Call me a romantic, but one of my favorite movies of all time is Serendipity. I love it. One of the lines in the movie says something about the Greeks and how they didn’t write obituaries… when a man died they just asked if he lived with passion. It turns out, that isn’t really true, but there is something wonderful about that idea.
People who know me well know that there are many things that I’m very passionate about. I’m passionate about my job. I’m passionate about audio, video, photography, and music. I’m very passionate about being able to build and fix things on my own. I’m passionate about learning new things and new skills. I’m passionate about making sure my good friends are happy. The list could go on and on…
I find, however, that few people I meet are very passionate about many things, if anything at all. We’ve somehow cultivated a society of people who are content to coast through life. Frankly, I can’t even come anywhere close to understanding that mentality.
Life is wonderful! There are so many things to do, so many things to see. The things that I would love to do could fill ten lifetimes, easily, and by then I’d find enough new things to fill ten more. I’d love to pursue several different career paths. I’d love to spend hours or days with my friends and family, just getting to know them better. I’d love to invent things, make things better. I’d love to share the knowledge I’ve been given with everyone around me. I’d like to learn something about everything, then learn something more. I’d love to develop my weaker talents into something amazing. I’d love to help friends find and pursue their own passions.
When I see other people that are content with just being, rather than doing, it makes me sad. How can anyone not take advantage of so many amazing opportunities available to us, especially in this country, with all of the modern conveniences that we have. It dumbfounds me. How can anyone sit at home just watching TV or playing on the Internet when there are so many awesome things to do with our time?
One of my responsibilities at work is to interview software developer job applicants to see if they would fit well in our company. I’ve also worked with a number of software developers over the years. And one thing that consistently tells me if someone is going to be a good employee is their passion for their work. Résumés don’t even come close to telling the whole story. The best predictor I’ve found about who is going to be a great employee is their passion for writing software, and those who are passionate about it don’t wait until college to start to learn how. They start when they are kids… teenagers at the latest. Someone could have a 4.0 GPA from a prestigious school in Computer Science, but unless they started tinkering as a kid and continued to improve their skills through their teenage and adult years, they are going to be nearly worthless as an employee. They may have the piece of paper that qualifies them, but they don’t have passion for the work, so they’ll never invest.
I’ve always said that you should do what you love, and love what you do. I hadn’t ever really labeled it as such, but isn’t that what passion is?
Have you found your passion? Are you making the most of it?