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Sweat, toil and tears isn’t always necessary for a life of success, but hard work is. It may seem at first that you can’t do one of the above without the other occurring, but I disagree. The ingredient to this equation of hard work changes dramatically if the hard work you are putting in involves doing something you are passionate about.
Passion has an almost numbing attribute to it. Numbing in the sense that it doesn’t hurt, the effort isn’t painfully given, all time seems to disappear as the habit of checking the clock is deleted from your memory. Think about it. If you are a gardener – you can spend hours digging in the dirt and not realize the length of time that has flown by. If you are a writer, you can sit typing away, jotting down thoughts until your eyelids decide you must get some sleep. If you are a lover of nature, you can sit and enjoy a pristine lake in the early hours of the day and pay no mind to having to wake up so early. And if you are someone who loves to shop and pull a variety of outfits together, well . . . need I say more?
Let me first clarify by saying that I couldn’t agree more with Jay-Z’s quote. Yes, in order to achieve something great, something of extraordinary accomplishment, hard work must be put into it. But just as an immense amount of fuel must be put into a Boeing 747 in order for it to travel safely across an ocean, if you are passionate about what you are doing, passion is what will propel you to continue to spend those untold hours that you don’t get rewarded monetarily for in the beginning. And to you, spending time immersed in your passion will be a release, it will be fulfilling in a way you’ve never felt before, a way of expressing yourself because you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Because once you discover your passion, it is a fire that burns inside of you that pushes you to do more than you could have ever at first imagined.
If you are at a point in your life where you feel you don’t know what your passion is or you feel, when you really think about it, something or someone else has determined what you should be passionate about, take the time to explore. Listen to you heart, let your gut guide you and try the things that are interesting to you. An example I observed in my life was my brother – he could spend hours, many times an entire day on the golf course without realizing morning had turned to dusk in seemingly a blink of an eye (well, except to know when to go to the clubhouse to get a sandwich) and I have to say, I couldn’t be prouder of him for pursuing a life as a golf pro because it is what he is truly passionate about.
You may not know why certain ideas and/or events/tasks are interesting, but for some reason they grab your attention. For example, in an interview this past weekend Paula Abdul shared that at the age of four when she saw Singing in the Rain on television for the time, she was immediately drawn to Gene Kelly. She became mesmerized. Now what good, sound reason would cause her to be drawn to something she had never seen before at such a young, yet unedited age? Something spoke to her. But the key here is, she was listening (and in this case, her parents were as well).
What speaks to you? What do you love to do, even if nobody else understands? So what if they don’t understand. View it as your very own scavenger hunt and pursue it, try new things, take new classes, introduce yourself to people in positions that intrigue you. Don’t be shy. This is your life and you just lost another minute.
While the work trying to discover what your passion is may bring toil and tears, once you discover it, only tears of joy will fall down. Trust me.