Passions are hard to define. When is a passion a passion and not a fruit? What is a hobby, a job, a career, an activity or a passion? Over and above defining what exactly a passion is trying to understand what motivates you and others to pursue a certain goal or way of life is near impossible. Harder still is trying to explain your passion to someone who could not be more disinterested. And lastly, and the longest shot of them all, is you trying to understand another person’s passion. For me this is football I just don’t get it.
It is good to have different interests and passions but when do the costs become too great to sustain a passion? Passions can be self-absorbed, have world relevance and can be measured financially, emotional, psychological, physiologically or materially.
Are bankruptcy, divorce or death too much? For some any of these would be too high a price to pay but for other this is par for the course. But where is the line drawn? Athletes at the top of the their game have been known to say that they are prepared to die to win a race. Astronauts that shoot off into space knowing there is a high probability that they could not return also take death as an acceptable outcome. This goes beyond a hobby or interest and manifests into something to live for something that is bigger than yourself.
Passions do not have to link with direct action but can be held as a feeling or belief until challenged. For instance, Winston Churchill could have felt passionately that Britain would remain an independent sovereign nation in his lifetime. If this passion had not been challenged then it is possible that no direct action would have come from it. He would have not felt inclined to prove himself on the world stage as a leader to ensure this countries security. Not a job everyone would have wanted.
Therefore does a passion carry more weight when it is proven though trial and tribulations? When you passion bites back how do you take it? If you give up at a hint of being uncomfortable then are you passionate? If you passion is always challenging you and you still keep with it then does it hold more significance?
Sacrifice appears to be linked with passion. So much can pass you by but when something focuses your attention grabs your resources and provides consistent positive reinforcement maybe that is a passion. I have dipped my toe into motorcycling and found it hard to stay passionate. Literally and figuratively the odds are against you on every turn.
The price of the machine, the gear, consumables, taxes and insurance run well into the thousands before you even get the bike moving. When you are moving you are spending every mile; you are burning fuel, adding miles to the machine, wearing out your kit and a day closer to having to repay the insurance company.
You are not playing the odds. The risk of you being seriously injured or dying following a relatively minor ‘misunderstanding’ on the road are exponentially higher than that of other road users. A failure of your machine can be cataclysmic. You are less visible, more open to the elements and need to maintain a higher level of concentration. Rider skill to manage developing hazards has to be razor-sharp. And what do you get in return? Why do you put yourself through these complications and higher risks? I cannot answer that. All I know is that we I see a motorcycle all of these concerns melt away become secondary. I begin dreaming instead of dreading. I begin looking forward, thinking, planning, writing and investigating into all avenues of the sport. I become energised and interested. I want to develop my own skills and knowledge. A raft of ideas come to mind. I am engaged and have purpose for my time. I invest in motorcycling as I invest in myself. I want to progress and develop as a person and somehow by engaging with this sport I am able to begin to achieve that.
I have learnt patience, mechanical skill, communicating with all types of peoples and companies, vehicle control, finical reasonability, market trends, racing stats, engineer reports, travellers tales, problem solving, vehicle valuation, my own limits and so much more. This initial interest in something different has developed into so much more.
So ‘follow your passion’ can be a dangerous statement. If you had asked me to follow my passion 5 years ago motorcycles would have never entered into the equation. The instruction would be bettered if it was ‘develop your interests’ or ‘enhance your hobby’ these statements lend themselves to the notion of a purposeful journey ahead opposed to a blind walk in the woods. You may currently have a hobby or interest in its infancy and with time and personal development may become a passion. As an example it is good to remember that Charles Darwin spent eight years writing a book and became a subject leader on Barnacles. A departure from evolutionary studies and published before ‘The Origin of Species’ I am not sure in 1845 (a year before he began his research) he would had said Barnacles was a passion of his. But the more he looked and the more learnt and developed a purpose for his time he must have at one point became very passionate about the intricacies of Barnacles. Like you would over a certain motorcycle model whereas before may have all sort of blurred into one.
Remembering that your passion is not a destination or a material object but it is an intangible phenomenon that has to be crafted and developed meaning there is no telling where it may lead you.