Robert Genn, of Painters Keys and author of an inspiring bi-weekly letter, wrote a very interesting letter yesterday on how you find your passion. He gave a great example of a Doctor who was so exhausted that she finally decided to pursue her passion and the results of her pursuit. Robert then advised us on how to identify our passions:
The word passion comes from the Latin “patior,” meaning to suffer or to endure. These days, losing its uncomfortable roots, passion is a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion toward a subject, idea, person or object. Here’s how to get it:
Revisit and repossess your core dreams and fantasies.
Consider your dreams to be private, unique and sacred.
Get help from and watch the actions of the already passionate.
Indulge, honour and live in your own imagination.
Don’t talk about it, do it.
See your passion manifested into action or production.
I think one thing Robert Genn should have mentioned is that passion by it’s nature breeds excellence. If you love what you do, and you give it everything with in you, it will become a thing of excellence.
If you had asked me 10 years ago what my passion was I would have told you my job. I loved it and where I worked and although I did not derive my sense of self from my job, I felt like I was providing a significant contribution to making our country a better and safer place.
But now I find I need more. I work in a different place and I love my job and the people I work with. It’s a great job and I am making a solid contribution. But my passions have expanded.
A large part of my spare time is spent either reading about art and artists or painting/drawing/sketching or doodling. I have other interests and responsibilities (i.e., getting very interested in the electoral process and volunteering to help various causes) nonstop reading, some computer gaming although I play less and less, writing, and blogging. But my love has always been art. Whether viewing works of others or creating it myself. The hardest part for me is trying to take what I can visualize and translating that vision onto paper or canvas.
I have been studying art, first with Leo Nuefeld in New Mexico and now with Robert Liberace in Virginia. In a perfect world I would have already stopped working and would be attending art school full time using my GI Bill.
When I moved to DC I had decided to work for five more years, then I would get to do what I wanted-paint and create. Given the current financial meltdown and it’s impact on my retirement savings, doing this isn’t possible anymore. My new goal is to work no later than 2015 and then I could retire and paint full time. This means that I have to relocate to someplace inexpensive to live once I retire (DC is not a cheap place to live). It also means I need to be somewhat selfish but in a good way.
I don’t want to be the little old lady who is sad because I let my dreams escape me and when I pass I want to know that I didn’t hurt others in order to achieve my dreams and passions and that I did my best to achieve them.