Friday, February 24

awareness > learning > familiarity > passion

it doesn't start with full-blown passion. before passion, before learning, before flirtation or interest, must come awareness. if you don't know this thing exists, if it doesn't figure as any significant part of your universe, then it's pretty hard to be passionate about it. yeah, sure you can dream. you can imagine your own object of passion... but that's not the real thing. if you haven't met the physical incarnation of your dream man yet, then your passion for him can't be real.

so what? well, reality wins here. and in reality, it is impossible to be acquainted with everything. so there's a balance of passion and apathy. Sherlock Holmes (one of my childhood idols) was passionate about anything that made him a better detective: biology, geography, psychology; he didn't care two cents about whether the earth went around the moon or vice versa. astrophysics just wasn't an important field to him. what was important to Dr. Watson? medicine. comfort. hobbies. society? I'd have to go back and investigate his backstory, but we can probably say he had no idea he'd soon become the faithful sidekick and chronicler of a brilliant sleuth--he hadn't ever met a brilliant sleuth before.

is it that simple, then? you meet your passion in the street one day and decide to ignore everything else?

what do you do you do if you haven't been introduced to your passion yet?

just keep asking questions. it'll find you. you will find it. but in the meantime you can't just sit around. plain awareness isn't going to flip the switch in your brain; a mere blip on your mental radar is not going to turn you on; there are a few more steps to go through.

you need to get closer. Kathy Sierra calls it "hi-resolution experience" and I like that metaphor. she says:
"Learning adds resolution to what you offer. And the change happens not within the product, but between the user's ears."
it's like upgrading your brain. changing the settings.

and learning isn't always easy, but it can be fun. it ought to be. Sierra has great ideas about learning experiences. user experiences. but the long hard road from novice to expert still isn't easy. it takes time. and there's where the true passion develops, sprouting along the way enthusiasm, loyalty, compelling stories.

getting closer to your passion means becoming more familiar--making those stories, that enthusiasm and drive, a part of you and becoming a part of it. give-and-take integration. assimilation. eventually, contribution.

and sometimes, a very real power to change the world.

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