Author Neil Strauss wrote the following about Passion:

“Sometimes your passion isn’t fun. Sometimes it’s grueling, soul-searing, self-doubting, time-consuming work. But stick with it and don’t give up, because it’s worth it in the end. So many people buy into this illusion, promulgated by many so called experts, that work and passion and meaning and purpose should be inextricably linked at all times. Then when they try something and it becomes “not fun anymore,” they jump ship and start looking for a new “passion.” But sometimes it’s just hard work. Stay out of your head. And do the heavy lifting. Stick with it. Get better at your craft. Because it’s worth it.”

I read Neil’s quote after competing in a bodybuilding competition in December of 2018 and it changed the way I’ve thought about passion for my entire life. Before the competition I always equated passion with fun and inspiration. But now I realize that sometimes passion is more about discipline than dopamine hits.

During my training a friend said he was inspired by my passion for bodybuilding and the comment struck me as odd. Because I had never considered what I was doing as a passion. It was twice a day, six days a week of exhaustion and pain, constantly pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. And my reward was the opportunity to eat the same meals every day, six times a day for months and months and months.

What I understand now is that sometimes our passions really can be more soul-searing than soul-stirring; that sometimes the only thing that gets us through the hard times is the intense connection we have with the thing that is causing the hard times.

How ironic is that?