Enthusiasm and Passion: Part 1

Hooray for Pain!!!

I’ve always loved words. In fact, one of the first classes I took when I was accepted into college in the 70’s was Latin. Not because I had to, not because I wanted to speak to ancient romans, not even because I wanted to read Latin texts.

I took Latin because, having taken Spanish in middle school, I recognized how many English words had Latin roots. And like I said, I’ve always loved words. And I’ve always loved journeying into a dictionary (one of those big, 12 pounders) to explore in depth the origin and original meaning of a word.

But studying Latin is not the pain that I alluded to in the lede.

If you’ve never searched for the etymological origin of the word passion, you might be surprised to learn that it is not based on a word for Love, or for Dream, or for Desire. In fact, you may be shocked to learn that it comes from the Latin word patior, a word for suffering or pain. It was used in the 12th century to describe the suffering of Jesus during the crucifixion.

Languages, and the words within them, change and evolve. So it doesn’t always make sense to look at the origin for a ‘true’ definition of the current usage.

But sometimes it can offer some useful insight. How does a passion differ from a dream or a desire? A dream or desire represents something that we would like to have or be. And while a desire may reach the strong state of a passion, it may also be a weak ‘inclination’. A desire or a dream may in fact be unserious or wistful, while a passion is always strong, forceful (ie Full of FORCE) and not easily dismissed.

When you are passionate about something, when the desire is so strong that it seems to burn within your very being, when you are willing to pursue your dream to the end, despite what you know will be periods of pain and suffering, then you are in fact, following a passion.

So as you go through the process of thinking about desires and determining whether they are your passions, think about how much pain or inconvenience your are willing to suffer in order to make your dream become reality. The greater the pain you are willing to endure, the greater the passion.

We’ll look at Enthusiasm in the next post.

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