“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”-Anthony J. D’Angelo
Passion is the color of life, the spark that ignites an inferno, the lone dreamer in the midst of cold reason. Passion is one of the most potent calls to action that we will ever experience, but why then are so many people living lives of inaction, playing it small, and settling into a life they don’t love? We have come to live in a world where the person with passion is scoffed at, the overachiever is scorned, and the non-conformist is beaten into conformity. The greatest gift you can give to yourself or the world is to disobey the commands of conformity, and learn to truly follow your heart. If you can learn to make decisions based on your own reason, listen to your own heart, and follow your passion, you can truly achieve anything.
Everybody knows someone who is ablaze with passion; we often call it many things: charisma, confidence, or even defiance and overachievement, but passion is something that we often feel radiate from someone even more than we can see it. There is a special energy that emanates from a man or woman who is living a life guided by their passion, and it often causes us to stop for a second and marvel about what is so different about this person.
Imagine walking through a forest where every tree looks the same, they grow straight up and are trimmed exactly the same way, then suddenly you encounter a tree growing sideways out of a rock face. The tree will definitely catch your attention, you may stop and wonder, and you may marvel at its glory. Much like the tree that grows out of a rock, the man or woman who burns with passion breaks through the conformity of society and becomes something truly unique. We marvel at the beauty, we marvel at the individuality, but we also marvel at the sheer fortitude of this being to exist in stark contrast to the laws of the world.
What makes a bigger impression on the mind of the observer, the millions who run from the tanks of oppression, or the single man who stands before them fearless? There is a special breed of person, and special existence that awaits the man or woman who decides to defy everything else, to establish their own values, think their own thoughts, and live life exactly as they wish to live their life. These are the people remembered: these are the people living life with passion, a dedication to something beyond their own existence, a special calling they have chosen to follow.
Living a life of passion doesn’t mean throwing logic and reason to the wayside in preference of emotion and impulse, but very much the opposite. The man or woman who lives with passion knows what they want, their heart has already burned a path through their mind and they have no doubts as to the greatness they seek to achieve. The person of passion will forgo the temptations of comfort and security, because they believe that their life’s work: their magnum opus, is bigger than their desires. There is something that exists beyond any and all of us, there is some purpose few or none of us can understand, and passion is God’s gift to us to guide us through our life.
Our passion burns within us and cannot ever be fully extinguished, even if it is covered up and reduced to a cinder, it will stay inside of us burning slowly and quietly. A passion that exists reduced to a cinder inside of us, will often make itself known to us through different ways. A passion that is starved will create feelings of hopelessness, feelings that life is meaningless, feelings of jealousy, envy, and hatred. When our passion is caged inside of us, we cage up our heart and hide the key. I know you desire something more, and that something more is inside of you waiting to be rediscovered.
Why do children laugh harder than us, love more deeply than us, live with more vibrance than us? A child has not yet been conditioned to stifle the life force and passion that exist within them. We were once children too, alive, hopeful, inquisitive about life and the world, but over time we were hurt, bullied, beaten, and oppressed. At some point most of us come to believe it is better to live conservatively than it is to risk pain or disappointment. We naturally learn to hide our dreams inside where they are safe from the abuse and criticism of others. Most of us are too afraid to love deeply, too embarrassed to live with vitality, too sad and broken to smile like we mean it.
Just know that whatever used to live inside of you and flow through you, like light bursting through the window curtains, still exists within you: it may be weakened or hard to feel, but its still there, burning like before. It is still awaiting your tender care and attention, it still awaits for you to stoke the ember into a flame, to feed it and build it into an inferno.
There are only a very small number of people where the ember ever fully extinguishes, and these are the people whose souls have become blackened, their only joy comes from the pain and suffering of others. I believe there are some out there that life has beaten, and that have accepted that their is nothing left for them in life, yet they still have the ember inside them- in a state of lifeless glow- waiting for something to relight it once again.
Igniting the fire inside of you gives others courage to do the same, following your heart empowers others to listen to theirs, living life with courage and without shame, will call others to join you in your act of defiance.
The world is neutral. Nature is neutral. Nature gives us times of sheer beauty and times of mass destruction, we have rain and sunshine, abundance and drought: its all random. Nature doesn’t care if it destroys 10 million dollar homes or a ghetto with a tsunami, life is still life, and one human life does not ever mean more or less than another where nature is concerned. All mankind is united in our vulnerability, we are all united in biological process and function: it is only within our minds that we differ. Life is not a matter of fixed intelligence: a poor immigrant may rise to the same levels as the most wealthy of business men given enough passion and commitment.
Society is also neutral, but it is also able to be influenced by the people within it. The people in power and the individuals that make up society, can influence the general direction of society. So the general tone of society can be negative and oppressive, yet leaders can rise up and change society, teachers can raise up a new generation of revolution that changes society. The world is not evil, the world is not a bad or heartless place, but there is enough pain within it to convince many of us that truly living is too dangerous to indulge in; even so, there are still those who act within the confines of their own mind, they dictate their own goals and dreams, and they live within the walls of society in a very special way that allows them to still be separate from the negativity and pain of society. There is still time for us, for you and those around you to decide to start living again, to decide to start loving and reaching towards something greater again.
I say throw away the script that others have written for you, use it as kindling to ignite the passions that still burn within you. Open the blinds, lower the shields, and begin to once again live life with a special vigor and vitality. You get one life, you are born and you die, that is out of your control, but what you do in between is what matters, what you do in between those two days is your legacy: your magnum opus to the world. You can choose now to accept the general consensus of society and hide away your heart where it festers quietly in the darkness of your own mind, or you can choose to live life as it was meant to be lived: waking each day with a purpose and a calling that comes from somewhere beyond you. Believe in that little voice of dissent within you, believe that your passion and heart are calling you towards your destiny, believe that something greater than your own existence is calling you to action.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”-Steve Jobs