How To Find My Passion In Life
Dwight Stephenson was an All-American center at the University of Alabama and later played for the Miami Dolphins. He played under two legendary coaches, Paul "Bear" Bryant and Don Shula. I once asked Dwight if these two coaches had one great quality in common. He said, "Actually, they had two – intensity and passion. I was always impressed and inspired by the intensity and passion they both had for every practice, every meeting, and every game."
All great achievements begin with passion – an intense, all consuming desire to dare and to do something on a grand scale. Great business leaders have a passion for building industrial or financial empires. Great writers and artists have a passion for expressing their imagination and creativity with a magnificent flourish. Great humanitarians have a passion for meeting the human needs that cry out all around us.
When I was a boy, my passion was sports. I learned to read and write by devouring books about my baseball heroes. I learned arithmetic from checking the box scores and keeping tabs on batting averages. My mother called me a "monomaniac." I didn't know what that word meant, but I had a vague idea that it had something to do with my single-minded passion for sports. Years later, I learned that "monomaniac" is the word novelist Herman Melville repeatedly used to describe Ahab, the peg-legged, mega-obsessed captain of the whaling ship Pequod, who was driven by a single-minded passion for hunting down the great white whale.
And you know what? That word described me perfectly! I was Ahab, relentlessly pursuing a career in professional sports. That's how I have lived my life, boy and man – with a single-minded passion for sports.
My passion kept me focused throughout my boyhood, then through college, and throughout my adult career. Everything I've ever accomplished can be traced to my monomania for sports. As a boy, I had filing cabinets that bulged with sports memorabilia, autographs, and baseball cards. When I read in a sports magazine that Don Mueller of the New York Giants would practice hitting curveballs by swinging at corncobs with a broomstick, I dragged my dad into the hackyard and had him pitch corncobs over the plate. He must have thought I was out of my flipping mind – but he humored me and pitched me those corncobs.
When I realized that my career as a professional athlete was coming to an end, I turned to sports management and pursued success in that field with the same monomaniac passion that I had once poured into my athletic pursuits. Over the course of my executive career, I've had the thrill of winning an NBA championship, resuscitating franchises in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta, and building a team out of dreams and pixie dust in Orlando.
Though I'm still involved with the Magic, speaking and writing have become an enormous passion for me – a second and third career. I want every speech I deliver to be better than the one before. As for my books, I'm still looking to write the bestselling book of all time. I have fifty books in the pipeline and fifty dreams that I want to get into print during the next thirty years.
Some people lack the flexibility and imagination to pursue new dreams. They hit a wall in their chosen career and never realize that they can choose to reinvent themselves and reimagine their dreams! New dreams are all around us – new adventures and opportunities to explore. If one dream dies, dream a new dream, then make that dream come true through the power of extreme focus.
If you want to have an exciting, meaningful, thrill-packed life – and I have! – you've got to be passionate about your dreams. You've got to find out what you truly love to do, then passionately invest your life in the pursuit of that dream. When you live your life with passion, every minute of every day is full of wonder and significance. You can't help but succeed!
I love what bestselling author Jentezen Franklin said when he was a guest on my Orlando radio show: "When you discover your passion in life and pursue it relentlessly, you become like a heatseeking missile." Think about what a heat-seeking missile does. It searches for a source of heat, locks on to it, then chases it with single-minded focus. If the heat source moves left, the missile goes left. If the heat source soars skyward or dives earthward, the missile follows unerringly. When you are passionate about your dreams, you become just like that missile. That's the power of passion – the power to launch you unerringly toward your goals and dreams.
Where does this power come from? What is it about this thing called passion that enables us to work harder, last longer, and achieve more? Why isn't it enough to simply set goals, then work methodically and dispassionately to achieve them?
The fact is, we were given an intellect with which to think logically, plan rationally, set reasonable goals, and advance step, by-step toward those goals. But we were also given emotions that propel us, motivate us, energize us, and enable us to accomplish more than intellect alone can do. If we have a passion for one big dream, that passion will keep us from being distracted and pulled off course. Passion keeps us focused on the tasks we need to complete in order to reach our goals.
The power of passion keeps us moving forward instead of spinning our wheels and settling for sameness. Passion focuses our minds on our dreams instead of on momentary interruptions and passing fads. The emotional power of passion keeps us on track for success. Never be content to live in the gray areas of life. Get fired up! Get motivated! Live passionately! To learn more, you can check out How To Find My Passion In Life.