" when it comes to meeting one's goals is the understatement of the century. At one point, I firmly believed that passion was quite literally the only thing that matters. I most certainly saw it as what separated the real artists from the people that only wished they were artists. That belief was as deep-seated as a religion and as is typical of me, I would not be told that my thinking was flawed. Even by those that had been there and knew first hand what it actually takes to succeed in any kind of creative art field.

There's a long buried, very idealistic part of me that wishes I could say I still attend the Church of Passion and worship at the altars. However, the passage of time combined with hard experience has taught me to do otherwise. I still believe passion is very important, especially when you're in the arts. But it's not enough by itself if you're serious about meeting your goals. Passion is like gasoline. It might be the fuel that makes it possible for the car to keep moving forward, but you still need the fucking car. You need the wheels, and the seats, and the steering wheel, and the engine just as desperately as you need the gasoline if you actually want to get anywhere.

Like raw talent, passion is a critical resource. Without the practical discipline to harness it and make something out of it though, it's worth absolutely nothing as far as reaching actual goals. When you're young -- like high school aged or college aged -- you're a big fish in a small pond if you're considered talented or gifted. The real world is a different story though. Once you're out there experiencing how big it is firsthand, you eventually realize that the world is full of passionate people with "dreams". A great many of those people are also incredibly talented. And no one gives a fuck.

So what do people give a fuck about? Whether or not you're actually disciplined enough to take your passion and make something of it. Whether or not you're the kind of person that can be counted on to follow through, even when doing so maybe isn't all that fun. Whether or not what you bring to the table even has any social and financial value in the first place. Without those things, you're just one more underachiever working at Wal-Mart, trying desperately to convince the people around you that you're not like them. That you could have been so much more than you are "if only".