Articulating Passion

When you say you are passionate about something, what is it that you actually mean? Does it mean that you enjoy it? Does it mean that you are good at it? Does it mean that it interests you? What does it mean? As usual, I like to refer to definitions when looking into the meaning of words. Weird, right? Let’s see what the interwebs have to say about the definition of passion.

  1. Any powerful or compelling emotion of feeling, as love and hate.

  2. Strong amorous feeling or desire; love or ardor.

  3. A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.

  4. And then a bunch of stuff about love and mess that I don’t even want to get into. Moving on...


  1. The sufferings of Christ… I see the similarities between this and teaching.

  2. An oratorio based on a gospel narrative… Bach’s not what I’m going for.

  3. The state or capacity of being acted on by an external agent or force… This could be a thing.

  4. Intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.

  5. And then a bunch of stuff and about love and words that I can’t say out loud.

So, then I hit on something while looking at the American Heritage Dictionary. They had definitions very similar to the other dictionaries with one exception. The third definition was

Boundless enthusiasm.

Okay, this could be a thing, too. What gives you boundless enthusiasm? What drives you? Is that what you are passionate about? I don’t know if we are quite there yet. Let’s expand our search to include the word passionate. What more can that definition include?

Cambridge Dictionary

  1. Full of emotion… great job with specificity. Okay, back to Dictionary, com

  1. Having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling, fervid… fervid?

  2. Expressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling, emotional.

  3. Intense or vehement, as emotions or feelings...I’m not mad. I’m passionate.


  1. Easily aroused to anger...Nope

  2. 2. Filled with anger...swing and a miss.

  3. Capable of , affected by, or exposing intense feeling...wait...example: a passionate coach, is passionate about close.

Okay, so a mixed bag. But, let’s take what I see as relevant, and clean that up a bit. What if we use these definitions:

  • Boundless enthusiasm - really like this one, but it’s not enough

  • The state or capacity of being acted on by an external agent or force

  • Expressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling, emotional.

So, if I summarize these definitions I come up with:

A state or capacity of being acted on by an external force, while expressing intense feelings of which one does not tire.

Okay, well, that’s plainly crap.

Shouldn’t something that I feel so regularly be easily defined. I know what it is, but I don’t know how to define it. Let’s try again.

Passion is something you feel, but it’s more than that. What you are passionate about directs how you make decisions. It is an outside force, but it isn’t controlling. I see passion as nearly the same thing as a goal. I see what I’m passionate about causes me to change environments, situations, and realities around me to achieve that goal.

Simply put, passion is your purpose.

What I’m passionate about clearly articulates my aspirations, ideals, and intent. It doesn’t drive me. It doesn’t make me mad. It gives me direction and hope. And, that would be my desire all of you. That you were passionate. That you have hope. That you have purpose.

Your thoughts are encouraged and welcomed.

Dane Barner

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