What is it that awakens and drives both our creative and entrepreneurial spirit?
The answer: passion.
The word, desire may also come to mind.
Sometimes the words passion and desire are used interchangeably but I’d like to start by making a distinction.
Desire is external. We desire something outside of us. A person, a place, a thing.
Passion is internal. It comes from within. It’s what motivates us. Inspires us. Drives us. It’s who we are. It’s why we’re here.
The dictionary defines passion as, “a strong and barely controllable emotion”.
I find it interesting that the word ‘passion’ is derived from the Latin root ‘pati’ — which means ‘to suffer.’ 1 Put another way, it’s the motivating force that counteracts feelings of fear, unhappiness and pain. It’s our inner voice of determination pushing us through suffering to achieve a goal. I would argue it’s at the center of the age-old idea that artists must suffer for their work.
Let’s call our Voice of Passion, P. P is truly our superhero voice. P will get us through when things get tough.
Interestingly enough, the feeling we get when we are passionate, that feeling of pure euphoria we get when we are doing something truly meaningful— that’s as real as it gets. It’s our brain being lit up in yet another way2. Whatever it is that we’re passionate about, we should live it, love it, embrace it. It’s one of life’s great rewards.
Many have said that passion comes from our heart. That’s because it’s similar to love. I hate to break it to you, but our heart is not in charge of our emotions. It’s our primitive brain at work.
Even though love and passion trigger our emotional brain, what’s different is that passion and love deactivate the neural pathway responsible for negative emotions like fear and doubt. Medical School professor Richard Schwartz says, “That’s the neural basis for the ancient wisdom, “love is blind”.3
Love is great but enough of that. Let’s focus on passion - the superhero that lives within us all. Passion is the fuel that drives our creative and entrepreneurial spirit.
Here’s a question that will help us put all this together…
When we feel passionate about something we become what?
Inspired! These feelings of passion and the inspiration that follows motivate our spirit and propel us forward.
I like to think of this as a perpetual motion feedback loop. When I’m passionate about something I get inspired. That inspiration in turn generates more passion. Then - more inspiration, passion, inspiration, passion. And it goes on and on, infinitum.
Sounds great right? But what if we find ourselves saying… I’m not passionate about anything. I don’t think I have a creative or entrepreneurial spirit. I just don’t feel it.
Oh… that thought sucks the air out of the room doesn’t it? Which negative voice in your head just told you that?
Time for P to save the day. We must alleviate ourselves from our suffering and see if we can find our passion (and by the way, we can, and should, have many passions).
It’s in everyone’s best interest to find their passion, purpose and meaning. For in the absence of meaning, we are left with “meaninglessness”4. And that has a strong relationship with depression, anxiety, addiction and worse.
That being so, I want you to think about P, your Voice of Passion as a future-forward, positive light. Use your voices of optimism and curiosity as well to think positive and be curious about yourself.
To start thinking about your passion(s), here are nine questions that will help get your Passion-Inspiration Feedback Loop spinning:
What inspires me?
What am I passionate about?
What is it that’s in my heart, so to speak?
What is it that will get me up every morning and motivate me to be my very best?
What is it that will drive me forward through thick and thin?
What decisions will I make to change my current situation?
What decisions will I make with my freedom to choose?
What is it about me that makes me uniquely qualified?
Who will miss out if I don’t deliver that which is uniquely me?
This post is based on a chapter from my book entitled, “Embracing Change: Your Go-To Guide To Your Desired Future”. If you enjoyed this and are interested in seeing more “change for the better” content please visit my website rudypoe.com.