The problem with passion

Making Things Work

Note: This is the second in a series of posts related to the tales in Making Things Work. The posts are new material, not excerpted from the book, and some, such as this one, are written in a (much) drier style. Each will be tied to one or more of the book’s chapters, in this case “Living the Dream” and “Hotel California.”

Passion 2Soda jerk

Most of us think of passion in positive terms–love on steroids, if you will. Regardless of whether your passion is ignited by a lover, a pre-Civil War farmhouse or the prospect of brewing rare varieties of beer in your basement, a zillion books, seminars and websites are available to advise you on following it, and many of them all but promise that doing what you love will translate to loving what you do.

Pursuing your passion is widely understood as a prescription for happiness and…

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1 Response to The problem with passion

  1. Maybe the solution is a compromise. When woodworking as a vocation, people often succumb and become doomed to a life of creating work that is demanded of them. Often, the work becomes repetitive and mind-numbing. As an avocation, the work can instead be unique and exciting with complete artistic license. Deadlines can also be managed when woodworking as a career. The compromise is to discover a niche that fulfills your passion, is motivating, where unique elements are included in each piece. The downside of the compromise is that work is typically created on spec and solely on commission. Seeking clients appreciative of one of a kind, finely crafted work then becomes the challenge. My conclusion is it is possible, the inclusion of passion in woodworking as a vocation. In a book of mine, I describe how I succumbed to woodworking and the creation of multiples and although successful, the monotony was overwhelming. Fast forward a few years with a re-education and resulting catharsis, and I embraced the creation of unique studio furniture. This was the happy medium I discovered that continues to excite me to this day.

    Norman

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