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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Passion(s) and Success


Have you ever gotten high on quality weed? When I say quality weed, I don't mean college student weed. College students think they get high on great quality weed, because that's what the movies make them believe. I mean weed that someone with a hefty income and good connects can get, I mean higher plane weed. Again, not college weed that makes you think you're on a higher plane, I mean higher plane weed that makes you feel like the image above. No? Me neither.

My friend and I had a conversation that began with discussing masculinity. Well in reality it was more about relationships and the way in which we as men, seem to have goals or missions. Women have the same, but what does it mean in terms of relationships? All this came out of a recent break up he had, and he began to question what occurred that lose sight of his mission or compromise his identity. He felt he had gone through a natural progression in his life. He graduated from college, got a job, has worked his way up in his job, and is doing well after a few years. He has accomplished some things in his field, and felt that the next step was naturally marriage. Except he had chosen a less than ideal partner and he walked me through what led to the dissolution of the relationship.

And then somehow we ended up talking about "passion," and the things that make us "passionate." Not passionate lovers, but passionate about the goals or things that drive us, the things we would rather be doing. He said he doesn't believe in passion, but instead believes in goals, missions and the fact that we try to accomplish those things, because even when you do the things that you are passionate about, there are downsides to it, even if you are successful at it. Of course I agreed about that, I've met a couple of people who are doing what they want to do, especially creatively, but there are downsides that they complain about. But when they speak of what they are doing, they are generally happy, because they enjoy doing what they do, and they are passionate about it.

One of my friends who is doing what he likes, has very much become a devoted capitalist. About 7 to 8 months ago he quit his job, to pursue his passion of being a promoter. He's doing well for himself. He mentioned being happy, because he wakes up at whatever time he wants. Of course there's a hustle and hassle that comes with him being successful at what he does. He has to book an act each week, he has to go around promoting and he has to deal with the performers who can act like douches. But he told me, "You know, I don't think money buys you happiness, but it does buy you comfort." Aside from this, he believes that if he could do it, anyone can do it. Anyone should be able to make a buck, because there were times when he was at his lowest, and because he hustled, he was able to get where he is today. It's gotten to the point, where he is offended by raza that he sees begging for money. He has no problem giving a non-Chicano a handout, but he can't do it for his raza, because with his raza, he feels where's our orgullo?

The thing that he didn't seem to think about was that his passion coincided with being able to make a living off of it. How many artists or writers are out there, who pursue their passion, but would like to make a living from it? I'm guessing plenty. There's also plenty of stories of people who sit in cubicles, and one day decide, "fuck this, I'm going to go out and start my own company!" But was this the actual passion? Is the passion embedded in the fact that the person needs to be able to survive financially from their passion in order to feel like it's worth pursuing? Can the creative be pursued without a decent financial return to pay the rent and bills? I'm asking questions that have possibly been debated endlessly, and for which, some people I'm sure have answers.

Nowadays there doesn't seem to be a difference between pursuit of passion and financial success. You hear comedians talk about it, they went through obscurity to eventually starring in films, and getting paid millions of dollars. They were passionate about their craft, but did financial success make them even more passionate about it? Or was that simply an added bonus? Or was financial success always the intended goal? Passions and money are interconnected.

I am not saying that a passion that comes with financial success is impure. I think that most of us who pursue our passions do it, because we enjoy it, and if we get paid for it, all the better. Especially because we have to eat and provide shelter for ourselves and our families. But in our society, dependent on financial earnings and recognition, is it ever possible to pursue a passion, without the need to achieve those other things to feel successful at it? Does it simply become a goal or mission and not a passion as my friend said? If a person pursues their passion and they are not financially successful at it, are they disappointed with themselves or do they simply shrug their shoulders and continue to do it, because it is what makes them happy?

It is not the aforementioned weed that had me writing this post. It was simply this conversation with a friend and then the realization (that others must already understand and know) of the interconnectedness of passions and capitalistic success. Or maybe its capitalistic comfort.

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