Truth: Back in college there were some people I readily avoided doing course work with. I guess I subconsciously thought of them as “full of excuses”. They couldn’t send their part of the report on time because they didn’t have Internet connection, they couldn’t have the report printed because their flash drive malfunctioned, they couldn’t submit the thesis on the given deadline because there was such a long queue for the CD burner in the computer shop, etc. I hated not the fact that all those unfortunate things happened to them (Murphy’s Law, after all), but that they chose to resort to helplessness when the option to do something was just as available. Not that I blame them, or that I peg myself as one of those who never dredges up the lamest excuse in the book.
Because I do. And I think everyone is in the habit of doing so too. Human nature.
During the time when I was preparing to leave my full-time work and only just looking forward to becoming a full-time writer (at least for a season), I had an old refrain that went something like this: When I leave, I’ll be able to do more of the things that matter to me. When I leave, I will be able to master my craft. When I leave, I’ll have more time to write.
I was so sure that the very thing that hindered me from pursuing the life that I wanted was my current environment – that I didn’t have the time, that there were a thousand more urgent things to do. It made perfect sense back then, when all I could do was just steal furtive glances to that place where I so badly wanted to be.
And then it happened. My contract with my full-time work ended, and time and everything else were all at my disposal. That’s when I realized that all those things I thought I needed more or less of did not matter much at all. My days were no longer comprised of long commutes and inflexible office hours. I was no longer at the beck and call of my long list of urgent to do’s. And yet I still ended up not doing what I knew I had to do. I ended up just having yet another set of (much lamer) excuses, which went along the lines of: I need to study the art of my craft to be able to do well. I need to have a mentor. I need to belong in a community, to be surrounded with like-minded people, people who were after the same goals.
These all seemed valid, sure. But I knew full well that they were what they were. They sounded a lot like my old refrain.
I came to realize then, that it doesn’t take more time and less distractions, or more or less of whatever else to enable us to pursue our calling.
It takes passion. That’s it.
Plain and simple, clear as day.
And when it comes to passion, it’s either you have it or you don’t.
Passion is what fuels us to take actual steps to go after what we want, to do what needs to get done, to heed the calls of the “must” within ourselves, no matter what the situation is, no matter how impossible it all seems – no matter the heck what. Passion is exactly what enables us to finally decide to run out of excuses. And this passion comes from that deep longing, that ardent desire to fulfill a purpose inexplicably yet undeniably set in our hearts, knowing full well that a life – any life – outside of it is a counterfeit one.