Sometimes even Hollywood comedies can provide great insight. I just saw “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” this past weekend, and it was not only extremely funny, but it had so many great messages. One message was this idea of how important it is to have some kind of passion or desire in what you do; if you don’t have some motivation or enthusiasm for your work, you will never be satisfied.
In thinking on this topic, I can relate that to several areas in my own life. Take music, for example. I’m performing in a concert on Sunday, and will be singing a duet. Even though it’s at one of the worst times of the year for musicians (Palm Sunday begins a crazy week!), I’m excited about performing. I want to go to rehearsals and look at my music, and experience that great feeling once I’ve just performed. I guess that counts as being passionate! However, I’ve had other talents which haven’t held my interests. I’m really good at calligraphy, and sometimes I still do it just for fun. But I can’t imagine sitting at my desk all day just writing out wedding invitations, no matter how complicated or intricate the font. I’m good at it, and I probably could make a nice bit of money off of it, but I am simply not as passionate about calligraphy as I am about music.
Of course, I’m not trying to suggest that we should only do things we like and avoid doing things we don’t like. At the end of the month, the bills are due whether you’re happy in your job or not. But if you don’t have some enjoyment out of your work, it will always be “just a job,” a means to a sense of financial security. I guess that’s partly why there are so many people who hate their jobs and turn to coping mechanisms as a result. I won’t even suggest that we can’t be good at something when we have no enthusiasm for it, or that we will become virtuosos if we have that desire. As I said, even with my lacking desire to perfect my skills, I’m still good at calligraphy. I also enjoyed marching band even though the whole concept of playing and walking at the same time never came as naturally to me as it did to others (I guess in the end I will always be a classical musician only).
But at least as far as interests and advantages are concerned, maybe we should focus on what we really want to do, not what we are expected to do, or something we just happen to be good at doing. So if you’re looking to learn a language, don’t take Spanish just because others think it’s important; take it because you enjoy the music, culture, or countries.
In the end, we can’t force our real interests. We make decisions to perfect a skill based off of many reasons: prestige, earning potential, expectation, etc. But maybe it’s okay to admit that even if we have a talent in something, it will be difficult to enjoy it if our only motivation is based on an external factor, instead of the skill itself.
**And who knows, maybe at some point I will have the desire to do calligraphy for hours on end again!**