real talk | On Being Passionate (Even When You Aren't).

Here is a moment of complete honesty: it took me nearly the entire first semester of graduate school to feel passionately about being here. And that. was. terrifying. Because it was passion that inspired me to leave a job that I loved to go back to school and begin the career that I felt was my purpose. And each day, that passion felt farther away. I secretly feared that I had made a horrible mistake.

About a month in, my friend (and former co-worker) Logan texted me to ask how my classes were. It was after a long day of statistics and all the disappointment, uncertainty and downright boredom I'd been feeling came flooding out. 

His reply was the colossal piece of perspective I needed: "I guess the classes you're taking now are just the 101 type classes that were designed to thin the heard. They're tedious and boring so only those truly passionate about the subjects will stick around."

When I read that I thought to myself "I will not be thinned out! I am one of the truly passionate." This was my dream and I needed to start fighting against whatever it was keeping me from it.  So,  I wrote the following words in the front of my day-planner ...

How would a person with passion live this day?

The next morning, I had a dense reading to do for my Quantitative Analysis class and I was faced with the question from the night before. Does calculating statistical variance make my heart sing? No. But, what would I do if I did feel that way? I'd wake up at 6:30 and do the reading. So, I did. I started to live each day like a person with passion who wouldn't be thinned from the heard - regardless of feeling only the slightest inklings of interest.

To my surprise something kind of amazing happened. I actually started to feel passionately! Not necessarily about statistics as a whole, but about the act of working itself. That was motivation enough to carry my through the first 15 pages. Enough to bring me to a passage that was relevant to my research or to the world - to something I truly found interesting.

Recently I read a review with E.M Forest in the Paris Review. And they asked him ...

INTERVIEWER
Do you write every day, or only under inspiration?
FORSTER
The latter. But the act of writing inspires me.

With writing - as with so many things - our inclination is to wait for inspiration. I want the muses to sing, and for my work to be done with a flourish. But, the reality of hard work isn't like that.

When I feel discouraged and disinterested, I remind myself to act passionately, whether or not I feel passionately. Because I am passionate about living my dream. And this is what it looks like.

(photo) iPhone | sunday study sesh
Twitter FaceBook

Pin It

29 comments:

  1. I'm trying to find the words to express just how much I loved this post and... they just aren't coming.

    Writing that line out and pasting it ev-er-y-where. This is exactly what I needed to read today. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allie, I'm glad it found you at just the right time! Passion can seem like a big (often elusive) feeling, but it's helped for me to think of it as a daily act.

      Delete
  2. Awesome, awesome, oh so awesome. Coming from a fellow college student, I get you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fellow graduate student, struggling to find that passion here. I needed this today. Thank you :)
    - M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. M, that's so encouraging. We're in this together!

      Delete
  4. Ohh, I needed this today, after a bio exam for a class that, yet again, is making me rethink whether or not I want to go to med school. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. as Ms. Carrie Underwood said: "It's always worth the sacrifice, even when you think you're wrong." Keep going, Shivani! It'll be worth it.

      Delete
  5. I love this. Thanks for the different perspective on what can be such a frustrating subject.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sam, this post is perfect. Just what I need. Love your perseverance & vision.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amen! I'm actually writing a blog post about passion right now because I'm just annoyed at how many of my students say, "I lost my passion for this." Or "It's causing me to lose my passion." BS. Nothing can cause that except a lack of passion in the first place.

    Today with my students, I went around the room and asked them what their passion was, sort of a get to know you lesson. Why? Because I'd rather know what they're passionate about than anything else, dancer or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tiffany, I've been asking the same question of as I make friends here - "what are you passion about?" The important thing to me isn't WHAT they're passionate about it's that they ARE (in anything!) That spark makes such a difference in a person, I think.

      Delete
  8. Quite possibly my favorite post you've ever written!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for being my best-friend/life-cheerleaders you two!

      Delete
  9. Passion is truely the sole drive.
    The heart knows how to find it's way!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Word! I felt the same when I started my courses at university.. everything was just basic stuff and only a few lectures really interested me. This was kind of a shock, because I knew almost my whole life what I wanted to study. Fortunately, those courses were only what your friend called "101 type classes"..



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such a shock for me too! I don't think I've ever been bored in a class in my life. It's good to hear I'm not alone on this, and that we both got through it!

      Delete
  11. Sam. Thank you so much for writing this.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this Sam. What a wonderful reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are amazing! Love your photo too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sam,

    This post is amazing. I'm actually printing it out and putting in my planner so I can see it everyday. It really touched me. For me school can be draining and discouraging at some points but I have to remember the big picture! Thanks again for this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ayla, sometimes in a competitive environment it's hard to admit "hey, I'm really trying but I'm not quite 'in it' yet". But, I think it's more common than people let on. Reading your comment made me glad I wrote about the "draining and discouraging" parts that we both know are a part of school.

      Delete
  15. awesome post! and might I add, wonderful photo. :) I absolutely love when i recieve a yummy lattle complete with latte art.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am not a student anymore, but I know this feeling well. I have worked at the same company in a job that I am not necessarily passionate about (in terms of nuts and bolts components on my job). I often struggle for inspiration and for that fire to get lit within me. When I am really battling, I look at my employees, I look around my office, I talk to my clients, and I get that passion back, little by little.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm in my second semester of my MBA program, and I recently hit that "wall" with Business Law. I just stare at the same text over and over, and I comprehend it at a snail's pace. It's frustrating, but this post has given me that boost. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This post speaks right to my heart. I'm currently searching out how to direct my passions into something meaningful which has been difficult since I left my job to move overseas. "Live each day like a person with a passion" sounds like the perfect mantra to keep in mind.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for sharing this post! I really struggled with this all day yesterday - the job I thought I loved and was passionate about was downright draining and boring. This is a great reminder and a perfect start to my work day! Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love what you wrote in this post. As an undergrad, I've slowly realized as I get deeper into my area of focus what it means to be committed. I've fallen in love with it again really. This post inspires me even more to remain that way. Thank you for sharing; it's a beautiful reality.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for commenting, Darling Reader! I read + love each and every one of them. (Anonymous commenting has been turned off due to robots)

ashore All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger