Passion is a very debated topic amongst businesspeople. I have heard “If you haven’t got passion for what you’re doing, you’ll never be successful”, as well as “It’s not the product that matters, it’s the process”.
I personally believe (and know) that if you try to stick with something that you don’t truly enjoy, it can be an uphill battle. I remember hearing Brian Tracy say, “Ask yourself what you would do if you got a million dollars tax free, and didn’t have to work unless you wanted to. Most of the time, the answer you get is what you are here to do. That is your inherent purpose.”
When I was in high school, I used to spend the lion’s share of my time on my computer, programming. I used to love programming. I still do, I’ve just not yet gotten back into it to the level I was before. My language of choice in the early 1990’s was QBasic. Before that was TRS-80 Color Basic, TRS-80 Extended Color Basic, GW-Basic and BasicA. I guess I had a thing for the basics 🙂
I’m telling you about my programming because it was so cool then. It still is cool. I would sit for hours in my room working on my projects. I would code, run, check, code again…over and over, until my programs did what I wanted them to. Hours would pass and I would totally lose track of time. When I would glance up at the clock, I’d wonder what happened to all that time.
The programming project I was most proud of was when I made a tic-tac-toe program. 2 People could play, 1 person could play against the computer. At first, the computer would just randomly play a square. It would never be able to win, and I got bored with that.
So, being ever-curious, I began to wonder what it would take to make the computer be able to learn from the moves that led to it being defeated. So, I added in a subroutine that, when the computer was defeated, simply stored a snapshot of the game into a 9-dimensional array. It seemed to take forever for it to learn though, as it actually had to experience defeat to learn from it. So, yet again, I added another cool feature. I made it so that when I selected ‘0’ for the number of players, I was replaced with a function that would randomly play a square. This sped up the computer’s “learning” process. It was way cool! It ended up looking like the part at the end of the 1984 movie “Wargames” when the computer was going through all the tic-tac-toe scenarios. I programmed it to save it’s new “knowledge base” to the disk for future reference.
Then I reloaded the program, started playing. And, alas, I was NEVER able to win the game! The only problem was that te search routine the computer used to check past experiences was not very efficient, and occasionally, the computer would take 45 MINUTES to make a move!
I’m writing about this because I am passionate about what i was doing at the time. I love programming, for the problem-solving challenges it provides. I also love the solitude of it. I can be a solitary person at times.
So I’d like to talk about the “symptoms” of being passionate about something. Whether that something is sales, reading, sports or whatever doesn’t matter. Here is a non-inclusive of the symptoms:
- Loss of time ( “Where did all that time go?” )
- Single-minded focus, no matter what obstacles come up
- A heightened sense of curiosity, always learning (I am learning a lot about PHP just by making this website!!!)
- You get very talkative when telling other people about what you’re doing (like the tic-tac-toe thing)
That’s what I can think of from the top of my head…If you think of any more, comment and tell us.
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