The scariest thing in the world is that which you don’t understand.
Growing up it was dark rooms, monsters, and vegetables.
I’ve had two fears since considering myself of age to have a real opinion. Snakes, because they’re fuckers; and, mediocrity. I’m terrified of slouching through life, not making something of myself, or sadly finishing (life) without knowing what I should have done.
A couple of weeks ago and fifteen minutes into a conversation I was asked, “What’s your passion? What fires you up?”
I stood there and said nothing. The group around me chimed-in in effort to fill in the blank. They threw my hobbies and interests out like blind people throwing darts.
All I could think was, “I wish I knew.”
All I wanted to say was, “If I knew, I doubt I’d fallen into the job I’m in now.”
If I did speak I’d say, “I’ve spent sleeplessness nights over the past five years wondering just that. I’ve had six jobs, lived in more states, and put more effort into that question than anyone else I know and I still don’t have an answer. And if I did–it’d be something stupid and I’d be afraid to say it anyway.”
Probed again–he asked, “So, what is your passion?”
Another half-dozen suggestions come from the group.
“You don’t know, do you?” he said flatly. Shaking his head in disappointment he concluded, “That’s a really important question. You need to figure that out or you’ll never be successful.”
And he’s right. It’s pretty impossible to win when you don’t know what the game is. More importantly, how can you be content, happy, or feel accomplished when you don’t know what the goal is–where the end lies?
But this isn’t entirely about me. I think there’s a majority populace that (ignorantly) suffers from the same thing. The result? Having kids, finding religion, and mid-life crisis’s.
And I say ignorantly because we’ve all had a lustful endeavors–and we know exactly what it’s like to be head-over-heels for something; only to abandon it days, weeks, months, or maybe years later. Or in contrast, to do something because of an outside pressure only to question why you–and only you–don’t enjoy it.
Remember when you were going to be a [blank] in third-grade? Or how you ambitiously sought to do [blank] right after college? When asked what your passion was in high school, would it match up with your answer today? Were your answers then any more honest than they are now?
That feeling is an addiction that needs to be fed. And like an addiction, it makes you feel terrible to fulfill it–but you must. Doing it is so easy compared with the alternative. There’s burnout on the horizon and there’s only one way to get there.
Problem is–living that way isn’t living at all. There’s no way to experience, explore, or feel when existing through that sickness. And thus, you go through life never knowing. I see people on their phones while the opportunity to feel, see, and grow passes by. They must do whatever task of the moment is on their device… there’s a fire to put out (internally, figuratively); and doing the work to put it aside–the fear–is too great.
It’s far easier to engage surface endeavors–and infinitely less scary.