As the great Elle Woods said when she graduated Harvard, "I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world."
And yes, Elle Woods is just a character in a movie. And maybe there aren't many ditsy, blonde, Gemini vegetarians who get into Harvard Law School. But I've still chosen to make her quote my mantra and to let passion be the driver of my success. To me, passion is the feeling you get when you listen to your heart, over all the voices in your head, over logic, and over what anyone else thinks. And that is so important in taking on the "what's next."
Too often we get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Or we let money motivate us because we're convinced that in order to have a full and happy life, we need a lot of it. And I'm not about to act like money isn't necessary. I enjoy buying stuff and being able to pay my rent and electric bill just as much as the next guy. But are the physical luxuries worth as much as peace of mind?
At some point, we all have to make a choice. We have to stack our needs up beside our wants and see what's realistic from both. We create a plan for how we'll get them, commit to some sacrifices, and pray it all works out the way we planned (knowing and accepting that it still won't). This all usually happens in college when we couldn't be more hopeful, hesitant, and petrified. So there's nothing wrong with some trial and error to figure out what's best.
But people are afraid to make mistakes that they can learn from. It's fear of struggle and of patience. And I think it's from the fear of messing up that people go to school to study things they hate. They choose security over happiness, money over passion, and matter over mind.
But given the opportunity, passion should be high on the list of fulfillment. Because the truth is, without passion, you're not left with a whole lot of permanence. Passion is something you can't lose once you've got it. Rather than you having to spend your entire life chasing after it, it has the ability to drive you toward all the other things you will have to chase. Like love, happiness, success, and money.
I've known people who love kids and their hearts ache to teach them. But because of the salary and the hours they'd have to put in, they decide against it. And anyone who could be lucky enough to benefit from their passion can't. The entire world misses out on art and creativity when people disregard their passions. And passion can be scary because its fulfillment is never guaranteed, but nothing ever truly is. And a dream you're passionate about and believe in has a much better chance of coming to fruition than a dream you're afraid of.
And the coolest part, to me, is that every person has a unique set of goals. If you go after your passions — whatever they are — your life is going to be on its own track. But chasing after things that other people have puts you on their road to success. I guess that's why listening to my heart has been so important to me. I don't want someone else's success.
I pay attention to what makes my heart beat extra fast. I choose my art, creativity, love, and freedom. That means I'll struggle and I'll fail but I'll never stop choosing passion. What, like it's hard?