At times, it can be easy to misunderstand the intent and makeup of true passion. An eagerness that hastily says, “I care about it so much, I want it so bad, I just can’t wait for it but have to have it now” can be mistaken for passion, in the wrong context. It can seem that passion breeds impatience, but the opposite is true.
True passion isn’t so shallow and fleeting that it needs instant or premature gratification in order to be satisfied. True passion grows deeper with time and process, grows stronger with every step of the valuable journey it takes to reach a goal, whether the journey is long or short. True passion isn’t so anxious and antsy that it can’t sit still to take care of intricate, necessary details.
I stopped to reflect on this last week, as I considered the many hours I’ve spent in just the past six months or so reading and researching over fine print, for business purposes. I laughed to myself, briefly wondering how I’ve had the patience to sit down and go through all of this stuff, but then I thought, “Oh. Yeah. It’s because I have a passion for this business.”
People who have a passion for cooking aren’t merely looking to get instant meals on the counter or the table. They find satisfaction in the process of cooking: chopping, baking, letting foods marinate. Some meals take longer to prepare than others, and if a particular meal requires extra waiting time in order for it to turn out right, someone with a passion for cooking will have the patience to wait for it. There’s joy in the journey.
People who have a passion for writing aren’t merely trying to get articles or books to appear onscreen or on a bookstore shelf. They find satisfaction in the process of writing: getting a hold of ideas and concepts, outlining or note taking, hashing their imagination and convictions out into poetry, prose, or composition. Whatever time it takes to get to the finished product is worth it, however long or short that time may be, because there’s joy in the journey.
Two people in a romantic relationship who have committed not to have sex with each other before they get married aren’t driven by their passion to break their commitment to one another. While not denying their mutual desire, they still find satisfaction in keeping the vow they’ve made, as it takes character to say, “I desire and esteem you enough to keep my word to you as we’re building this relationship.” There’s joy even in that kind of journey.
When you care about something enough, you’ll wait for it, work for it, see to the small details, read the fine print–whatever it takes. And if anywhere along the journey, you are tempted to become impatient, you can revisit the seat of your passion. You can remember and rehearse precisely why you’re doing what you’re doing. You can remind yourself why you want what you want.
A goal reached and passion fulfilled through patience is sweeter than any trinket seized through anxiousness or haste.