Friday, July 29, 2011

Your Passion Project and the World

First off, what is a Passion Project?

Simply put, it is an undertaking, venture or endeavor that is very personal to you in the sense that it springs from, or honors your passion. It is a personal project, meaning that you yourself jump-started it, but it could also be a task, work, or responsibility given to you or which you volunteered for or maybe just landed on your lap, but which so happens to be aligned with your passion.
A 'passion' is, of course, something that fires your belly, something that inspires you, moves you, excites you - like a cause, or a hobby, or an inclination. And you may get into it for no other reason than to 'scratch an itch', or because 'it is who you are', because 'it comes naturally' like a talent, and also maybe because, like Mt. Everest, 'it is there.'
Here are some examples of people admired for having pursued their passion projects, and for that reason, became very successful. Steve Wozniak who, along with Steve Jobs, founded Apple Computers, was a passionate engineer. He was a creator. He built the first Apple computer by himself, while it took his buddy Steve Jobs' marketing instincts to turn it into something people will want to buy. Both of them, the two Steves, combined their strengths and passions to build what Apple Computers is today. It was their Passion Project.

Read The Pixar Touch, and you'll be awed at, and have a tremendous sense of respect for the brains behind Pixar. They were Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, and yes, Steve Jobs too. But Steve Jobs came later; he was part of the Pixar triumvirate because he believed in the project enough to have funded it in the beginning. But Pixar was truly and originally the passion projects of Ed Carmull (a brilliant computer scientist) and John Lasseter (a prolific animator and master story-teller). Both had a passion for animation and a grand vision for computer generated (CG) animation. Together, they brought traditional hand-drawn animation into the 21st century by developing the hardware and software necessary to make CG animation possible. The result: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, Cars, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and boy-can't-we-wait-what-they-next-have-instore!

Clockwise (from top left): The Passion Project; Mt. Everest; Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II;
John Lasseter; Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

There are so many people in our history who are so closely associated with their passion projects that it defines who they are and the life they have lived. You know it is their passion project without them saying it (or knowing it) with the hours and years they have devoted to it, with the amazing success and reknown they've had with it.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta we know had devoted a good length of her life to the service of the poorest of the poor. Pope John Paul II had been a tireless and an inspiring head of the Catholic Church. We honor them with veneration, and by putting them on the road to sainthood. There are artists (Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Michael Jackson), world leaders (Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Aung-san Suu-kyi), thinkers (Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin) and many more - names we will always remember for what they have done for us, for the world.

Their greatest gift is showing us the way: that when you make your passions your mission in life - your 'passion project' - you may get famous, you may get rich, you may become ultra-successful. That is a great benefit to you. But what of your benefit to the world?

The world is enriched, blessed, and changed for the better.

Book Recommendations:
The Pixar Touch (Vintage)
Mother Teresa's Secret Fire: The Encounter That Changed Her Life
The Wisdom of John Paul II: The Pope on Life's Most Vital Questions
The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success

1 comment:

  1. Putting the "great benefit to you" (fame, fortune and success)in the equation of a passion project somehow makes it a mundane chore. It maybe a grand one but still just mundane. I think while these people were pursuing their passion projects, the idea itself fired them up. They were not so concerned about fame and fortune. Except probably for steve jobs. He always had one eye on the art while keeping a close watch over the cash register.