Passion vs. Curiosity - Trust

Big magic: creative living beyond fear - Elizabeth Gilbert 2015

Passion vs. Curiosity

May I also urge you to forget about passion?

Perhaps you are surprised to hear this from me, but I am somewhat against passion. Or at least, I am against the preaching of passion. I don’t believe in telling people, “All you need to do is to follow your passion, and everything will be fine.” I think this can be an unhelpful and even cruel suggestion at times.

First of all, it can be an unnecessary piece of advice, because if someone has a clear passion, odds are they’re already following it and they don’t need anyone to tell them to pursue it. (That’s kind of the definition of a passion, after all: an interest that you chase obsessively, almost because you have no choice.) But a lot of people don’t know exactly what their passion is, or they may have multiple passions, or they may be going through a midlife change of passion—all of which can leave them feeling confused and blocked and insecure.

If you don’t have a clear passion and somebody blithely tells you to go follow your passion, I think you have the right to give that person the middle finger. Because that’s like somebody telling you that all you need in order to lose weight is to be thin, or all you need in order to have a great sex life is to be multiorgasmic: That doesn’t help!

I’m generally a pretty passionate person myself, but not every single day. Sometimes I have no idea where my passion has gone off to. I don’t always feel actively inspired, nor do I always feel certain about what to do next.

But I don’t sit around waiting for passion to strike me. I keep working steadily, because I believe it is our privilege as humans to keep making things for as long as we live, and because I enjoy making things. Most of all, I keep working because I trust that creativity is always trying to find me, even when I have lost sight of it.

So how do you find the inspiration to work when your passion has flagged?

This is where curiosity comes in.