There are two equal and necessary parts to every human activity. If we want to succeed in any venture, project, or relationship, we need to balance the weight of these two giants. The health of our lives is the way in which these two navigate, the delicate way they dance with one another through the avenues of our lives.
We tend to think of them as opposites, as mutually exclusive. The existence of one cancels out the other. But that is not how it works. If we do not give the proper attention to either passion or perseverance, we will lose out on what our lives could be.
A good way to explain passion is: excited commitment. The world is full of options. The cereal isle at the grocery store seems a mile long. There are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say. There are all kinds of ways to earn a living, all kinds of places one can live, and all kinds of things we might chose to do with our time.
Advertising campaigns are meant to elicit passion in our lives. It could be the passion of need (I have to have this to survive) or the passion of likability, etc. We simply cannot make ourselves do things unless we are passionate.
Passion comes in many forms. It is not always thrill. It is about commitment. Passionate soccer fans are committed to their team. A casual observer probably enjoys the games more because he is less invested than those engrained with passion.
Our passion is a natural result of our values. The reason passion matters is because it connects us to the meaningful life we desperately desire. And for all of us, that kind of meaningful life is only achieved through the realization of what matters most to us – our values. A lot of unhealthy passions are our values trying to express themselves in negative, short-cut ways.
A pastor at our church recently said, “what got me in it is not what is going to get me through it”. He was talking about perseverance.
Passion gets us excited. It gets us in the game. Perseverance is the reality of what it is actually like to play the game. And it is hard. Life is challenging.
Perseverance is another kind of commitment, a sort of converted passion. It is what happens when the initial thrill of passion fades. The honeymoon ends. The hard work and the intimacy develop. It is not that passion is replaced; it just begins to take on a more sustainable form.
Our willingness to endure hardships is a necessary part to success. Whether it be individual character, business, or relationships, our commitments will be tested. Our passion will take a turn. And the question will become “are we truly committed to our vision?”.
Passion awakens our values. Perseverance is their proving ground. They are a sort of yin and yang. We need them to work together if we are going to have any hope of meaningful endeavors.