By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Everybody has a passion. It could be a person, or possibly a thing. It's different for everyone. My passion is professional wrestling. Many may see that as hobby or as an "obsession", but it's anything but. I am passionate for professional wrestling. It goes far beyond fandom for me. I want to a living out of it. Not as a wrestler, but as a writer for WWE. I, personally, have never been ridiculed for being a wrestling fan or having a passion for the product, but I definitely know of people that have. It's pathetic, I know, but it happens. One would think those kind of ignorant people are far and few between in 2014, and they are, but they're still out there and it's a shame that some have to deal with them. What they might not realize, however, is that whoever mocks them for having passion for wrestling (or anything that's looked down upon for that matter) doesn't have a passion themselves.
It's like bullying. It's often said that bullies only bully others because they themselves feel inferior and need to make other people that way in order to fill that void. This is pretty similar. You won't discover what your passion is from the day you're born. There's no one point you have a revelation as to what you're passion is. For some, it takes longer than others, but you have to keep in mind that you'll find it eventually. It just takes time, and more importantly, patience. It isn't uncommon for people without a passion to pick on people who do have one, regardless of how "stupid" it may seem.
Writing has always been my passion, but I never thought of it as a potential career choice growing up. I always good at it, but it never occurred to me until later in life that it could be something I could do for a living (of course, you're never thinking about that kind of thing when you're in elementary/middle school anyway). Believe it or not, becoming a teacher was actually my original career choice. It wasn't until middle school that I realized it wasn't something I wanted to do given how much crap you'd have to deal with, the minimal pay and all the work that came along with it. That's not to saying teaching is a bad profession, but over time, I discovered it wasn't for me.
But then it finally dawned on me: what about becoming a journalist? I didn't start writing about wrestling regularly until my freshman year of high school, and as I got better at it, I saw it as something I could do with my life (maybe not writing about wrestling specifically, but in the field of journalism). I did something that not a lot of people tend to do: I took two things I'm extremely passionate about (wrestling and writing) and I combined them. So, not only am I pursuing a career that I excel at, but it's something I very much enjoy as well.
I did an internship at the New Haven Register (a very well known newspaper here in Connecticut) during the winter break of my freshman year of college. I wouldn't exactly call it a great experience if only because all the traveling nearly drove me insane, but it was undoubtedly interesting and eye-opening. Sitting in this environment with all these different journalists was something different, something I had never experienced before. It helped me shape my future in that I decided I didn't want to work out of a workplace but perhaps as a freelancer instead. It helped my shape my options.
However, it wasn't really anything at the internship itself that broaden my perspective. It was something I met while I was there. The night on the internship, I "shadowed" someone as they were covering a basketball game. He was a cool guy to talk to and seemed really friendly, but the conversation we had on the car ride back to the internship site was the biggest takeaway for me. In so many words, this guy said he hated his job. He hated the traveling and everything that came along with it. He hated the pay, and he didn't like his boss. He hated school and didn't get a good education until many years later. He basically wasted his time at a college (which he said he is still paying off to this day) that didn't offer anything he was interested in and didn't benefit him in the slightest. At that moment, I thought to myself, "I don't want to become that guy."
There's a lot of people out there who hate their job. To me, that makes no sense. Why work a job that you hate? That said, I understand we all have to make money somehow and sometimes that requires us to work a job we may not necessarily like. That's completely logical. But chances are if you don't like where you work, you don't put forth your strongest effort. Will that effect your pay? Possibly, but it shouldn't be about money (even though it's essential, don't think I'm saying money means nothing). Your health and happiness should come above all else.
There's an old saying that states if you love what you do for a living, you'll never work a day in your life. That couldn't be any more truthful. I don't technically consider it a job per se, but I've been making money off my wrestling writings for a website called What Culture for close to six months now. Does it take a lot of work and time to write each piece? Absolutely, but I've never been bothered by it or stressed by it because I enjoy it so much. It's not going to pay the bills (I'm only 19, so that's not a primary concern of mine just yet), but it's something I love doing but am also profiting from, so it's a win-win situation.
If you have a passion for working, that's awesome. That's what you should strive for. And, contrary to what some believe, being a work-a-holic isn't a bad thing. I consider myself one at times. But the key is that you're happy. If you're not, then don't work as much, regardless of how much money you may be making. Look at it this way: You may be making loads and loads of money, but if you don't have any time to spend it, then what's the point. The bottom line when it comes to working a job or essentially anything in life is being healthy, happy and passionate about what you do.
Passion is not something you can teach or learn. It's just something you either have or you don't. You can't make yourself passionate about something, just like you can't force yourself to fall in love with someone. It's something you feel. You may not realize it, but passion is incredibly important. Whether you're passionate about a person, an activity, a job or whatever, channel that passion and make something productive out of it. The more passionate you are about what you do in life, the more you'll get out of it, and the more other people will soon follow suit as well. And that's a fact.
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