How Far Are You Willing To Take Your Passion?

Whiplash poster

I recently saw the movie Whiplash for the first time, and it was pretty powerful. If you haven’t seen it before, I strongly suggest giving it a watch. As a former band kid, I could relate to the passion both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons exhibited for their craft, even if I didn't have that same passion myself.

Without giving anything away, I can say that the main concept driving the plot was the fact that Miles Teller's character pushed himself to be the best drummer he could be. And he was willing to go through hell to get there. He was wiling to give up pretty much anything in order to become one of the “greats”.

After the final scene, I sat thinking about how this relates to an individual’s pursuits of their passion in real life.

There are always cautionary tales about the person who relentless pursued their passions, even at the cost of their happiness. However, most of the people who are world-changers and successfully achieved the level of impact they sought are extremely driven. I’m not just talking about people who make millions from their craft, but also those who change the lives of those around them for the better.

I wrote about sacrifice a little over a year ago, and at the time I mentioned that there's always a little bit of sacrifice in pursuing your passions.

So the question remains of how much sacrifice is the end goal worth?

Take for example Nikola Tesla. While we often hear about his namesake electric car company, the man himself is known for his impressive intellect and numerous inventions and contributions to electrical engineering. He was extremely talented and spent a good deal of his life dedicated to improving the world around him. But he also live a very regimented life. He ate at the same few restaurants, spent most of his time absorbed in his work, and generally shunned social contact unless necessary.

All in pursuit of his passions, he sacrificed a great deal.

For example although he had many opportunities, he chose not to marry and later in life stated, "Sometimes I feel that by not marrying, I made too great a sacrifice to my work ..."

So was his sacrifice worth it?

If ever there was something to ponder, it is what we choose to dedicate our lives to accomplishing. Be it large or small, and whether we actively choose it or passively accept it, we will dedicate our lives to something. What that is, and whether or not you’re ok with that is another question.

Take Action:

I challenge you to spend a few minutes today, just 5 minutes, and think about what you’re dedicating your life to. If you can’t answer in 5 minutes, that’s ok, but it shows that you’ve got some work to do.

- Ryan