A couple of weeks ago, I came across the Latin meaning of passion that made me realize its profound meaning. It was a far cry from the English language’s referral to passion as hobby or romantic, downright cheesy kind of love. Latin used stadium for hobby and cupiditas or libido referring to passion for love.
Yet, the word “passion” in Latin, is passio, meaning, suffering.
Yes, you read that right. Suffering. Along with it means to endure and to tolerate. I don’t know about you, but I was stucked and mesmerized by this profound meaning.
Passio makes sense
There are many things in life that require patience, tolerance, endurance…suffering.
It might be difficult to tell our generation to endure something, much more suffer for something. We are less interested in marathons and more interested in overnight successes and of getting what we want right away. We feel entitled for so many things and crave instant convenience – thanks to smartphones, fast foods and our countless tech advancement with intention to make our lives more convenient.
But this original meaning of passion – suffering – makes a lot of sense. There are many things in life that require patience, tolerance, endurance…suffering. Forget about suffering something because you’ve been stupid, that’s not the kind of suffering we are talking about here. But suffering, enduring because you are waiting for something and working on something that matters to you. That is passio.
Right now, think about what you wanted to have in your life.
Maybe you wanted to have your own business, a published book, the best teacher award, an online shop, a wonderful house, a fulfilling job, a new car, a great family, and most of all, you want to do what makes your heart sing (read: Ikigai, purpose, reason for being).
Now, think about what you would do to get from here to where you want to be.
Does it require a lot of work? Most probably yes. Does it mean that you had to deny yourself some things now, just so you reach your goal? Big check. Does it mean making careful choices and strategic planning? Naturally!
God knew how tired I was at times. God knew how I studied in between breaks, and worked hard while other students enjoyed their free time.
When I was 14, my father told me that he and my mother could not be able to send me to university. The reason was simple. My father was working as a driver and my mom was a factory worker. They could barely make both ends meet, what with three children all going to school at the same time. This was in the Philippines, education is not free and life is hard.
But I had dreams and passions. I wanted to graduate from university and one day get a good job. I was passionate about learning Mass Media and Communication. I was a proactive and diligent student. How sad to know that I wouldn’t be able to reach goals just because my parents lack the financial resources to send me to school.
Nevertheless, I found a way, a strategy, to reach my goal of graduating from university. I applied for working student scholarship and luckily got accepted as a working student enrolled in Mass Communication. This meant that I had to work for the university four hours a day, Monday to Saturday, and maintain a certain level of high grades to continue being a working scholar. In compensation, I don’t have to pay for my university education.
It was four years of hard work – studying and working, and making sure my grades were high enough to maintain my scholarship. God knew how many times I had to study until 4 or 5 in the morning, just so I get good grades during examinations. God knew how tired I was at times. God knew how I studied in between breaks, and worked hard while other students enjoyed their free time.
Four years later, I graduated with honors as Cum Laude with a special award as most outstanding working scholar.
I can definitely say it was passio that made me do it. It was not easy, but it was worthy. It required endurance and suffering, because there was no other way to do it. There was no shortcut, only the inner motivation to one day get what I wanted. But you know what? Those moment of hard work and endurance made me who I am today. I value work, perhaps more than others. And I know responsibility, honesty and dedication because I learned them at those times I worked at studied just so I reach my goals.
Weathering the storm
That single step is a micro moment, a decision made and made again every single day, until one day it has turned into a journey of a thousand miles.
Truth is, to be passionate about something means to weather the storm no matter how hard it takes. To be passionate about something means to have the grit to never give up on it. It is not an overnight success like others thought it to be. People who get to the top started out somewhere at the bottom. People who are knowledgeable and wise experienced and endured countless hours of learning.
Additionally, it also means choosing to do something in the present moment, that would hopefully and eventually give you the results you wanted. It’s those micro moments, those everyday decisions, that will help form your future. The Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That single step is a micro moment, a decision made and made again every single day, until one day it has turned into a journey of a thousand miles.
Give passion a chance
May our lives understand the profound meaning of passion
You and I, we wanted something. We have dreams, goals, desires and things we wanted to become a reality. We are humans meant to fulfill those things that make our heart sing.
I suggest we give passion a chance. I suggest that we never give up on our dreams and instead, take that single step, that micro-moment, every single day. I suggest us to be patient for things to work out. I suggest us to endure, no matter how difficult, no matter how long – just so our dreams can turn into a reality.
I suggest us to work and do our best and hope for positive things.
And this, I hope, that we all learn from the profound meaning of passion, from suffering and enduring, and deciding every single day to take the extra step.
May we realize that there are many things in life that takes time, and may we be patient, tolerant and at the same time, focused, on reaching our goals.
May our lives understand the profound meaning of passion, and embrace the challenges and changes that life brings on our way to realizing a better future, for ourselves and our families.
Written: 06 December 2017