Not long ago, someone asked me what I was passionate about. I wasn't expecting the question, so I kind of choked. I didn't know what to say... not for a lack of things to talk about, but rather for fear that having too many things to list might seem excessive.
In hindsight, I should have let it all out.
It's true that I am passionate about good work... not just good work, remarkable work. Whether it's the cut and stitching of a shirt or a fantastic website, an oil painting or a carbon-fiber time-trial bike, an incredibly well-designed backpack or a perfectly prepared paella, great work - remarkable work - is something to be passionate about. And in that, I wasn't all that far from the point. But there's a lot more to it than that.
There's life, for one. Before you can be passionate about anything, you have to be passionate about life... otherwise, what passes for passion is little more than addiction.
Also see dependency.
Also see projection.
To be passionate about life is to be passionate about all things. It means having the curiosity of a child. It means holding on to as much innocence as you can for as long as you can. It's the only vaccine against bitterness, apathy and the death of the spirit. Life is a fragile but powerful gift. Life is a mystery. Life is worth being passionate about. It's our largest and finest canvas. It is the vehicle through which we change the world.
There's love too. Love. There's a word taken for granted if I ever heard one. I'm not talking about my love for super dark Belgian chocolate or ripe figs plucked right from the tree or Chuck Palahniuk novels. I mean LOVE. A child's love for her mother. A man's love for his wife both at the start of the courtship and at the end of their lives. A woman's love for her child. The love of a dog for his master. A soldier's love of country just before running into battle. I am talking about the kind of love that fills you with a thick sticky heat and puts a lump in your throat and makes you want to cry. The kind of love that makes you roll down your windows, crank up the volume and sing at the top of your lungs. The kind of love that inspires you to create something beautiful. A painting. A sculpture. A symphony. A photograph. A novel. A life.
I am passionate about my children. About my wife. About my dogs. I am passionate about my love for my parents, even if I don't always have the courage to let it show. I am passionate about honoring the courage of my grandparents and about keeping their memories alive.
I am passionate about every day. About discovering new places any chance I get. About meeting bright minds and generous hearts. About the kind of simple beauty that sometimes come in solitary fleeting moments.
I am passionate about making the world better, one little piece at a time. One smile at a time, one product at a time, one encouraging word at a time. I am passionate about helping people with talent and vision see their dreams come true. I am passionate about truth and justice and the beauty of the human intellect.
I am passionate about being true to myself. About replacing the average and the mediocre with the extraordinary. About planting the seeds of change and hope and progress.
I am passionate about probing mysteries.
I am passionate about good food. I mean seriously good food. The kind of food that takes all day to prepare. The real deal. Catch it or pick it in the morning. Work lovingly on it all day. Enjoy with friends that night. That.
I am passionate about a great story.
I am passionate about synchronicity. About synergy. About people having fun while making something great together.
I am passionate about grinning enthusiasm.
I am passionate about photographing the essence of a moment. Of a thought. Of a heartbeat.
I am passionate about the magical gift of small unexpected moments. The kinds of moments that pass through you like the slightest shiver but stay with you forever. Like the first time you actually feel nature swell and come to life just before dawn.
The first time you discover, standing over a stunned bully, that you are stronger than you thought you were.
The first time you find yourself humbled and completely taken by a cause greater than yourself.
I am passionate about art. About truth. About scaring myself to death on rollercoasters. About speaking out against injustice.
I am passionate about great writing.
I am passionate about great design.
I am passionate about any conversation that starts with "what if?"
I am passionate about the word "yes".
So yeah, I am passionate about great marketing and cleverly crafted ads and helping companies become the market leaders they wish they were... but that's just one branch on a very full and unruly tree.
That's what I should have said.