What *am* I passionate about?

So, I recently posed question to a friend: “What are you passionate about?”  Well, turnabout is fair play?  Regardless, seems fair I be asked that same question.  Typically good to also take one’s one suggestions/recommendations/advice, too – dose of one’s own medicine and all that.

What am I passionate about?  Can’t really think of anything I’m passionate about.  Interested in?  Sure.  Care about?  Quite definitely.  But, passionate about?  Can’t think of anything that “rises to” or is at that level for me – at least currently or relatively recently.

I guess my mood, interest, “passion” has been a bit down since, oh, roughly around breakup of a long-term long-distance relationship … that was around the middle of 2012.  But it’d been since earlish 2008 since we’d even so much as seen each other, so, well, especially the last year or so of it, seemed quite heading towards a “break up” anyway – as I think things quite weren’t progressing as either of us wanted it to.  (Long distance sucks, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.)  So, did breakup, etc. “cause” a … loss of “passion”?  Or, … was that more like a symptom of such?  I don’t think it’s at all nearly as simple as an “either or” – nowhere close.  But probably at least significantly interrelated.  All that time apart (over 4 years!) was significantly demotivational – particularly as it went on, and on, for so long.  But that’s more to do with the “relationship” itself and it’s impact on that, but also, that’s certainly not unrelated to how I felt in general.  Anyway, felt particularly like crud after that breakup (and way too dang alone – not that I felt a helluva lot less alone in the year or so before that breakup – but the breakup brought that feeling – and reality – a heck of a lot more home).  Anyway, bounced back fair bit since then.  Uhm, no, not like relationship(s) – ah, to be so lucky.  Nope.  But, at least not so much feeling like crud, anyway.  But passionate?  About anything?  Was I ever before?  Oh, probably at least more so, anyway … yeah, at least certainly relatively and relatively arguably so.

And what, if anything, is (so) important about passionate anyway?  E.g. why did I pose the question to friend?  Well, mostly a matter of drivers, inspiration, mood, etc.  Good to be passionate about something(s).  Tend to be more interested, productive, feel better, and that generally tends to help out a lot in general and for everyone involved.  And most notably there, “everyone involved” – anyone and everyone I interact with.  If my mood is better, interest piqued, and if I’m (more) passionate about what I’m doing, etc., it’s also better for them.  So, if not even for me, better for me to be (more) passionate about whatever, for how it influences and interacts with anyone and everyone I interact with.  Hmmm, so, in case of my asking friend I’m mostly thinking of how it impacts friend, and in asking self, I’m mostly thinking about how it impacts others.  Regardless, being passionate about something(s) is important.

So what am I passionate about?  Or, … if not passionate, at least more-or-less fairly interested in, or have been passionate about and likely would, or could be again?  Relationship(s), friend(s)?  Yes.  Particularly close friend(s) I do care quite a bit about.  Relationship – well, if/when I’m actually well in one of those, certainly quite so – care much about the other person and the relationship.  Often – or certainly at least sometimes, do pour a lot into such too.  And, enjoy doing it – even when it’s dang hard – and that certainly at least sometimes happens.  “But”, friendship(s), relationship(s) ‘n all that, generally at least somewhat limiting.  Sure, at times, I’ll pour a helluva lot into that, but should never be the only thing I care about or am “passionate” about – that wouldn’t be particularly good or healthy.  And also, it typically tends to be somewhat limited/limiting.  E.g. the other person only wants so much attention, “passion”, “help”, assistance, time together or interacting, etc.  So, at best that is (or should be) an “also includes” – as in “also includes being passionate about close friend(s)/relationship(s)”.  I.e. that shouldn’t be the only thing I’m passionate about.

What about work/career?  Well, most of that is rather indirect.  Sure, interested in, (generally) like, etc., but “passionate about”?  Most of what I most care about, what I do in the way of work/career will likely never contribute to that very directly at all, but it does tend to contribute indirectly – and often in ways that are rather to quite intangible and where I mostly may never be especially aware of the impacts.  So, passionate about work/career?  Eh, not especially. Sure, sometimes some bits, and/or occasionally – but not more generally.  Sure, yeah, interested, etc., but passionate?  Not generally.

What about hobbies and other interests, other projects, likes, etc.?  Passionate about any of those – or have I been?  Hmmmm, … some, sometimes.  Don’t know, still, that most or any of them typically have risen to the level of “passionate”.  Like/liked, and/or been interested in, sure.  Maybe even occasionally “excited” – or nearly so.  But … passionate?  Eh, don’t think so.  Certainly at least not generally.

Hmmmm, and therefore from that we conclude …  Uhm, don’t think I’d quite thought it out that far ahead.  In case of friend, if, say friend responded something like, “Not passionate about anything”, I think my next thoughts/steps/suggestions, as appropriate, would be along the lines of “How do we fix that?”  (Presuming) ought to be passionate about something(s) – so how do we (re)gain that passion?  So, in being fair (or attempting thereof), I get to turn that around on me – so, … how do “fix” that with me?  How do I gain, or regain, being passionate about … well, … really much of anything?

At least at first glance – how do I (re)gain that passion – about anything, my initial, or off-the-cuff reaction is, “I haven’t a clue.”  But that’s probably not 100% accurate.  So, … I peek, poke, prod, dig, deeper.  And what do I find, or what would I find that “works”, or seems fairly likely it more-or-less would? Hmmm, relationship?  Not exactly – may be a (quite!) significant piece to the “puzzle” – but definitely not completely “the” answer.  I mean good healthy relationship can be great and positively reinforcing and supporting ‘n all that, and also quite something good to put time/effort/energy/resource into too, but … need something more to well round things out and cover what ought be covered.  So, not so much what am I passionate about, but what causes me to be passionate about something?

Hmmmm, ’causes me to be passionate’ about.  Not as in makes – as in forces me to be passionate.  Naw, that doesn’t and (generally?) wouldn’t work.  But rather, what types of factors and motivators tend to have me be or become passionate about something?  As it’s not that that which I’m passionate about is 100% consistent – that seems to vary and change (at least somewhat) over time.  Seems the consistency on the “passionate about” is what about those things ’causes’ me to be passionate about them?  And again, not ’causes’ as in forces me – more like I’m inherently, or nearly so, passionate about – whatever it might be – for some common reasons/factors – some common threads in things I tend to be passionate about.  Hmmmm…  Recognition?  Naw.  Sure, some wee bit is good, and more so personal, direct, genuine, than not, but for the most part not a significant motivator – in fact often shrink/shy/duck from recognition, and will even often run quite counter to it.  Accomplishment?  Oh, sort’a – but not in-and-of-itself.  It’s more complex than that.  What kinds of accomplishments?  And certainly not just, or only, accomplishments – not even mostly those.  Doing something to/for … what end?  Hmmm, getting warmer.  Seeing results, or knowing the results are achieved?  Hmmm, possibly, factors somewhere in there in feedback and all, but that doesn’t seem to be quite it.  Knowing it’s the right thing to do?  Yeah, sure, that’s always important – but does that get me passionate about something?  Perhaps sometimes, but I think more generally “just” a (quite!) significant factor.  Building something useful?  For whom?  To do what?  Definitely not quite putting my finger on it – at least not (quite) via that line of questioning/”reasoning”.  So, …

Reframe the question.  Try one I find a fair bit easier to more definitively answer.  What things have I been or would I be passionate about?  And, going more generally, not the things I’d be passionate about, but the motivators – what motivating factors would have me be passionate about doing or achieving whatever?  Ah, now I can get a bit farther than a “Gee wiz, I dunno.”  Helping someone I (quite) care about?  Close, but a bit more specific than that.  Usefully (to them) helping someone I (quite) care about, and most especially when I may be quite uniquely positioned to help them – where most (or all available) others can’t, or can’t in the ways I can.  Okay, so that’s one general area (and ties into friends/relationship(s) ‘n all that).  Hmmm, more generally?  Helping people/causes/issues I care about.  And similarly, where my contributions are (relatively) uniquely valuable.  E.g. where I’m doing stuff “nobody” else can (or no one else is both able and willing to do so).  Something roughly like that.  Okay, so maybe that counts for two – a second general area (or 1.5 – semi-overlaps the first).  I like interesting, challenging stuff – but when am I passionate about such?  Competition?  Cooperation/collaboration/teamwork?  Yes, … sort of.  Various factors – good friendly competition, good/useful cooperation/teamwork – often building upon each others energies and ideas.  But takes more than “just” that.  There’s also the what’s being aimed for or accomplished – or to what end.  A more or particularly noteworthy aim/goal that I care about, then yes, I might be passionate about working towards that aim/goal.  Various other things also factor in – socio-dynamics ‘n all that – sometimes only moderate factor – sometimes significant to perhaps “huge” factor.  In any case, it’s not “just”, or “enough” – at least for the most part – to be doing/pouring stuff off into some vacuum – e.g. no clue if it’s used, applied, useful, appreciated, etc. or not – that doesn’t work for me – or at least not for very well for very long.  Probably some other bits and pieces, and combinations of things/factors, which will tend to have me be passionate about something – not sure what they may all be – might not be super important to even necessarily figure that out.  But being passionate about something(s) is important.

So, what am I passionate about?  Buggers, still haven’t come up with particularly good complete answers on that.  Most notably that’s kind’a lacking at present, and has been for a fair while.  But wee bit closer to “an answer” – or more notably, “a fix”.  (Better) understand the motivators, and under what motivating conditions I would be passionate about something(s), well, then that much closer to being able to figure out how to be passionate about something(s).

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