I will be vulnerable in this post, hence its brevity. Please also forgive my wordplay of Mel Gibson’s movie as the title of this post. You see, I’m not really a big fan of Mel Gibson as a person, but it’s very hard to ignore the ingenuity and quality he puts through his work.
Passion is a word bandied around every now and then when someone tries to give a psyching speech or motivational talk. They talk about how important passion is and how applying passion to what you do can easily set you apart; they quickly go to the success stories and mention a few people who were “passionate” in their endeavours, if only we could see through the lens. If only…
You see, the thing about passion is that it can prove equally as dangerous as it can be useful once it’s misdirected. It’s the reverse for public opinion; public opinions are best when they are negative, because it brings the true best out of you.
When I was in school, I was a smart chap. In Junior Class, I always came out tops or amongst the best, with little effort. So, I grew up thinking I didn’t need do too much to come out tops in class – I paid attention to my position instead of my overall average. So, while 70% was enough to come out tops in Junior class, it was really poor because people in other Junior Classes were coming out tops with an average of over 90%. Well, I wasn’t bothered because I didn’t feel threatened.
When I got into Senior Class, we had a reshuffle, so I now had a different set of classmates; the struggle caught up with me. I didn’t put in extra effort because I had been used to coming out tops without working so hard, I struggled. When the first results came out, I had my lowest result ever; the same average that was enough for me in Junior Class set me back. It was really tough, by the time I got a hang of myself, it was almost late.
That was my first experience with being unequally yoked, being around people who didn’t challenge me. This is why I don’t have so many friends, people ask me from time to time, how I survive in an urban environment with very little friends, and the truth is, I am yet to see someone, anyone, who can match my passion in all things – both serious and trivial things. I apply passion to things I’m involved in, even if they don’t make sense.
Anyways, after a long while I got into College, and the same thing almost happened, except this time, it was not exactly academic but in other facets; I found myself around people that did not really challenge me, I didn’t have to do too much to remain a notch above anybody else, so I grew up over the years with the mindset that I didn’t need do so much to stay above everyone else, and it didn’t help either that some of the people I looked up to lacked content, so I had to resort to feeling good with their commendations and all.
By the time I changed environments, I struggled for a long while to come to terms with my new-found reality. The accolades I had become accustomed to for doing even the most mundane things were nowhere to be found. I doubted myself, I asked myself if I’ve been all that people said I was. Funny how a rough six months came really close to damaging over a decade’s worth of mental reputation and worth.
So, what had happened was that I had move on to a better environment, with more enlightened and knowledgeable people, and these guys didn’t see this “extraordinary” things I did (which won be accolades before) as a big deal. The first thing my instincts did was to recount my history and try to make them see that this was really special.
See, I’m a strong character, and one of the things you get with strong characters is that we can be very insistent, even against glaring odds. It also helped with my confidence too, because I have never been one to rely on public opinion for confidence, I’ve always felt not too many people like me out there. Hence, it helps me build a wall of confidence and parameters (not perimeter) controlled wholly by me.
But the one mistake I made was to rely on public opinion as it had to do with the output of my work, I stopped listening to my innate parameters to judge the quality of my output and it affected me gravely. I stopped putting in all the hard work and it slowly caught up with me. But here’s the thing, I am a special being. I’ve been all that since I was born, but here’s another thing, no one cares about what you’ve been, they want to see what you can deliver in the now – in the present.
Quit living in your past glory mentally, it’s one thing to say you are looking forward to new challenges but mentally you’re still stuck in the past. I started this post by talking about passion, but passion takes 100 percent, so you had better make sure you’ve been fixated on the right thing before applying all that passion.