There is a pervasive and misleading myth in today’s culture about what passion truly is. This myth says that passion means doing what you love and loving every part of what you do. Our newborn son recently showed me just how wrong this myth is.
Do What You Love…Then What?
There is a famous quote attributed to everyone from Marc Antony to Confucius to Harvey MacKay. It says:
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
In other words, follow your passion and the “work” will seem easy.
This myth says that if you can only find something you are truly passionate about, you will never know pain, hard work, or toil a day in your life. This myth could not possibly be more wrong.
The True Meaning of Passion
I looked up the meaning of the word passion recently. It means nothing at all what you might think.
The word passion comes from the Latin root “pati,” which means “suffering” or “enduring.”
That doesn’t sound like the fairy tale promised to me by Confucius/Antony/MacKay. It sounds painful and hard.
In other words, following your passion means you must be willing to suffer for what matters to you.
Following your passion means you must be willing to suffer for what matters to you.
Passion for Family
I am passionate about my family. They matter to me. They are important. And I am willing to suffer for them.
I am willing to give up my own comfort for their comfort. My wife and I are willing to lose sleep in the middle of the night so that our newborn son, Giovanni, can eat.
Why? Because we are passionate about his well-being.
Do we like getting up at 3:00am? No.
Do we like getting peed on? Of course not.
But we are passionate about him. We are willing to suffer, willing to endure hardship for his sake.
Where True Passion Shows
When I started my second company with two friends, it’s easy to sum up the early days by saying we went from three people to fifty-something in just a few years. It’s easy to talk about how we turned a few thousand dollars into tens of millions.
But that doesn’t show the true passion that we had for our business. Our true passion comes through when I talk about the long nights and early mornings. Our true passion shows when I talk about the sacrifices we made to succeed. Our true passion is evident when I talk about how day after day we toiled, doing things we didn’t enjoy and weren’t particularly qualified to do.
But we did them anyway…all because of passion.
Be Willing to Suffer
Passion demands suffering. Passion demands endurance.
I say do what you love and you’ll work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life…and it will be worth it.
Do what you love and you’ll work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life…and it will be worth it.
Do what matters and you will feel pain along the way…and it will be worth it.
Follow your passion and you’ll find yourself facing impossible odds, insurmountable obstacles, and you’ll want to give up more times than you can count…and it will be worth it.
Be willing to suffer for what matters. That is what true passion is.
What are you truly passionate about?