A lot of people have been saying that the idea of doing what you love, following your passion, is actually a negative thing. It sets you up for failure. Of course, a select few in the world are the rare exception, but most likely you’ll end up disappointed, working a job that does what it needs to, slogging through life until you die. This is what they are saying that following your passion will do to you.

I’m writing this to tell you that there is no rare exception. Either a person becomes successful doing what they are passionate about or they fail, and chances are, the majority who fail weren’t all that passionate about it to begin with. The reason this idea that following your passion will leave you broken is, in my opinion, because passion is being confused with interest. 

An interest is defined as a few different things, but in this context, it means “a subject about which one is concerned or enthusiastic”. To be enthusiastic is to find intense enjoyment, interest, or approval in something. From childhood, we develop interests. We either pursue them or let them die. The ones we pursue grow. As we mature and move into adulthood, they either dictate our path and come into full bloom, or they don’t, and they either diminish or die like the rest. This is interest. An interest pursued can lead to personal and professional reward when nurtured, and yes, this is a good thing. 

But passion… 

Passion means: 1) strong and barely controllable emotion

    2) the suffering and death of Jesus

Passion is something that requires everything you’ve got to contain it. Passion is something you willingly walk twenty miles, barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways for and don’t complain. Passion is something that, for better or for worse, you just can’t live without. It’s getting-nailed-to-the-cross-for-it serious. Now, whether you believe in Jesus doesn’t matter. The point is made. This is something that transcends a career, a job, a hobby, a favorite pastime, or even an addiction. 

The reason that passion gets so confused with interest is because it is misunderstood to be the pursuit of a thing or a vocation. Consider this, however:

If the only thing Billy wants to do is be a film director as great as Spielberg, it’s not because he is passionate about directing. It’s because he’s passionate about creating something that impacts other people in the way Spielberg’s films impacted him. In that sense, he doesn’t have to be a director to succeed and find fulfillment. He just needs to be involved in making films. 

If all Jane wants is to be a neurosurgeon, she won’t become one if it’s just for the title or the salary. She will become a neurosurgeon because she is passionate about understanding neurology; how different things affect the nervous system, the human body, and everyday life; and in turn how she herself might contribute to the field. She doesn’t have to be a neurosurgeon to find fulfillment, however. All she needs to do is be involved in that field of study and work. 

Have you ever wondered how some people work in what are equated to menial jobs yet are still so happy? Because they are following their passion of service and humility, of being that person who is taking care of the little things that make other people’s lives easier, of maybe bringing a smile to someone else’s face. 

It must be understood that passion can manifest itself in different ways. It has nothing to do with jobs, with salaries, promotions, titles, degrees, or anything else. There are many people out there who would like you  to believe otherwise and will tell you their horror stories of following their passion and how it didn’t work out for them. Unfortunately, many people believe them and choose to not pursue what they’re passionate about. “It’s not going to happen, so why even try?” “It’s not working for other people, so why should I think I’m special?” 

It’s a sad story to walk away from passion, and it’s unlikely that most people know when they’re doing it. They’re probably only doing what’s expected of them. But convention is the death of passion. If you want a life that’s different, you must live it differently. There is a reason why people who pursue their passions tell you to do the same. There is a reason why the naysayers of passion will tell you to forget it.

The bottom line is that passion is something that exists within each person. It is not the byproduct of developing a skill or simply doing what you’re good at. At the same rate, you don’t have to pursue it to find happiness. However, if you want something that makes you excited to get out of bed each morning, if you want something that inspires you to improve yourself, if you want something that assures you of your purpose by its sheer existence, if you want fulfillment, without apology and without compromise follow your passion. 

mean /mēn/ noun

  • the average of a set of numerical values, calculated by adding them together and dividing by the number of terms in the set.

In the history of the world (as we know it), over one hundred billion human beings have been born, grown, loved, dreamed, cried, fought, reconciled, eaten, shit, itched, scratched, fucked, aged, and invariably died. Of these billions, we only know a small percentage of who those people were and what–if anything–they did. However, it’s only a matter of time before it’s all lost to the past (assuming the sun doesn’t explode prematurely).

Observing this and everything else in our universe, we know that nothing is permanent. Everything ends in one way or another. This fact in mind, we can say quite assuredly that what we are doing every day, no matter how slight or extraordinary it may be, will someday end and be forgotten.

So, why do anything at all? What is the purpose of our existence if nothing ever lasts?

Don’t worry. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole that is nihilism. Rather, let me draw your attention back to the word at the top of this post. You probably had a feeling it would come into play somewhere, and this is it. A mean in mathematics is an average. It is based on a group of combined numbers. A mean cannot be created from any solitary number no matter how large or small.

In just the same way, meaning does not exist in any solitary thing, person, place, or action. Only when there is another entity added to the factor can a meaning be made; a meaning reliant on all parts equally.

This is why each of us is not a universe. Despite what some might have you believe and no matter how romantic it may sound, we are, in fact, dependent on one another to add the necessary components to each other’s lives so that we might–together–create a meaning.

It is difficult, though, and at times we will inevitably find ourselves taking away from the lives of those around us. But that’s okay. The meaning fluctuates. It is fluid for all the fuck-ups and non-believers like us who insist on learning things the hard way.

And so what if the meaning changes? If it’s not what you believe it should be, then add to it. If the meaning isn’t quite how you imagined and you can’t think of a way to make it right, then surround yourself with people who will add to it. I promise, they won’t mind.

If nothing else, remember this:

Meaning is the collective tapestry of art by humanity. We cannot create meaning alone, and no one can create meaning without you.

If I understand things correctly, this is the post where I tell you what my site is all about. This is where I do my best to sell you on the idea that you should give a fuck about what I say. While you certainly should, it hasn’t escaped my attention that already too many people don’t give a fuck about what comes out of their own mouths, much less anyone else’s. Therefore, I won’t indulge myself in any delusions of grandeur no matter how brilliant my writing is. You don’t know me from Adam, and I don’t know you from Eve. There’s an apple that needs biting, though, and this feels like a pretty good place to start.

On this site, you will find three collections of my work. The first is titled “Studies In Gray.” and is a collection of short stories to which I will add a new story every other Wednesday at 1pm (barring any unforeseen setbacks and or writer’s block). The second collection is called “Blackouts In Blue.” and is a collection of poetry which will grow at my leisure. The third and last collection (for now) features two sub collections: [1] “Illustrations” which are all — you guessed it — illustrations from short stories, and [2] “Rokwart” containing all my other artwork including visual excerpts.

If, by chance, you do happen to find yourself giving a fuck about what I say, excellent. You should follow me. If reading my work makes you feel uncomfortable, even better. You should still follow me. If you find my writing to be worthy of a Third-Reich bonfire, my work here is done, and you should go fuck yourself* posthaste. And then, of course, follow me.

*Terms such as “go fuck yourself” are not intended as derogatory phrases, but part of an initiative supported by sdruiz.com and its affiliates promoting and encouraging safe reproductive practices including but not limited to fucking yourself, pulling out, using the back door, fellatio, birth control, plan B, plan C, and celibacy.

Because babies aren’t born smart, but they’re not born stupid, either.