There are a lot of people complaining about any number of things in this world—taxes, drones, inequalities, ecological devastation—but until we care enough to do something about them, nothing will change. Least of all the complaining. Obviously, it isn’t insight that’s missing. Or intelligence. Or understanding. Or goodwill. In fact, the only thing that’s missing is the will to change it. Motivation. Some commitment so high, so deep, so clear and so unyielding that we are willing to join with other people to change it.
It’s motivation that stopped the Vietnam War. Motivation brought civil rights and desegregation. Motivation preserved the national forests. Motivation brought art and music to public education.
Watching someone else give their life to single-minded goals, makes the question to the rest of us clear: What puts the wind in our sails in life? What motivates us to change our own little worlds? What do we care enough about to devote our lives to it so that life can then be better for everyone else?
The answer to that question is precisely what underlies the happy, the productive, the effective life. The problem does not lie in the pursuit of a passion; the problem lies in having no passion at all, no reason to get up in the morning, nothing important enough to work on long beyond what the world calls “work time.”
To be truly happy, to live an effective, wholesome life we must step outside of the me, myself and I; live our lives in such a way that when our time is up we leave it better for everyone else. It is important that we make sure we are building our passion on truths and not myths, or falsehoods.