Question: Dear Luise: My work has become a very dull experience for me. I lack passion in my life. I don’t necessarily want to change what I do, but I would like to know how to be filled with enthusiasm. I’ve read that passion is the ingredient that makes life worth living. Is it something that can be acquired or is it part of the personality of some people while the rest of us just missed the boat? Thank you, Ken
Answer: Dear Ken: I would like to invite any of my readers who want to comment on this subject, to do so. That’s always true, of course, but this subject is vastly personal. Passion at work, in hobbies, or in a marriage is often not sustainable. It does occur, but it’s rare. I’ve seen passion more often connected with novelty, newness, and infatuation. Most of us have known artists who’s work became “just a job,” as the years passed. Many athletes just can’t stay fired up and even get to where competition gets stale. I wonder if the way some of them act out, socially, is just to get a spark going again and feel more alive? We have examples like Mother Teresa, who, if what we read is true, maintained a fierce degree of passion toward her work and humanity until she drew her last breath. Yet, psychologists tells us that successful maturity is more often filled with peace and acceptance.
Change is the number one antidote when passion fades. Sometimes that is totally impractical, whether it involves leaving a well-established career or a devoted spouse. Variation is another option, and by that I mean introducing something new into your life like a new hobby or travel, (if you haven’t been into that before.) Why not seek contrast or something unique, interesting and/or difficult? Creating challenge and effort, through redirection may bring you into passion, but it isn’t guaranteed. We simply get used to what becomes routine, and we can’t honestly fire ourselves up about the mundane. Something someone else does may look great, but if you talk with them, they may think what you do looks far better. I think you are right that some people are naturally passionate about what they do and/or life in general. Sometimes it’s authentic but it can be faked, and often is. Look and see what you would most like to do. Can you incorporate it into your life in a practical way? If so, nothing ventured…nothing gained! Blessings, Luise