It is safe to say that one of the things that set the late Steve Jobs from most people was that he was passionate about what he did. To him, passion was near the top of the list of things people need in order to “make it,” or be successful.
He put it this way:
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true. And the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up. And that’s what happens to most people, actually. If you really look at the ones that ended up being “successful” in the eyes of the society and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes it’s the ones [who] were successful loved what they did, so they could persevere when it got really tough. And the ones that didn’t love it quit because they’re sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it? So it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of worrying constantly and if you don’t love it, you’re going to fail.” —D5 Conference: All Things Digital, May 30, 2007 (Watch here)
So, how do you know if what you are doing or are about to do is your passion?
1. Do you LOVE what you do?- It all starts and ends with love. Love is the primary driver as to why we do the things we do. Many people attempt to embark on doing things, starting businesses, going for degrees, and yes, even marrying people, but they are not in love.
2. Are you HAPPY when you do it? – When you love something, you can’t get enough of it and your are happy to spend most of your waking moment doing it. If it constantly drains you or grieves you, you are not passionate about it.
3. Are you willing to work insanely HARD for it?- If you have passion, you are willing to work 24/7/365 on it. I heard once that between 20 – 30 years of age, Bill Gates never took a day off. Gary Vaynerchuck says he continuously works 15 to 20 hours a day on his business.
4. Are you willing to PERSEVERE when things get tough? – Things are never easy, especially those things that you build from the ground up. Do you have the “intestinal fortitude” to endure to the very end. Do you have a “I’m willing to die trying” attitude? If you don’t, you are not passionate about it.
5. Do others see you as a FANATIC? – This is usually a great indiction if you are passionate about something or not. If you do and talk so much about something that you annoy people around you, you are passionate about it!
If you have all these five attributes: you love, are happy, are willing to work hard, are not willing to quit, and are considered a fanatic by others, you, my friend, have the passion for it.