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: My greatest passion is whatever I'm doing in the moment, therefor, my greatest passion is LIFE:>)

    What caused me to develope a "long standing passion"?
    I'm came to this earth school for a reason, and I would not deny myself the opportunity to be fully engaged in each and every moment. When I am hiking, kayaking, gardening, writing on TED, talking with friends, doing volunteer work, reading a book, or just sitting pondering, I am passionate and fully engaged in the moment.

    Is there greater motivation to act primarily for self improvement or for the betterment of others?
    When we are fully engaged in the moment, there are opportunities to learn, grow and evolve in our "self", as well as learn, grow and contribute to the whole:>)
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    Aug 31 2011: Knowledge

    My greatest passion probably co-originated by the phrase my grandfather used to say: "self-knowledge is the beginning of all wisdom"
    My childhood fascinations for nature, the stars, play and religion actually never faded...

    my greatest passion is: understanding this world, and finding truth.

    That's probably why I studied psychology (what is it to be human?) and statistics (how does inductive knowledge work?), and my broad interest in everything (TED being a great provider to fulfill my needs on that account).

    I will probably never lose this hunger for knowledge, and sustaining it is done by reading, watching TED talks, discussions and writing....

    Finding enlightenment by giving the apple to Athens, I want to share this passion and bring society to a higher level of understanding. That's why I organize TEDx events.

    Is it altruistic to inspire people? I don't know. It is sharing of a passion... the Dutch expression is "waar het hart van vol is, loopt de mond van over" ("the mouth spills the fullness of the heart": meaning you can't shut up about what is important to you)

    I didn't find a good way to monetize it though...
  • Aug 31 2011: I feel like I am still looking for my passion so this question realy strikes home. the comment below of " Live the life you want to live, not the life you think you have to live" is so poingnent for me. At 32 I still don't know what that is. Any ideas on how to get there or find it would be great.
    • Aug 31 2011: Same. I feel like I have too many passions, none strong enough to pursue well enough to become really good at it. I made one my job (computer science) but the day-to-day hassles of academia are progressively spoiling it…
    • Aug 31 2011: I feel your pain. I didn't find a passion until I was 27 and two + years later I'm still trying to figure out how to make a living at it!
    • Sep 1 2011: I'm in the same boat, but I'm older. I just turned 63. My motto has become "I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up." I have had many different careers and interests over the years, and for most of them, I was passionate for some time. But then, something else always came along that pulled me away. There are too many opportunities and fascinating fields of activity and inquiry in this world. I want it all. I can't say no. So, if I have an overarching passion, it must be novelty. Anything I don't know or can't do is more interesting - more attractive, more engaging - than what I know or have done. There's never time to go back and become an expert in one of my old passions. ... and yes, the need to make a living does seem to complicate matters. I'm always jealous of those who can support themselves and pursue their passions at the same time (often doing the same thing). I'm reading this conversation to find out how one falls into that lucky circumstance.
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        Sep 1 2011: Dear Jennette, Damien, Laura and Bob,
        I am 65 years of age, and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up either...LOL:>)
        I am still exploring every life challenge with passion. We don't need to look for passion, or search for it outside ourselves. Passion is a feeling we can have for everything and anything.

        I too have had several careers Bob, and have been fully engaged and passionate about each and every one of them. When something else seemed to pull me in another direction, I was passionate about the new direction. What I've discovered, is that all the passionate paths I've taken have all been eventually interconnected.

        I also want it all Bob, and I don't feel that I need to become an expert in anything. I learn, grow and evolve with each and every interaction to the best of my ability at any given time. I have not found the "need to make a living" to "complicate matters". In fact, I find that when I follow an interesting, passionate path, it usually becomes lucrative. I am one of the people who has supported myself with the pursuit of my passions. I think sometimes we build a life, that may provide a living:>)
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        Sep 6 2011: I'm 48 and feel that I life in your world. Jealously observing these youngers. Ohhh, how to reconsile.?
    • Sep 1 2011:

      Maybe the above link can help for beginners.

      Hi, Jennete, Damien, Laura, Bob.....I hope this helps.

      It's difficult to answer all your questions in the scope of a tiny reply. Most of the time we are the ones standing in our own way. Once we remove the programming and conditioning that are not helpful in discovering our inner light; i.e. our fears, our insecurities, our traditions, our need to seek approval, recognition, money and so on and so forth our purpose in life will dawn unto us.

      I'm 35 and I have found my purpose quite early on. But it was not one single thing. I simply kept the faith. It was a series of insights i pursued and the experience of one provided the scaffolding I needed (knowledge, experience, skills, maturity, networks, etc) to move on to the next one until the very big dream I had as a child looks like it's really going to take shape.

      I would like to describe what my path looks like so others may identify their own path but there's not enough space here.

      What it takes to find our dream is different from what we expect it would take. So even when we're actually on the path we diminish our experiences and then the reel has to be reset again and again until we learn to see, to truly be able to see.

      One thing I promised myself to do when I started out living only from my dreams is to help other people find their dreams. In my Quest I read so much on the theme of "What Should I Do With My Life" but none of them were helpful. That's when I realize I had to do this : live my dreams then only can I know what it takes. When we allow our Light to shine we give others the permission to shine, is how I think of it.

      One clue I can leave here is that our dream is not one single destination; it unfolds over time and it keeps getting better and grander. And that also means u make more and more money the longer u pursue it.

      Love and Light -
      • Sep 1 2011: Intriguing article, thanks for posting. I do know where I want my life to go I just need little refreshers like that to motivate me to get through the current road block.
      • Sep 6 2011: I tried the above link to Steve Pavlina's blog, and I spent over 3 hours (178 tries at writing down a purpose statement or phrase) on his 20 minute exercise, but the process never converged for me. It would be useful, I think, to have a single sentence, like the one Pavlina has for himself, to go back to for guidance and inspiration whenever setting goals, making plans, or deciding what to do in the present moment. I may go back to this exercise again when I am in a different mood or frame of mind.

        I might also try to "reverse engineer" a purpose/passion statement for myself, by looking at the four areas that Pavlina talks about elsewhere in his blog: body (What do I need to do? - necessities, needs, musts [income falls in this area]), mind (What can I do? - capabilities, talents, skills, knowledge, possibilities to learn), heart (What do I want to do? - wants, wishes, desires, dreams), and spirit (What should I do? - conscience, morality, ethics, aspirations, values). My purpose/passion would be the unique aim/direction (not a target or a goal, but my unique "way") that brings the greatest convergence (overlap, commonality, synergy) and balance over those four areas (body, mind, heart, spirit / need, can, want, should) for my own personal needs, capabilities, wants, and shoulds. I don't have any way of knowing if that approach might work unless I try it. ... And like several other people have said in this thread, whether it leads me to the desired outcome or not, it's sure to be fun and enlightening.
    • Sep 1 2011: Ok, so does everyone identify with Jeanette? I certainly do. My passion is growing for real Life. I am finding it in a special person, a desire to live in other countries and travel, and a desire to work at something that makes a difference.

      Yeah Bob, maybe I don't know yet either...what I want to "be"...but finding out sure looks fun.
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        Sep 1 2011: Michael,
        I think you have hit the nail on the head...
        Passion is a way of travel...not necessarily a destination:>)
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      Sep 1 2011: I frequently feel empty, and I have the urge just to do something but none has satisfied me yet.. The moment I adapted to future-centered framework the more I feel the urge to find my passion but I failed every time, I just don't understand how to 'get' my passion, I am currently 16 that may be a bit early for some but I'd say nothing is early after the internet, do any of you grown ups have advice for me? I feel stuck
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        Sep 1 2011: Dear Agustinus,
        You are very better hurry up and find passion!!! I'm just kidding:>)

        I have always experienced life as an adventurous exploration. Do you remember when you were very young discovering many things for the first time? It was exciting for me. I still explore life with the curiosity of a child. Feeling empty is not a bad thing because then there is all that empty space to fill up with new discoveries:>) Try new things...explore something that interests open minded and open hearted with your explorations.

        When you plan for the future by adapting a "future-centered framework", don't forget to leave a door open so you don't box yourself in. Do you understand that idea? Be open to possibilities. What makes your heart sing? What gives you pleasure? Joy? Contentment? Follow your heart, and listen to your logical mind to plan the future framework. Your heart and mind working together is a powerful combination:>)
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          Sep 4 2011: mmm try new things? I got this idea to learn a lot of things all by myself using tutorials from the internet such as trying to work out without going to gym, how that sounds?
      • Sep 1 2011: We live in a very fast pace world with high expectations. At 16/17 I thought I knew what my future held b/c as the youngest of 3 I was the only one with the brains and the desire to take over the family business. I went off to college and got married and when I went back to the family business after 4 years away I found I had no desire whatsoever to take over. During those 4 years away from home I got outside the conservative box that was my family and discovered a whole new world. Being a teenager is tough but try to have a little patience and an open mind and you will find something.
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          Sep 1 2011: Dear Laura,
          I thought as an older teen, I knew what my life might be like...I thought as a 20 year old I had a plan and knew what my life would be like...things changed...I thought as a 30 year old I knew...things changed...then I was 40...things changed and didn't work out as planned...then I was 50 and I remember having a conversation with a great friend one day...
          We decided that we never really know for sure. We can have dreams, ideas and plans for the future, but we never really know. So the best plan I've come up with is to live every moment with if it might be the last moment of my life.
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        Sep 4 2011: Augustinus,
        Sounds great to does it FEEL to you?
        When I'm feeling "stuck", I usually explore several different things to see what helps me feel "unstuck":>)
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          Sep 5 2011: I am still thinking how I'm going to make money though... I keep remembering myself how naive I am, and if I were alone I would probably not survive, I spent years under the protection of my parents who sooner or later going to leave me struggling all by myself, that makes the difficulty of getting an A in all subjects pale in comparison (at least in my imagination)
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        Sep 5 2011: Dear Agustinus,
        Good to hear from you again:>)
        I don't think you are "naive" because you are thinking of many different things, which tells me that you are a wise young person. Do you really think your parents will leave you struggling all by yourself? Perhaps they have given you enough love and protection so you can make good life choices? Try imagining that:>)
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      Sep 5 2011: Dear Stuck people,

      Hopefully this view may be of some help to some.
      Pursuing your passion may come from knowing the purpose of life: to learn through exploration, adventure and pleasure. When we come into this world we make the decision as to what we are going to work on in each lifetime. Our soul then lays out options for us. Maybe this time around you felt you needed to work on separation, or guilt, or experience fame, or smooth out self-worth issues etc. The soul will set those vibrations in your energy field to magnetize events that will give you the opportunity to get whatever is needed to be experienced.
      Let’s say you chose ‘self-worth’ as your number one issue. How could you tell? Well, if you’ve had many circumstances in which you would question your own worth, e.g. a parent instilling in you that you were stupid or ugly, a rape or molestation, coworkers questioning your capacities, a cheating spouse, being passed over for promotion. Anything that leaves you feeling ‘not being good enough’.
      You will need to understand that there is nothing that anybody can say or do to lessen your worth. That there is no such thing as being worth-less.

      By looking through understanding glasses to the world and being open to the lessons within your relationships (friends, family, lovers, coworkers, countries, leaders etc.) and all that you encounter in life, you free the destructive energy that keeps you from pursuing your passion. And you may well find your calling in simply sharing your struggles with others and helping them find their purpose and passion.

      With respect for your distinctive individual paths,
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    Sep 2 2011: "Life" itself is my greatest passion as it offers relentlessly all the beauties it has , all the challenges it can put forward, so dynamic, so different it is every moment , no scope of getting bored with sustaining that passion is not a big challenge
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    Sep 1 2011: My passion and my love is to share my joy in rhythm-making with a great many people and in many contexts. I am a Drum Circle Facilitator who came to drumming rather later in life than most others in this field. I was a Classical Pianist/Teacher for 30 years and then just as I turned 50 I was playing soccer and tried a "header" which lead to a stoke and the slow loss of my steady income from teaching/playing piano. After a capricious purchase of Congas, I went on-line and discovered "Facilitated Drum Circles" and after a 30 minute conversation with one of the leaders in the field, fell in love with the idea. After a 2nd stroke and brain surgery - I've dived full-on into the world of Drum Circles and now it is a very busy full-time gig.

    What had been in the beginning a solitary pursuit has in the last year become more collaborative as I've just partnered with a Conflict Transformation specialist in Boston and we have our first client retreat in 15 days. I'm also now partnering with a Teen Counselor and a Symphonic Education Specialist (of a major world class orchestra - who everybody knows of!) to bring drumming to those populations and the communities that they serve.

    Far more than teaching piano, I've discovered that thru Rhythm, people become easily freed from the strictures of their daily lives and allow me to support them as they explore dimensions of themselves that they often didn't know they had. AND they have SO MUCH FUN in the process.

    Using African Drums, percussion instruments, song and movement I lead drumming events in schools, libraries, hospitals, at weddings, parties, conferences, meetings.

    I've found that in the process of embracing a major and potentially life-debilitating illness and accident, it was very easy to release the pain of what I thought was a loss of a major path in my life. Drum Circles is now my full-time passion and life.

    In the process I've recovered 110% from both strokes AND the Brain Surgery.

    Thank you for asking!
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      Sep 1 2011: Fellow rhythm section mate!!! I play electric bass.... happy that you are in the world and providing this "heart beat" of love for the community!!! GOOD ON YOU!
  • Aug 31 2011: Gardens:
    My passion evolved slowly through my life, my early memories of my grandparents garden still brought into sharp focus when I smell box hedges, warm damp glasshouses and ripe peaches.
    Visions of my mother lovingly weeding, creating flower beds and keeping chickens, my stepfather unfailingly producing our fruit and vegetables, making compost, and building rockeries.
    My own first garden, productive, and idealistic. Followed then by the need to earn money whilst raising 4 children and so to maintaining gardens for other people.
    Aged 32 I stumbled across a course at a local college; An introduction to Garden Design, signed up and thought I was in heaven, spending my days learning Latin plant names, patterns of brick-laying, division of space, aspect, genius loci etc.
    I soaked it all up like a sponge.
    Then years followed, working on my own and other peoples gardens, but never daring to think I could earn my living designing..... Then one day I made a new friend, whose belief in me and insistence on paying me to design her garden sowed an unstoppable seed, and I finally began to design gardens.
    The process has been slow even from then, but looking back I see the journey clearly, forays into dabbling with Floristry, a year of an MA in Landscape Architecture, all conspired to make me face up to the fact it was actually OK to be paid to do something you love.
    I returned to creating gardens with a determination that has brought me joy and not least because what I do brings others joy too.
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    Sep 6 2011: I have always had a passion for travelling and I realized at a young age that nothing else would make me experience life more intensely. I have the soul of a nomad and an incredible need for discovery. I have never had other great needs in my life, because there is nothing by way of possessions or entertainment that could give me the same satisfaction. After having lived in Andalusia for years, a new passion was created: to dedicate myself to literature; naturally in combination with my first passion. Today, with limited independent means, I practice these two passions full time and even when these two activities do not generate money, I do not feel that I am lacking in anything. I am surrounded by friends from all over the world and I know that these people appreciate the ambition of my work and my desire to share my experiences.
  • Sep 1 2011: I just wanted to say thank you for all of your words of commiseration and consideration. As a child welfare social worker I feel I have a very meaningful job but it doesn't full fill my soul. This may partially be the compassion fatigue that so often comes along with the job. I like the idea that passion is a way of living; I'm just not sure how to live that way. It is most likely different for each of us. I just want to have at least one thing in my life that makes me shine emotionally when I do it. Something I am drawn to in a way that makes me say ‘if I could do this every single day of my life I would.’ Something that provokes an inner fire that burns so bright it is evident to every one. To live out loud in a way that no one, not even my self, can deny it. Oh, the passion of it all :)
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      Sep 1 2011: Hi Jennette,
      I think, as a social worker, it may be very difficult to maintain passion (compassion fatigue), because you are seeing sadness all around you every day. I volunteered in a women's shelter, co-facilitated cognitive self change sessions with offenders in correctional facilities, served as advocate and case reviewer for children in state custody, etc. My passion was fueled by focusing on the few changes that were made in people's lives periodically. If we focus on the struggles that people have in their lives, it may seem like we are always spinning our wheels. Obviously, everyone you interact with needs your focus, but when I go home at night, my focus is on the person I may have touched that day. Of the hundreds of people I interacted with, when the day was done, I thought about the small difference I may have helped facilitate.

      You DO shine Jennette...I can feel the warmth of your being:>) Don't forget to take care of yourself as you are taking care of others:>) Sending you a BIG HUG!
    • Sep 1 2011: Jeanette
      I think I have finally found out that passion is not just something you do, or accomplish, passion is who you really are.
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      Sep 1 2011: Jennette, those you have helped will never forget how you have helped them find a better life. It's a draining and necessary sort of work. I hope you find something to help you maintain your spirit as long as you are engaged in this work.
    • Sep 2 2011: Hi Jennette, as a former highschool counsellor, I worked alongside many wonderful social workers and understand the emotional fatigue that comes with the position - which was also evident in the turnover of staff. One of my first colleagues reminded me that the daily satisfaction of a job well done is a rarity, and to remember that we may only see part of the journey that we help others begin. As the years went by, I would receive emails, cards, and later on...Facebook messages of thanks - and on occasions when I felt most fatigued I would pull some of them out to once again be reminded of the importance of our work and I would feel grateful for having the opportunity to have made a difference. I am sure those on your case list are fortunate to have your guidance and support!
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      Sep 2 2011: Jeanette it is easy for a person to see an artists (not literally an artist but artists') output and marvel at it. The product can be easily viewed, there are many levels of capacity to experience within that. I will try and make an example of what I mean: Musicians can make an easier living than a painter. I state that because a musician has a more readily available product to experience by the greater populace. It is easy to go to a venue have a beer, gossip and enjoy the local muso or band. It is not so easy for a painter to find a similar instantly gratifying public venue. Due to the enjoyment for canvas is normally the finished product not the making of. I don’t wish to get caught up in a debate about my statement as I know there are always exceptions to the rule. I only wish to give support to you and everyone else whose art is not readily available to be experienced by the general public or even recognised as such. You see I view what you do as a form of artistic expression, as I view all passionate people who are dedicated to a cause. Your finished product may well mean a better life for someone. I can’t really say my easily recognisable artistic outlet has come anywhere near that accomplishment. So Jeanette and all the other Jeanette’s in the world whatever you may do, I take my artistic hat off to you. Well done.
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    Sep 1 2011: When I was young, I stumbled upon the fact that there were things I didn't understand. My only medium to learn more about the world was the discovery channel & PBS on our family's only television for the longest time. One day, I cracked open an encyclopedia at my grandmother's house from their library; they were the only books I could reach... I read the whole thing.

    I (needed) to read all of those encyclopedias. I wouldn't necessarily say I liked to read. I was fascinated by the information itself. Information about the world was all sitting there in one place just waiting to be read. I took my favorite books home with me. They were the cyclopedias about animals, chemistry, and space. Once I was done with my grandmother's volume, I demanded my own. My parents appealed & got me my very own library. I occasionally tried some of the experiments, and took lots of notes. At school I never payed any attention to the fictional books that all the other kids liked. I only wanted to read the science books. (And I did.) You couldn't get points for reading the reference & science books... but I didn't care.

    My mother told me one day how much she loved that I had a "passion."
    "I have a passion?" I responded...

    Yes, she was right. My passion is science. All shapes & forms of it. If I discover something that I don't understand, my passion from thenceforth is to understand it!

    On the first day of my last year in high-school, I found myself in the electives course that I had chosen. The teacher informed the class that most of us would fail the course. We had chosen the most difficult elective available... CISCO. It was an information technology (IT) course. I didn't know the first thing about computers!

    I'll take my CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Administrator) exams this December... Wish me luck!
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    Sep 1 2011: This is an interesting conversation. As a 17-year old I feel as if my greatest passion is yet to discovered. Some things I enjoy, not necessarily my GREATEST passions, are any types of math, working out, and cornhole. Not incredibly intriguing passions, but allow me to explain each.

    Firstly, the basic subject of math has always been right up my alley. At a really young age, out of curiosity, I would ask my mom what the things (numbers) on the signs were while we were driving. Without any parental help, I could count to 100 before kindergarten, multiply in the first grade, and divide by second. I was recognized as gifted in math and put in enrichment classes while I was in elementary. I took high school Algebra I in 7th, doubled up with Algebra II and geometry in the 8th, pre-calculus in the 9th, AP calculus AB as a sophomore, independently studied AP calculus BC as a junior, and this year I am independently taking AP statistics. As a sophomore, I scored a 5 on the AP AB test, and as a junior I scored a 4 on the AP BC test. I am constantly trying to better this passion but without a qualified higher-level math teacher at my school, I find this quite difficult.

    My other passion of working out started when I decided that I didn't want to be stereotyped as a nerd and get picked on. I joined wrestling in the 7th grade and have stuck with it throughout high school. I joined cross country as a freshman hoping it would improve my cardiovascular system, and it helped. Even though it started out as a decision of self-defense, it quickly became a passion. I love the feeling of sweating, burning muscle, and sense of well-being that working out gives you.

    Finally, my most recent passion, cornhole, developed when I was a freshman. I played it once, loved it, my dad made some boards and bags, and we've played it ever since. Last year, at a Labor Day festival, we won $250, and this year we've won $60 just by playing a fun game. I hope to expand this passion more in the future.
  • Aug 31 2011: My passion is simply narcissistic and involves a desire to demonstrate my superiority and be admired for it. I, therefore, need to cultivate my passion in a way that allows me to press my vanity into the service of humanity.

    Also, anyone who, unlike me, doesn't disclose their self-interested desires for the pursuit of their passions is either someone just as vain as me but is lying to save their anonymous face and conform to the politely-veil-your-intentions form of social etiquette that has become popular, or they lack self-knowledge and are unable to accurately excavate and give voice to their intentions...or, a dash of the latter, and a tinge of the former.

    There is a bit of irony here inside social etiquette than only certain astute minds can discern--an irony similar to the one I observe during Halloween. People don a mask in order to disguise themselves and temporarily play a character or a role that is supposed to be pure fantasy. Instead, I observe that the mask only reveals their personality and find that the role they play is just as fantastic. Make-believe is over, kids.

    Another Irony is that the vanity that animates me is the truth to be told, and not some happy-go-lucky, introspectively shallow sense of altruistic "I want to make other's happy" motivation. Yeah, I get more pleasure when I lay down in a cold bed on a hot day than I do pain of knowing that some child from across the seas has just died of bird flu. Self-interest is our primary impulse, and lip and finger service to the contrary is a form of self-deception to which I cannot give temperance.

    The irony with which i will conclude is, in my candid confession, I'm actually the one promoting truth above vanity, as opposed to the bleating sheeple who proclaim altruism. Personally, I think they are people in desperate need to be coddled and approved of, and who deserve to be fleeced and placed naked in front of a mirror to witness themselves in the skin they've been hiding the entire time.
    • Aug 31 2011: I think you can be self- interested and help others at the same time; especially if you happen to like people and like to see things change around you... I think self interest is good because then you are guided by what you really care about as opposed to good intentions... of course approval probably comes into it too... but show me the person who doesn't need somebody's approval!
      • Aug 31 2011: "I think you can be self- interested and help others at the same time; especially if you happen to like people and like to see things change around you"

        That's exactly it. The benefits that reciprocity bestows upon our species is a simple intuitive and rational truth. I think one could modestly assert that it's an intuitive law of our concrete jungle that we are able to rationally and morally reason to. I think it's just as much of a base instinct as fear. However, I only want to make a distinction between the self-interested principles with which nature equipped us, and the feigned self-interested principles with which the deceitful ploys of society equips us. I'm not judging these separate postures as isolated events, instead i'm venturing to judge some of their implications. Granted, I didn't get to exhaust my critique on these matters given the allotted keystrokes, so, whatever opinions and information I hereby submit to you are not an effort to object to your reply. They are merely meant as an addendum to my initial and inadequate post.

        "I think self interest is good because then you are guided by what you really care about as opposed to good intentions"

        I'm not sure what you mean by this. By this logic, it is "good" to behave as one would do without "good intentions", regardless of where those good intentions come from. I could be guided by my thirst for blood and it'd be "good." I understand that it's possible you don't mean to suggest that.

        "of course approval probably comes into it too... but show me the person who doesn't need somebody's approval!"

        Inside this comment is another distinction I would like to make--and it's the difference between the degree of 'needing' and 'wanting' approval--which, by the way, includes the approval one can give oneself. And, may I inquire as to what that person "who doesn't need somebody's approval" may look like when shown to you?
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          Sep 2 2011: QUOTE: ""I think you can be self- interested and help others at the same time; especially if you happen to like people and like to see things change around you. ... That's exactly it."

          This is a very "human" comment; and a very "human" response. Which is appropriate under the circumstances. However, both comments assume that selfishness and selflessness lie entirely in the domain of what we commonly refer to as free will; and they assume there is a difference between what motivates selfish and altruistic behaviour. It also imbues the actions, selfish or otherwise, with a degree of moral rectitude or lack thereof that may or may not be present.

          These considerations of a moral nature might be totally absent in the processes that underlie and motivate our behaviour. That is, action might be motivated by, say, genetics. And, at that level, "good" would simply be that which leads to survival.

          "Bad" would not exist.


          Because any entity that engaged in what we (as humans) would call "bad" behaviour, would cease to exist. The outcome would be quite literally meaningless to "them" ... because there would be no "them" at all. The dodo does not "care" that it is extinct.
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      Aug 31 2011: Hi Christopher,

      A brave (selfish yet paradoxically altruistic) confession.

      I agree with much of what you say. However, I would add that anyone who would assert categorically that:

      "... anyone who, unlike me, doesn't disclose their self-interested desires for the pursuit of their passions is either someone just as vain as me but is lying to save their anonymous face and conform to the politely-veil-your-intentions form of social etiquette that has become popular, or they lack self-knowledge and are unable to accurately excavate and give voice to their intentions...or, a dash of the latter, and a tinge of the former"

      lacks a depth of self-knowledge that would embrace and transcend (without negating) such a statement.
      • Aug 31 2011: Please, explain. I'm interested to hear why.
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          Aug 31 2011: Because of the manner in which the brain processes information, it is a difficult idea to convey.

          One aspect is we mistake information for knowledge.

          I"ll give you a more complete explanation of my comment later ... It's 7:30 a.m. here in China and I am just heading out for work.
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          Sep 1 2011: Christopher,

          I think I will have to give you my reply "in pieces." Time is tight and I'm also tired.

          I'll start with: "anyone who would assert categorically that [insert statement] lacks a depth of self-knowledge ..."

          Your statement assumes a total understanding of human nature, not only as it pertains to oneself, but also as it pertains to all others.

          I suggest the statement is (more likely) based on an internalized, coherent and sophisticated model that purports to explain human volition. In other words, you might be mistaking information for knowledge.

          The problem with models is they are all false. Useful but false. For example, Newtons' model is useful but false - as is Einstein's, and so on. In another field we might use Freud, Skinner, and others as examples of people who have created useful but not completely accurate models.

          From a cognitive, and even a functional, perspective, our models may appear real, accurate and robust. But no model, which is to say no thought, represents reality accurately, let alone completely.

          A useful metaphor might be "the horizon." The horizon appears to exist. It does not. It is a perceptual illusion. It is a model we have constructed, and labeled, to help us make sense of our world - as we see it. The fact that our model "horizon" is not an accurate representation of reality doesn't really matter in any significant sense - unless we are navigators.
      • Sep 1 2011: Ok, I look forward to it.
    • Sep 1 2011: Hi Christopher, you provide much food for thought, though I wanted to clarify that my question regarding the motivation behind people's passions was actually "self improvement" - as opposed to self interest. Perhaps that is 6 of one, half dozen of another, but at least in my mind, self interest may have the greater association to the vanity which you describe, while self improvement could actually contain altruistic intentions. Also, what a person is passionate about may be a source of pride, but it could also be a source of shame - depending on how it is perceived in the eyes of society. What it is that maintains and feeds the passion in light of either situation intrigues me. Thanks for your contribution!
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      Sep 1 2011: Wow! Passion must have dropped the mirror for narcissicm. Maybe start at altruism and work from there!
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        Sep 1 2011: QUOTE: "Maybe start at altruism and work from there!"

        There is a strong argument that, from a biological perspective, altruism, is ultimately a selfish act.*

        * Technically, from an evolutionary perspective: see, for example, Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene."
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      Sep 3 2011: Christopher. I believe it is true what you say but I find something jaded in the frankness of the delivery, an almost "dare me to be wrong" sentiment that smacks more of self interest and ego fortification than the original subject matter. I think it is also very clever that your "ego self enrichment" sounding statement supports your original statements argument, on initial inspection, which makes it very hard to distinguish where or if your sentiments have a flaw. In its truest sense, your statement appears correct but it is also a facet in behavioral terms of the human species and most all other higher level thinking species in a most instinctual sense, one of survival. If one could accept that absolute altruism could not exist in higher level thinking species, due to personal survival needs at the most basic instinctual levels, then I think your statement would fall down. I appreciate your statments and consider it a great discussion point.
  • Sep 1 2011: My greatest passion is to work with tigers. I would love to tell anyone and everyone who asks me why I am so passionate about tigers, but I wouldn't be able to tell them. I'm drawn to them. Every time I see a tiger picture or anything I have to drop anything to look at it, to think about it, to want to do whatever I can to save it. I've always wanted to be a veterinarian, ever since I was a little girl. Over the years I decided I wanted to be a wildlife vet so that I could work alongside the glory that is a tiger. Right now I'm in the process of making my biggest and most important dream come true and I know that nothing can possibly stop me from attaining it. Sometimes I wish I could explain it, even to myself. I even think that I shouldn't have to explain myself if it's something I'm so entranced by and something I can't imagine myself living without. But when it comes right down to it, I can't help but say that tigers and I were meant to be together. I was in my college bookstore a few months ago and I came across so many different wildlife books and tiger books (even a textbook all on new tiger research and conservation!) and I ended up spending hours in the store just browsing the books. It got to a point where I felt that somehow, somewhere, SOMEONE, or someTHING, was telling me that working with tigers was my sole passion. That tigers are just as passionate about me as I am about them. That may sound bizarre, but like I said, I can't explain it. I was once asked to explain it for a class project and I felt it was so vague but SO true and I wish I could put into words how incredible it would be to be involved with such magnificence and to save these animals. There is not one thing that repels me from these creatures. Not even the fact that they could easily tear my being into shreds...which may add a little bit more to the thrill behind the passion I've had within me for as long as I can remember.
  • Sep 1 2011: My passion is dance. I can't remember a time when I didn't dance- its always been a part of my life. I was born with a gift for rhythm and a love of music. When I hear music I HAVE to MOVE- its innate. I did, however, stop taking class for a about a 10 year stretch. I was married and trying to pay bills by working jobs I hated. for many and various reasons, my marriage ended and it was then that i remembered what I was passionate about- my dance. So I auditioned for a show- got cast in the ensemble, started dancing again and here I am -one year later- teaching dance at several different schools, and steadily getting cast in shows as a dancer and an actor. It took me 32 years to learn this, but if you just do what you are passionate about, the money and the security will follow. It sounds so simple, so insanely simple, but its TRUE.
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    Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion was discovered in the midst of a major life crisis! My parents were both Art Professors but my mother believes in constructive criticism and as I was an extremely sensitive child she had totally killed my creativity by the time I was ten. Fast forward many years later as my husband who had been struggling for years with manic depression finally left...I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome and put on anti-depressants...not a great scenario. However, I decided to try drawing and painting again and discovered that out of great heartbreak can come healing and renewal. When drawing or painting time melts into nothing. The world recedes and I find a place to rest. Ten years on it is still my sanctuary from life's stresses and hopefully I create something people enjoy but mostly its just for my own sanity!
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    Aug 31 2011: My passion has been to learn from other cultures from adapting to their way of life and share their knowledge. For the last 6 years I have traveled to Tanzania, at first it was a volunteer vacation teaching Women in Business. I am not sure who learned more- me or them. I am a Business Consultant by trade with an emphasis on tourism. After my first experience I realized that the knowledge I have could help maintain an income for some of these tribes with a MAJOR emphasis on cultural preservation. (Not everyone is so intrigued with empowering their culture.) Currently, I have started the Busara Project which is focused on oral histories of eradicating tribes. Mind you I am not an anthropologist or sociologist by trade but I was able to friend disappearing tribes that really don't trust anyone. Once I realized that they trusted me, I wanted to tell the story on real time, by real people about real tribes. Be able to see them and hear them as they truly are, not some photo shoot or two day interview.
    We just came back from 6 weeks in the bush living with the Maasai, Hadzabe (bushmen) and Datoga tribe. We are now a 501c3! (little dance as I type this!)
    Passion is an underestimated condition!
  • Aug 31 2011: From a very early age I wanted to be a psychologist, but following a sexual assault as an 8 yr old and the ensuing changes in my life my dreams were derailed. My inability to cope effectively was contributed by my parent's lack of knowledge or understanding around the behaviours I displayed. They put it down to another cause entirely.

    It was only in my late 30s with the help of my parents and friends that I was finally able to get out from under the stigma of self and others for the mental illness I developed and reach for my dreams. Despite the huge difficulties and stress that were and unfortunately remain a part and parcel of my life, and the consequences of some really bad personal choices, I completed a degree in psychology. In order to do so I worked five jobs at a time and raised two children almost financially independent of their father, on a very low income.

    After establishing myself in the business I "came out" as a consumer and now work in local, state and national forums to reduce the impost of mental illness on the recovery of individuals, families and communities. This passion drives me to overcome the physical effects of cancer that became a feature in my life at the time I interviewed for this role. None of the stresses have reduced and ironically some have increased exponentially but the hope and drive that this passion gives me helps me surpass the negative impact and spur me on.
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    Aug 31 2011: All things Permaculture are part of my passion - living with nature, being responsible for how I do that sustainably, forever growing and changing, adapting as needed. I have always had a love of nature. So lucky to have permaculture learning - design systems and adapting healthy living patterns in my life - talking, teaching, training, living till I compost back to the planet.
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    Aug 31 2011: Photography / People Photography!

    After watching my dad do photography growing up and hearing stories about how his father had his own photography studio in Iraq way before I was born I kinda grew into photography. It was close to ten years ago when I started taking pictures and in the last couple of years it's been mainly people in my photographs.
    Growing up I was also fascinated with meeting new people and hearing their stories. And joining that with photography I can now find myself being able to go back to the exact place and time where I took most of my portraits. And the pain of knowing that you've met an amazing person and not having a photo to remember them by, it's one of the things that pushing me to take more and better photos!

    It has become part of my social life,and thanks to the internet I often run into people that know me through my work! Sometimes they tell me about how they gave it as a gift to a parent, relative or a friend and the thought of them sharing that photograph with loved ones for years to come is a great feeling!
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    Aug 31 2011: Music - my band.

    It's been going now for 10 years. It continues to happen because I put it near the top of my priority list.
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    Aug 31 2011: I started studying Mandarin Chinese as a freshman in college. I was doubtful that as an 18 year old all-American kid from Seattle I would ever be able to master a language as foreign as Chinese. Taking the plunge into 101 just a week after moving 5 hours from the care of my parents a deep burning passion for the language and culture was sparked when the director of the Chinese Program at my university stepped into my classroom and addressed us in perfect Chinese-- perfect tones and with complete fluency. Noting that he too had began studying when he was a freshman in college I then made the decision that if this guy can do it I sure as hell could too. From then on, with the undying commitment and encouragement of this professor, the characters, the sounds, and the dream of traveling to China captured me. Two years later I was accepted into an intense language program in Northeastern China which enforced a 24/7 Chinese Language pledge. I won a $19,000 scholarship to attend the program for two semesters where I then immersed in the language and culture. After the second semester, I was voted by my teachers the most improved language student and returned home with a new sense of self and of the world. To this day nothing gives me more enjoyment than joking around with my Chinese friends in Chinese and maintaining my fluency. Without a doubt in my mind that professor was the catalyst that brought everything together for me and inspired a passion that will drive me for the rest of my life.
  • Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion is what i call "the holy trinity" Love, Peace, and Music. All 3 are interdependent, and i find myself working everyday to maintain a perfect balance of all 3 in order to feel fully alive. My most recent project is a rock school that i am trying to start in my hometown of Mission, Tx, located on the Rio Grande Border of U.S. and Mexico. The school will be called South Texas Alternative Rock School for Entertainment Education & Development or S.T.A.R.S.E.E.D. And we will focus on the core values of love and peace through music and education. I am a songwriter who never gave up on believing in the power of music to achieve peace, and this is just another step i am taking towards maintaining the balance of my greatest passion.
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    Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion is making others dreams come true :)
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    Sep 4 2011: I have always had a passion for travelling and I realized at a young age that nothing else would make me experience life more intensely. I have the soul of a nomad and an incredible need for discovery. I have never had other great needs in my life, because there is nothing by way of possessions or entertainment that could give me the same satisfaction. After having lived in Andalusia for years, a new passion was created: to dedicate myself to literature; naturally in combination with my first passion. Today, with limited independent means, I practice these two passions full time and even when these two activities do not generate money, I do not feel that I am lacking in anything. I am surrounded by friends from all over the world and I know that these people appreciate the ambition of my work and my desire to share my experiences.
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    Sep 4 2011: I believe the ultimate goal for human beings is completion. If a person is passionate about something, it becomes a part of them ; a part of their life. This is why I think when one develops a passion they don't develop it 'as the result of modelling of others' but rather they develop it from the natural inner inclination to a particular aspect that the passion brings.
    My friend is very passionate about playing the guitar. Started only two years ago, he mastered a lot of guitar styles that would take me probably ten. Sure me might of seen somebody else play the guitar and that might of commenced him to do it, but its his inner contentment that allows it to become a part of him and his life.
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    Sep 4 2011: When I was 5, I used to play school and teach my two younger brothers. I always knew I would teach. I guess I was just born that way.

    Just recently, however, after having children, I feel that my passion for teaching has been renewed with the love for my children and the desire to raise them alongside my husband to the best of our ability.

    Our children inspire us to continue learning and to explore the possibility that our passion for teaching could help others, even beyond our home and beyond our classroom.
  • Sep 2 2011: At the age of 39 I developed an interest in Fibonacci numbers which quickly became a consuming and complex project entirely unrelated to the rest of my life. I learned to develop conjectures, explore their implications and wait for results, and countless times I perceived results coming to me like a bubble rising from deep water. This has remained a wonderful avocation for twenty years since. It seems remarkable that I cannot inspire others with an interest in my discoveries, but I work patiently and do my best to understand the topic fully.
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      Sep 2 2011: Cool.
    • Sep 2 2011: Good to hear that passion can still be found at 39. It can be suppressed, but not killed. At least that's what I get.
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    Sep 2 2011: Good question:I have been musically interested since the age of three. My family always stated that I was playing harmonica at that age. I can actually remember the rocking horse I used to sit on at the front porch playing simple tunes. I cannot really say how the interest started; certainly there was plenty of behaviour modelling opportunities for me since I have many siblings but it is interesting to state that I am the only person in my family who took music on with any gusto. Does that only indicate that I was the most “attracted” to music or does it indicate that I was the only one with a strong predilection to it?

    It may be interesting to hear on that topic that my personal belief is people are not born with such predispositions. Instead I believe an interest is sparked and the brain wires itself toward that interest. On reflection, my attachment to that belief may have something to do with my abhorrence to the saying “you were born with it”, to me that statement steals all the hard work and energy one puts in to become accomplished at their field.

    I am currently 46 years old; therefore I have been musically inclined for 43 years and have been playing professionally for well over 30 years. I continue to sustain my live performances and creative output because it has become so deeply rooted in my persona. I may never give it up and personally I wouldn’t want to. Hope this helps.
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    Sep 1 2011: My greatest passion is my work in the field of Japanese Acupuncture and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. I have been practicing for 30 years now. I became interested in meditation, martial arts and all things Eastern when I was around 13 years old... I came through the late 60's... Subsequently, my travels around the world, the military and continued practice in meditation and martial arts led me to this path of Mastery.... However, what has really fired this quest is my undying love and curiosity for the human being.... I thrive on this contact, dialogue and rapport that develops over time in the treatment room... Pulse taking, abdominal diagnosis, palpating, the laying on of hands.... needle placement. All very intimate.... mindful, with deepest respect.... The practices I do, zazen, qi gong, self-hypnosis and even my Mastery on the electric bass, all polish the abode of the heart, so as that I may drop all that is not essential, and see each person with fresh eyes... I am continually surprised at the resilience and flexibility of people to adapt physically, mentally and emotionally to either trauma, or just everyday stress.... How sweet to see them respond and open to this ancient medicine.... Every day that I get up, I truly am grateful and honored to be able to be with and meet people in this way.
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    Sep 1 2011: As Steve Jobs said:Follow your heart.In my opion,the permanent passion comes from the thing that you really love to do in your heart.And maybe it is a difficult thing to discover your favorite thing.OK,now just think over the experience that made you excited or unforgotten during your childhood.Yes it is what you dream to do ,just to persuit it .
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    Aug 31 2011: I'm most passionate about skepticism...I never realized how much truth had slipped past me until I vowed to passionately examine even the seemingly trivial!
  • Aug 31 2011: My passion is music; Chopin piano music precisely. It has always been inside of me. I believe I was born with it, uninfluenced by any anyone around me. As a child I used to be humming classical pieces while playing. When I grew older and as I listened more and more, I realized it was the thing that fascinated me the most and has become my obsession for as long as I can remember. I have always had an ear for classical music. Today as an adult I'm moving abroad, immigrating to somewhere I can study the art of music and become a pianist and a composer myself. I owe it to myself. It is the only thing I could do and feel a sense of fulfillment. This is my motivation, filling the endless void in my heart with being a musician if I ever want to have peace. Music is what I burn about. It is what I have been born for.
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    Aug 31 2011: My inspiration/passion comes from a multitude of sources. In short it was the experience harsh injustice while being deeply educated in the greatest dreams and dreamers of the world. While growing up on a farm/ranch where 1 mistake can cause great harm to many, and that is the reality of living.

    In growing up in such a paradoxical environment I learned that to be inspired, to be noble, to make a choice based on fore thought and conscience (not social morality) is possible, and it is what makes us 'human'. I learned that most of the time we don't want to take responsibility because it brings attention. With that attention comes both the adoration and the scorn. The difficult part for me is that I have not found my expression yet. I am working on it though. For now I take what comes. As Lincoln said, "All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind. "

    So to answer, I think in many ways my choice started as self protection. I did not want to be what I saw around me. In a world filled with so much drama, hypocrisy and thoughtlessness. I turned to books, to hope, to people of action with compassion. With time it becomes clear that many are looking for a way out but don't know where to turn .....
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    Aug 31 2011: Music and literature ... but how are they different anyway?
    Been an irregular writer and an occasional singer since my teens. :) Lovely to experience both my passions!
    For me it was a result from modelling myself through the advice of my teachers and parents. I personally have great motivation for the betterment of others but there's a stronger intrinsic motivation for self-improvement in me.
  • Aug 31 2011: Caving! I started caving in 2005 when I was a student at the University of Connecticut. I went on an Environmental Science Club field trip to a couple of caves in upstate New York and it was when I was sitting on a former fault surface that I realized that I was inside the Earth. I was atop of an incredible piece of history-- this fault.

    Caving has taken me across the country and is starting to take me around the globe. I am now working on my Ph.D. in Karst Geology and my research area is in Spain! For many people, caving is a sport, but for me, it's a facet of my profession as a geochemist. Do I love what I do? Love doesn't begin to start to convey the feeling!
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    Aug 31 2011: knowledge is my passion and it is extremely easy to sustain- so long as you can think and have at least one sense you can learn. after that beauty, as i perceive it.
    then i think it would have to be motion- running, walking, climbing, dancing, fighting- partly because its how we define ourselves as being alive; either blood pumping through our veins or signals transmitted through neurones in the brain. We don't stop moving until we die. then were still.
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    Aug 31 2011: As I am recovering from a depression right now I started reconsidering my way of thinking.
    Although it might sound totally selfish my passion is finding things that make me happy or teach how to make me happy. It is not all about beauty and luxery but more about improving myself and my happiness, for example I activly started reading books I can learn from or which I can see myself in like the german author Hermann Hesse. Feeling understood helped me immensely through a hard time.
    I constantly look for inspirations to improve myself and to make me loving myself for what I am and want I want to become and of course which help me to achieve my aims.
    My goal is to make myself to a better person and to improve the relationship to myself so I can be a better person and ergo improve my relationship with others.
    • Aug 31 2011: I am recovering from a sudden death of my mother followed by a death of my grandfather , her dad. To be fair discovering new was of thinking and looking at relationships from different angles than before have gotten me through the very dark times. I do share the same passion as you. Keep up the good work!
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    Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion, which by the way, is not so great, is music. My grandfather was a musician; my mother has talent; and I . . . well, I really like it. From piano lessons as a child, to teaching myself guitar in high school, to playing in acoustic bands now as an empty nester, it's been a lifelong pleasure.

    The most important aspect of music to me is seeing and listening to musicians who feel their music which allows me to feel with them. Such a gift! I strivie to connect with people in that same way with my music. It's not easy. It's my challenge. I guess it's my passion.
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    Sep 5 2011: Robert Frost writes about the relationship between a person's vocation and avocation in this amazing poem that speaks to how work should be both.

    Here it is:
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    Sep 5 2011: My biggest passion if I can attempt to weigh them all is performance poetry. I live in the middle of a seemingly endless cornfield in which it isn't as popular as I could wish. I was inspired by poetry greats Anis Mojgani and George Watsky as well as classic poet Robert Frost to write, and later perform poetry. I guess the greater motivation in poetry is the same as all art, to explore yourself and the way your surroundings have influenced you, as well as an artistic and emotional outlet. Awsome question, awsome anwsers.
  • Sep 3 2011: I know exactly my top 5 passions: 1> To be spiritually connected with God. 2> To be abundantly healthy. 3> To be in a intimate and passionate relationship with my husband. 4> To encourage and inspire the masses. 5> Living, laughing, learning, exploring life.
    I was able to gain this clarity through the "Passion Test." I am a certified Passion Test Facilitator if you need help discovering your passions and purpose.
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    Sep 2 2011: I first saw this conversation yesterday so have had time to think of what I would answer. I thought my answer would be about my creativity--I love to dabble in a LOT of forms of creativity: crochet, knitting, painting, cross-stitch, decorating, collaging, etc., etc. I spend time in most days doing some form of creativity. My job is very administration based, paperwork, research, etc. and my logical brain needs to do that too. I couldn't imagine doing just creativity, I need to have logical/linear stuff going on too.

    But, the one thing that is constant in my life is learning--whether it be through conversations with others, self-discovery, reading, journalling, education, etc., I LOVE learning. I know I'm on a journey...
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    Sep 2 2011: My passion, is helping my high school students find theirs. I do this by connecting and relating with my students. I introduce them to career paths they didn't know existed. I also expose them to every amazing TED video I have ever seen and encourage them to find videos to show in class.
  • Sep 2 2011: my passion for animals was the life saver I needed following redundancy in 2009. I decided I would never work without passion again and set about learning all I could to become a dog trainer. I have re-discovered curosity, filled my home with pets, relaxed about house cleaning and the gym, spent a month in India and all because of my love for dogs.
  • Sep 1 2011: Gene,

    My passion is learning the challenging, doing the difficult, and dreaming the impossible.

    No one taught me that I had to do this. I can't think of a role model I would want to emulate. I look after those I can, and promote ideas that may someday improve the lot of the rest.
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    Sep 1 2011: I am passionate about thinking, learning, and teaching. Like most of us, I was introduced to all three very soon after birth, and they have been the focus of my life for a half century. Being open to the wealth of experiences and ideas around me has allowed me to sustain what so captivates me.
  • Sep 1 2011: I have discovered and am currently developing my passion for poetry. I don't really discuss what's bothering me or what hurts, etc. so through my poems I feel as though I am able to convey every emotion I feel deeply about.
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      Sep 1 2011: I love art. If I had the ability, it would consme my life.

      I think the ability to create good art is genetic. I simply can't create any "visions." Artist draw what they "see" but I have no sight. I could never train my mind's eye to create an image.

      What little art I have created is highly valued!
    • Sep 2 2011: Greg,
      I grew up with two artist parents, so I have seen the dedication that comes with such a passion. It is a tough go - financially - but it is an amazing and valuable pursuit. As a child, I couldn't quite grasp why my mom didn't have a 'real' job, but as I grew older I was able to appreciate the beauty that she was able to create, and I am thankful to have the work of both my parents on my walls. I hope you will continue to paint and bring your inspiration to life.!
    • Sep 2 2011: I hope that someday in the future creativity will be free of financial constraints. But I guess the pressure, in a strange way, nurtures the creativity too.
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    Sep 1 2011: I beleive that in some way the things that you do during life, finally come together to present your passion. It is getting to that stage where you can actually recognise what that passion is and how all your jigsaw pieces come together.
    My passion is bringing stories to life, so for the last ten years I have interviewed people for books and magazine articles. The world of publishing and getting the story out has changed so much in the last five years. Now I mentor people to bring that story to life.
  • Sep 1 2011: My passions have been many. The first one was for horses and I spent from 7 to 16 pretty much wrapped up in all things horsey This spread into a love of animals and nature as my awareness began to expand .Being out in the wild,both Ocean and land based would give me a super charge. I also had this natural tendency to make things out of things and draw a lot so I was encouraged to explore art. That took off and became an escape and also a platform to stand on once I was ready to present my creations and they were so well received. I took that to a full on career which of course eventually killed the passion..
    Now I have a new passion that ties many of the past ones together. It involves a life of sailing for the Oceans. Learning and teaching , connecting and protecting , Being an Activist at sea and pouring my heart and soul into helping to keep this beautiful blue planet alive. I am not sure yet exactly how this will unfold but I am devoting my resources and my labor of love into making it happen. That's where the creativity comes in to play again. I see puppet shows with the children of remote island communities, using adorable sea creature puppets ,showing films on their shores to help them to understand the oceans . To inspire them to want to protect their waters in a way that is now so needed. I'm not sure if I can really call this a passion as much as a calling. The passion is to live an active ,adventurous and creative life with a strong sense of purpose. The calling is in helping people to wake up and take care of our planet. The challenge is to weave it all together so it works . The Children are the hope for a future that continues the cycle of life.
  • Sep 1 2011: Many psychotherapists, particularly those informed by psychodynamic or psychoanalytical theories use the term "baby self" to reference a younger part of a person's psychological makeup. These theories, as do I, subscribe to the belief that an adult is comprised of all the experiences they had from ages 0-present. It is believed by some, that the implicit and explicit memory holds these younger experiences and they remain active in us as we go about our adult activities. We are not always aware that they are guiding us, but many times that is the case.
  • Sep 1 2011: I believe the development of passion, and motives for pursuing the passion are as unique as the individual. You may want to take a look at a book entitled "Living with Passion" by David Raithby and Sandey McCartney -- it may help answer some of the questions you are asking (well at least for yourself).
  • Sep 1 2011: I'm curious about tennis ,my way of keeping the sport is to think it's a healthy habit .Beside , many friends in the playground share the same passion.During your depressing time,playing tennis can cheer you up,then sustain your passion of life.
  • Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion is to help this world be better by creating, developing, and spreading stories and accounts.

    I have loved film and it's ability to communicate human stories through the integration of different art forms such as music, visual art, performance, and writing.

    I hope that I have been able to help develop and sustain through my work with the San Diego Asian Film Foundation and in working with developing professional and student filmmakers.

    I also hope to develop and sustain through my work as a filmmaker and producer to give myself and others a voice that is unique, enlightening, and provokes discussion and deeper thought.

    Is this too idealistic? Perhaps, but producing and presenting film is a grounded experience where practice is essential and where real, direct impact can be made in many forms.
  • Aug 31 2011: I didn't do anything with my passion. Now I try to help others to live there life in harmony with here pasion. Still need a lot of help to get it done.
  • Aug 31 2011: My passion is wine, the world of wine, coming from the fruit, to the people who work in the vineyards, the cellar, the work behind... but I especially love the emotion wine can create, the particular moment in which wine is shared and then there is the "talking about", the opinion, the tasting the discussion around the quality, the explanation, the fight between what is a natural and what is an industrial wine, the social behave, the responsability, the effect of wine, the tireness and energy. Wine is culture and wine is history, wine is people and nature together. Wine is a gift of nature, never forget that, but it is also creativity. I love working in wine, makes my day special.
  • Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion is simultaneously about self improvement and the betterment of others. I am passionate about understanding my own inner world and "baby" experiences as well as helping other people understand theirs. As a psychotherapist I strongly believe these two worlds are interwoven, and if I dont do my inner work I can not help others combat the anxiety and depression so prevelant within our society. I am dedicated to this, not just for a few years, but as a way of life. For myself and for my clients. I believe strongly that if each individual can understand their inner world and hold onto their "baby" selves, that society as a whole will benefit. This is especially true of my speciality, the Psychology of Parenting. Helping parents feel more balanced and integrated will in turn help them raise children who are more attached and thus less likely to experience anxiety and depression themselves. Happier parents mean happier children, and happy families mean a happy community.
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      Sep 1 2011: Hi Patricia, Please clarify what you mean by "baby selves." Thanks
  • Aug 31 2011: I wish to spread joy and add a smile to it. My passion is to see and make people happy.
  • Aug 31 2011: Passion. I realise that passion will change from time to time when you are developing it. But for now, generally I would say, my greatest passion is learning something that I could facilitate in my Life and generate more interest!! How am I developing? Going around, networking and meeting more people with diverse background. Listening to them and sharing ideas. Get to listen and learn from all these inspirational people is awesome! Everyone could be inspiring because everyone has a story to tell.
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    Aug 31 2011: my greatest passion is helping people realize and unleash the greatness within them. many of us have heard the voices of criticism and cynicism most of our lives. Sadly these voices have taken over and have become the "truth" that we cling to on a regular basis. Many times when we are ready to let our glory shine the negative speak comes back and drowns out our greatness. My passion is to help others find their glory and to walk them through the process of unleashing that glory on the world!
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    Aug 31 2011: My passion is about people: sincere personal attention by being positive, friendly and sharing. I's the result of a personal journey still underway. I have been able to combine it with all kinds of practical tools to share it to others.
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    Aug 31 2011: Looking back to nearly 47 years living, it's writing, reading and working on texts, also together with others. I learned the first words from newspapers before I went to school, and I wrote stories and other texts all my life since then. But only the 12 last years it's my profession, too. It is a real passion for me.
  • Aug 31 2011: Conservation of amphibians, particularly the Black Warrior waterdog. It's the most endangered salamander in the US and takes its name from the Black Warrior River basin in Alabama. Amphibians deserve more attention. They are so fragile and their general decline worldwide illustrates what a mess we've made of this planet.
    The Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) is part of the Cincinnati Zoo. They've got all sorts of projects going, The waterdog project is only one of them. This is an outstanding organization. They are doing some exciting things.
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    Aug 31 2011: my greatest passion is in empowering teachers to do what is best for their students, specifically in the arena of elementary math instruction. in my work as an instructional leader for nearly 15 years as well as in my own challenges in mastering higher math concepts, i have advocated for the development of critical thinking skills and habits of mind that have an even farther reach than just within the math classroom. i had a few great mentors along the way who inspired me to take on a leadership role but it was an intrinsic motivation to affect change that reenergizes me when the fight gets tough. although self improvement and betterment of others move me to action, the latter definitely is the greater of the two.
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    Aug 31 2011: exploration is my passion and to narrow it down a t bit, exploration through expression in art and design. I moved to NYC in 2005 and started to be exposed to art in '99. I started my own little business in 01 making lamps and building custom "stuff" for people. I really love it. However, growing up I was not really exposed to art and certainly not the volume and breadth readily available in the big city like NYC. Now that I have 3 kids of my own, my extended passion is exposing them to as many experiences as I can so that they might be able to find a passion sooner than later. Whether, that passion provides and income or pleasure or both, I think it's important to explore and keep an open mind.
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    Aug 31 2011: For me sports photography is the real passion and an Olympic champion waterpolo player gave me the first camera to shoot for him a few pictures. :)
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    Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion is helping others to realize and their passions. I did not recognize until a couple of years ago but I have recenetly began to pursue it fulltime. I am in the process of building a website ( that will be a platform for a group of my peers to showcase what they are passionate about in different ways. For example, one of my peers' passion is photography and art; so a portion of the website will be dedicated to just that under her direction. Another persons passion on the team is technology and computers, so building websites for others who want to start up a business or follow their passion will be a showcase of their passion.

    It is kind of a reciprocal Idea that magnifies the fulfilment of my passion in the end because the more things they showcase on the site and talk about how they did it, the more others who have the same passion will be able to find the guidance and courage to pursue their own passions. Furthermore, the more they develop their passions, the more the website improves and flourishes and reaches out to others.
  • Aug 31 2011: I have made art since I was a toddler. My art is my passion. If my life were a film, the summer of 2010 was a plot point, a scene that sends the story in a new direction. Up to that time, my work had consisted of objective, more-or-less naturalistic and narrative pictures and sculptures. Then I participated in a workshop with Lucie Charbonneau in Late July working with hog gut. From that experience came a series of 40 meditative helices, geometric forms made of reed, hog gut and artificial sinew and an exhibition of the first 21 of them in the IGCA Guest Room in January of this year.

    I have since discovered real sinew and am now working with it exclusively. Using natural materials gives me a sense of revisiting the prehistoric roots of art. Turning from an objective critique of contemporary culture to a subjective meditation on the laws of form is a huge step. It may take years to complete that journey.

    I work instinctively. Drawing, for example, is not a means to an end for me, but an exercise in hand-eye-brain coordination. Once I begin to twist the soaked reed, I have no idea what shapes it will take. Unlike the imitation sinew, which can come untied and needs to be covered with gut, the real stuff shrinks as it dries, cinching the knots up and further twisting the reed. The real sinew must be prepared by beating with a bark beater or a hammer, then stripping into long, thin strands.
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    Aug 31 2011: I recently married two passions together to develop a non-profit organization, The Haggus Society. I brought art and community (women over 40) into a platform where I could have the best of both worlds. I've always been a creative, a performing and visual artist. My lifelong objective has always been art, to make it, to develop projects around it, to support it, and so on.

    Upon turning 50, I decided to leave the commercial art world (think gender and age bias) and pursue the thing I do best. After a year of research into arts funding it occurred to me that 1) most women in the arts do not have linear career trajectory --often postponing their careers/passion until later, 2) that there is very little opportunity or institutional support for us.

    I took matters into my own hands and with my best friend, created something just for us. I don't know that it's about self-improvement or the improvement of others. I do know that our message resonates and it's resonating not just in the U.S. but all over the world.

    I think, I would have to say that it's about the art of community, giving voice to those who would otherwise be invisible. We are not invisible...
  • Aug 31 2011: Psychology is my greatest passion.

    I fell in love with science during a scary time in my life. I became disabled and didn't know why. I started learning about evolution and cosmology and wanted to get into science in a bigger way. When I discovered the human brain I fell in love, but I've always been in love with it. I just didn't know what it was before then.

    I study psychology in university now and I hope to get into research when I'm finished. I would like to say that I do it because I want to help people and I'm so selfless and caring, but that would be a lie. Helping people is a bonus for sure, but I do it because I love it. It fills me with wonder and bliss. I want to keep learning about the brain and behavior for the rest of my life.
  • Aug 31 2011: Canoe racing man. Thats the best stuff.
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    Aug 31 2011: My greatest passion is art, especially illustrating and painting. However, I don't have a lot time to paint or draw right now, so I am donating small amounts of money to organizations that support art (for example painting classes for at-risk students) around the world. I am also collecting the names and works of aspiring artists and I promote them whenever I have a little spare time, for example by tweeting about them. And I hope that one day I will have enough time to scribble, sketch, draw, and paint again myself.

    So in my opinion, the most important thing about having a passion is to nourish it -- there is always more than one way how to live it!
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      Aug 31 2011: QUOTE: "And I hope that one day I will have enough time to scribble, sketch, draw, and paint again myself."

      Do not hope for time, take time.

      I guarantee you, you can take 15 minutes every day to sketch or free-draw. Keep a small sketchbook and pencil with you at all times.

      Live the life you want to live, not the life you think you have to live.

      Fifteen minutes a day for you - you can afford that!
    • Aug 31 2011: I agree with Thomas. I am currently working on scheduling more thinking and writing time. Life is busy and it will take over your time, if you let it. You have to schedule it in. That time has to be as important for you to keep as an important meeting would be. Lately, I have literally been scheduling this time in my planner. When I have a definite start and stop time, it makes it less overwhelming. In this way, I can eliminate some of the guilt/anxiety that comes with living in a work-centric culture.
  • 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.