Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive. – Attributed to Howard Thurman
I admire people who follow their passion. And you know one when you see one. A person who does what he or she is passionate about, glows. People who live their passion come alive in many different indescribable ways. They do what they are passionate about like there’s no tomorrow, full of energy, with bright eyes, happy, big smiles that makes them almost look like big newspaper caricatures to me. Ok, that’s quite an exaggeration but you know what I mean. They are alive. It is a joy to see people who know what their one passion is and live it.
One of these people is Kostas, a restaurant owner whom we met during our trip in Crete. Well, not actually met, we ate at his restaurant. This experience happened two years ago but I still fully remember it. His restaurant is situated in the little town of Agia Galini, in the southern part of the island. The place was the coziest we’ve ever had in Crete. The food was perfect. Best fish in town. It was a busy night. Full-packed. Kostas received the guests, took orders, entertained the guests, served, asked the guests if they like their food, loaded the dishwasher, chitchat, unloaded the dishwasher, received guests, took orders, entertained the guests, served, asked the guests if they like their food, loaded the dishwasher, chitchat…
This was how we witnessed the three-hour rendezvous anyway. It was a one-man show. You could see him catching his breath in between the servings but he was enthusiastic all the time. And he even tried to talk to the customers in their mother tongue! We thought he just ran out of help for the evening but during our chitchat, it turned out that he does this kind of work every night. We asked him if he ever gets tired and he said no, of course not, he loves what he does, it is his restaurant anyway. He has been doing it for a long time, he added, and he doesn’t know what else to do. This is his life. If that is not a man with a passion and a mission to fulfill, I don’t know who is.
A man with a passion does not see it as his work but his calling. No 8-to-5s to these people. It is their life and vice-versa. Another man with a passion I love to watch is the famous Aussie guitarist Tommy Emmanuel. The way he performs is a sight to behold.
We see many famous guitarists playing with shiny guitars while Tommy creates his music with a banged-up one. It may be part of the show but it sends across a strong message that it is not the guitar that he is ecstatic about but the music. The guitar is just a tool. He loves making music with it and it is evident in his performances. He loves sharing the music that he makes with it and you see that in the intensity of his shows. He is like a live wire or an electric guitar left to play on its own. And when you have a man like that on stage, it almost turns into a communicable disease. No wonder the audience also goes a-frenzy.
People who follow their passion do not care about what their life’s love puts them through. It can be best described by how one of my current favorite authors Elizabeth Gilbert describes her love affair with traveling:
Still, despite all this, traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless, newborn baby–I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to–I just don’t care. – Elizabeth Gilbert
To encounter people who follow their passions is not something one experiences every day. But today, I just encountered two. One is a fellow Filipina who is planning to go back to the Philippines with her family to do what she loves to do – Landscape Architecture. The other is a fellow News Stringer who left a good job at a top advertising firm as a Graphic Artist because, well, he just realized that he is a Journalist at heart. Brave hearts, I call them. They give passion meaning. It might not always be the most practical option but isn’t it that fortune favors the bold?
All I can say is, to hear such stories is quite inspiring but also brings me to shame. Because I haven’t been focusing on my passion lately. With so many interests, it is easy to get confused. I love the idea of creating, designing but to think that I will never write anymore or not be able to tell a story again does strike a chord that only I can grasp. And with this note, I will quote the great Vincent Van Gogh, whose passion was to paint but almost never sold a painting all his life:
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. – Vincent Van Gogh
It is a tough cookie, this passion. To discover your passion in itself is hard enough. How do you live it? How do you approach it with reckless abandon? #