nearly all of them focused on romance. Then I came across The Urban Dictionary
and there it was:
“Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do
it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is
materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into
something as is possible.”
When I was growing up, my parents thought of my great passions as “hobbies”:
playing the piano, painting, writing. Mom and Dad decided I should be a teacher
and I got passionate about that. Still am.
Business people with passions can be like magnets, attracting supporters,
helpers, enthusiasts, devotees.
Of course, success requires a lot more than passion: intelligence, hard work,
common sense, leadership, honesty and courage help immensely. Sadly, a lot of
passion can be misguided, especially when people think passion is enough. It is
if you want to be a voice crying in the wilderness, otherwise, it isn’t.
Last week I met a man who got it right.
His name is Adam
Johnson, a Stanford Associate Professor of English who won the 2013 Pulitzer
Prize in fiction for his novel, The Orphan Master’s Son.
He came to Miami’s Brickell Avenue Literary Society to talk about life as a
Professor and about his book. I went with some friends.
I could have listened to him all day. He’s a wonderful, passionate
He had been working on a scholarly piece for years and couldn’t get it worked
out. Along the way, he became fascinated with North Korea and began reading
everything about it that he could find, including the personal narratives of the
few people who had managed to defect from the country. It seemed to me that that
was when he switched from an academic pursuit to something he was passionate
He started writing his novel and had completed it when he met a man who
helped him get a Visa V -1.01% to visit North Korea on a tightly controlled
state-sponsored trip. Johnson told us about his hotel in which only two floors
were actually used; all the other floors were scavenged for things needed to
make the two usable floors resemble a luxury hotel.
When he got back from the trip, he had to change about half of his “finished”
novel. The Orphan Master’s Son is a terrific read, rich with meticulous research
and documentation. Johnson’s passion shines through every line of it.
I’m not even sure what that other book – the one he couldn’t get quite right
– was about, but it couldn’t have been as great as this one.
•Think about your own interests, the work you love to do….and
then somehow make time for it (even if it is after your regular work day). Adam
Johnson wrote this book late into the night.
What project will give you
that kind of energy too? Then decide you’re going to make it happen for
yourself. As Nike has told us for years: Just do it!
•Then get other people
involved in what you’re doing. Get their feedback, and once they’re
involved…they’ll give your more energy (and ideas).
•I’ve already decided to
go back to Costco and look at a cool keyboard there. Maybe I’ll check out some
art classes in my neighborhood. As far as my writing is concerned, I love
writing this column, and will go back to writing again on my Joy of Direct
Let me know what you have been wanting to do also. Comment below, and
I’ll check in on your progress, too. Good luck, my friends!