TED Conversations

Vice Principal, Educator - High School

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What is your greatest passion and how have you been able to develop and sustain it?

I am curious about when people developed a long standing passion and what caused them to become inspired by the topic/activity. Did you discover it on your own or was it the result of the modelling of others. Is there greater motivation to act primarily for self improvement or for the betterment of others?


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  • Aug 31 2011: Whether your passion is literature, music, athletics, helping others or any host of other pursuits, what caused you to become enamored with it? Can we help others find their passions, or do passions arise out of experience and individual discovery?
    • Aug 31 2011: In a way, both. The way I look at it is similar to arranged marriages. You can arrange a marriage between people and, through exposure to each other for years, they can learn to love each other. I was introduced to piano at age 4 (something I would consider a "passion" today), and I hated it for years, but through practice and gaining skill, I love it and still play competitively, but moreso for fun. I know that it is something I will carry out for the rest of my life. That passion is something that my parents guided me to, not an individual discovery. The "individual discovery" would be more like finding your own spouse, without much extra guidance. You meet them and, if all goes well, you will fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. However, since you're not forced into it, there is a chance that this love won't last. I feel it's the same with individual discoveries. For me, every couple weeks I go through a new phase of thinking I'm going to learn this or do this. I think that if it's possible to find the passions that stick via individual discovery, we'll end up with an even greater passion for them than we would by one that's introduced. However, it's more challenging and takes years just to FIND that passion, let alone develop it. The "passions" that I have found through guidance of others are piano, reading and cooking/baking. The passions I've found for myself are writing, physics, TV (don't judge - it can be a passion), and my latest whim is Japanese - which I'm hoping will last. So, to sum up this whole thing, either can work, I feel individual may give a greater sense of satisfaction, but guided can also spark something great.

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