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Pursuing your passion


Text by Henrylito D. Tacio

Photo by Darrell Blatchley

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman


There was this story about General Billy Mitchell, which I read somewhere. He was an American career army officer assigned to an aviation section in 1916. That’s where he learned to fly, and it became the passion of his life. Though aircraft played a minor role in World War I, he could see the military potential of airpower.

After the war, he began a campaign to convince the military to create an air force. He provided demonstration after demonstration of what airplanes could do, but he met strong resistance. Frustrated, he forced the army to court-martial him in 1925. A year later, he resigned. 

Only after World War II was Mitchell exonerated – and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was willing to pay any price to do what he knew was right. 

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” said Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch. That is what passion is all about.

“Passion is universal humanity,” observed Honore de Balzac. “Without it, religion, history, romance and art would be useless.”

“Passion is the element in which we live; without it, we hardly vegetate,” said English romantic poet and satirist Lord Byron. To which Alfred Lord Tennyson added, “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”

“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion and desire,” pointed out Greek philosopher Aristotle. 

Of these seven, passion is the first step in achieving success in life.

Think of great leaders, and you will be struck by their passion: Mahatma Gandhi for human rights, Winston Churchill for freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. for equality, and Bill Gates for technology. 

“There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson,” Anthony Robbins once said.

“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested,” said E.M. Forster. Millionaire Donald Trump, who later became president of the United States, reminds us, “Without passion, you don’t have energy, without energy, you have nothing.”

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion,” said George Wilhelm in an interview with O Magazine in 2003. 

The brothers Joel and Ethan Coen know this well. Just recently, their bleak drama, No Country for Old Men, won four Oscars, more than any other film, including best movie, director, and adapted screenplay for them.

Their passion for doing offbeat films really paid off. Accepting his golden statuette, Joel Coen talked about how he and Ethan had made films since they were kids and said his brother had taken a camera to the airport as a boy in the 1960s to make a movie about shuttle diplomacy called Henry Kissinger, Man on the Go.

“Honestly, what we do now doesn’t feel that much different from what we did then,” Joel was quoted as saying.

“Chase your passion, not your pension,” Denis Waitley advises. Inspirational author Dale Carnegie reminds us, “You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.”

If you already know what your life’s passion is, do something. Just don’t sit there and wait for some miracles to happen. God helps those who help themselves, remember?

Canadian Bruno Cote is a successful painter in his country. At one time, a journalist visited him in his studio to conduct an exclusive interview. “The first thing you notice on entering his studio is the cleanliness and lack of clutter,” the journalist wrote in his article.

The studio is on two levels, one an afterthought of the other. The lower area contains the workstation and easel. In the middle of the easel and rising up behind it is a brightly painted board with the cryptic letters EMTD. When asked what those four letters stand for, the painter said it was an acronym for “Enthusiasm Makes the Difference.” Actually, it was taken from a book written by Norman Vincent Peale, which he used to read when he was still a teenager.

“It changed my life,” he said, adding that EMTD is more than his motto; it is his primal force and method of living. When asked by the journalist how he gets enthusiastic when he isn’t feeling it.

“It builds up,” he says. “If you don’t work for a while, then you need to and you do it. I come in here and go for it. I work myself up. I work very, very fast and get a lot done for every blast. If you’re not enthusiastic, it’s no good.”

What Mr. Cote actually was doing was passion at work. 

By the way, if you have found your life’s passion, don’t be afraid to fail. As an American television host, Oprah Winfrey said, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

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