A few weeks ago, my roommate returned home from work with a copy of Richard St. John’s The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common that everyone at his office had received as a gift. Since it’s relatively light reading, I decided to start incrementally working my way through the book and see if there are any good takeaways to be gained from it. I cracked the book open, and quickly read through the first chapter discussing trait #1: Passion. I read different accounts of how identifying one’s passion has led many well known individuals to go from underachieving to overachieving, the importance of following your heart instead of your wallet, and suggestions on exploring and finding passion. As I closed the book and contemplating what that all meant for me, I concluded that one of my big issues has been that I’ve been missing the passion element from my day-to-day life.
The lack of passion isn’t something new in my life. In fact, it was one of the biggest reasons I implemented the great seclusion of 2012. At the end of 2011, I lacked passion because the strain of dealing with my past drove me to compartmentalize all of my emotions and detach from my feelings altogether. Yet even now, well since I’ve made peace with my history, I’ve still been emotionally hollowed out. It seems that all the distance I’ve placed between me and my past self and all people & elements related to resulted in a wider general disconnect. This is something that I’ve noticed exemplified in my inability to engage with music and enjoy it on the level to which I normally do, and more recently, have accepted as a factor as to why my writing and other creative endeavors haven’t been going anywhere. To fix that, I’ve have been making a stronger effort to actively reintegrate socially in life, though present financial limitations have been proven a formidable obstacle in that regard. Still, now that I’ve begun to allow myself to open up on that front, I’m left with the identification of the things that drive me as the only missing piece of a solid foundation for my personal passion.
Although it feels like it’s something that logically goes without needing to be stated, my passions are strongly tied to my outlook on life. I subscribed to the philosophy of secular humanism when it was first introduced to me as a teenager by an old friend. From the the material I reviewed on the subject, it read like a formalized version of my personal guiding principles, specifically the individual examination of ideology through science and philosophy. Some time not long ago, I had the pleasure of stumbling across Discovery Channel’s Prehistoric Disasters on Netflix while looking for a good documentary to watch. That selection turned out to be a five-part series exploring the various cataclysmic disasters that happened on Earth before humanity came into the fold. At the end of it all, I walked away with the realization that life as we know it is simply a chance occurrence. In the vast expanse of space a very long time ago, the right bodies happened to be in the right place to collide and form the Earth and the moon. The chain reaction from that, Earth burning, Earth freezing over, Earth being hit by an asteroid…everything that needed in order to create a planet hospitable for sentient self-aware humans to exist and thrive the way we do. Merely existing is the product of winning the universal lottery multiple times over. It doesn’t seem like anything too special when there’s over 7 billion of us out there, but life and the human experience are a unique and rare opportunity that we owe ourselves to make the most of while we have it.
Having been born in the latter half of the 80’s, I was part of the Millennial generation that grew up in the midst of a huge technological stride. I still vividly remember when hooking up a simple 8 bit gaming console to a TV using an RF adapter and home stereo systems that had both a tape deck and a CD player, and a Windows 95 machine with a CD-ROM encyclopedia set were cutting edge technology. As we’ve transitioned to broadband wireless internet and mobile devices over the years, we’ve all witnessed first-hand the technology’s ability to improve quality of life, and how advances in tech across all industries have been accelerated by the ability to communicate and collaborate on the internet. This something that has undeniably influenced my passions in life.
So, What Are These Passions?
- Utility: Doing things in life that are carry meaning, and taking pride in the outcome.
- Self Improvement: Just because there’s too much in this world to ever truly know and experience it all doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.
- Community & Compassion: One of the best things you can do for yourself sometimes is helping someone else in need.
- Honesty: Being a good man does not permit being a dishonest man.
- Communications: Collaboration is where innovation is born and productive rational discussion enables progress.
- Technology: It helps us take better care of ourselves and our world.
- Music: To me, the most powerful form of expression. I enjoy listening to it and gradually teaching myself how to play & create it.
- Children & Education: As someone who’s lived the story of the gifted child who wasn’t afforded the support and environment to become the best version of himself, I’m a strong proponent for active parenting and education improvements. Kids are the future and our ongoing legacy; it’s our duty to help them grow into the adults they’re meant to be.