My grandma Jane was passionate about Lake Huron and her cottage on it. It fulfilled her in ways I can only begin to imagine. I took this photograph on her beach, the last time I visited her. I dedicate this post to her.
Round one. Ding.
Ambition allows eluding. Passion demands presence.
Anyone, at anytime, can decide to be ambitious. People can be consumed by it and hide from themselves. Like Inigo Montoya’s* realization, when you have dedicated your life to one goal, who are you once you’ve finally achieved it?
However, a passionate person has had an experience – even if it was just an internal experience – of feeling alive. When you are doing something and you get so wrapped up in the process that you lose track of time and you lose track of your identity**. For this to happen, you must be fully present, aware and open to whatever will come out of you or whatever may happen next. Ding.
Round two. Ding.
Ambition is the desire to be filled. Passion is fulfillment.
Many people feel lonely or like they are incomplete. Being driven to do something serves many purposes. Here are two:
- The person now has something to occupy a relentlessly nagging headspace.
- The person can now believe that once the mission has been accomplished, a longing for contentment will at last be realized.
So, to the brain: Ambition = Happily ever After.
On the flip side, passion does not serve the ego or give one a sense that there will be some great day of reckoning where hard work will finally pay off. When you feel passionate, you already feel fulfilled. There is nothing you are “missing”, nothing that needs to be attained. True passion creates fullness that provides the fuel to be free. Free to choose whether to follow your instinct or a set path, at any given moment. Free to create future with a new ending.
Therefore: Passion = Genuine Fulfillment.
Round three. Ding.
Ambition is a driven path. Passion has countless possible paths.
I see my finish line and I’m ready to sprint. I move my legs, pump my arms and move my my legs and pump my arms… wait, is that another route? Not now! There’s the finish line, it’s where all this training and preparation has lead me – I won’t stop now. I move my legs, pump my arms and move my legs and pump my arms…
This may sound crazy, but sometimes you need to go a different direction. Even when you can nearly taste the bread you’ve been baking. There is never one-way to get anywhere, anything or anytime. To revel in all the opportunities is the point. Ding.
*Inigo Montoya – A character from the book and movie, The Princess Bride. Mandy Patinkin brilliantly plays him in the film. If you have not seen it, stop whatever you are doing, go find a copy and, for the love of all that is holy, watch it.
**By identity, I am referring to Frued’s concept of the ego and how we try to describe ourselves to the world. Using the phrases: I am __________, I like __________, I want _________ and so on.