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Recently, I’ve started reading comic books. I got interested in comic books because I watched the AMC TV series Comic Book Men. CBM is a one-hour unscripted television series set inside Kevin Smith‘s comic book shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey.

What hooked me about the show was how enthusiastic and passionate everyone is about comic books.

When you come across someone who has real passion for something it transforms how you look at that thing. It rewrites your low-level understanding of it from something that exists (but you don’t particularly know or care that it exists) into something that has depth, nuance, variety and life all of its own. Everything is more alive when you find someone whose passion and knowledge brings it to life before your eyes. Someone who can convey that passion to you through the tone of their voice, the look in their eyes and the breathless catch in their throat.

You come across that kind of passion and you think ‘wow – i wanna try this thing out myself’. Because if it can generate that kind of passion, that kind of enthusiasm, then there is something amazing about this thing. It becomes about learning to see what the enthusiast sees.

After CBM, that’s how I felt about comics.

So I started reading comics. I loved Bone and so has almost every person that I’ve given Bone to read. Beyond that though, I don’t get that kind of excitement from the other books I’ve been reading. I’ve been reading. It turned out that comics aren’t really my thing after all. Without the passion of CBM to sustain the forward momentum it hasn’t been able to catch fire all on its on.

And that’s okay. It would be crazy unrealistic to imagine that every time you came across someone else’s passion that it would ignite the same fire in you. The world is full of passionate people, and their passions are not going to transfer in every instance to you. You couldn’t have a world like that because the diversity and the difference that allows interesting things to happen wouldn’t exist in the first place.

What struck me is how important it is to let your passion show when you talk about whatever that special thing is for you. I find a lot of people are apologetic or even ashamed of their passions – as if they know somehow that they shouldn’t be so passionate about something as an adult.

This is a mistake. It’s not a mistake to be passionate. What people do instead, is to drone on excessively, boringly, uninterestingly, about something that they are passionate about but conceal the passion. They talk too much and show too little.

We should try doing the opposite. To be open, at the right times and places, to express our passion. To not be defensive, not be apologetic, not be ashamed of the driving force that this passion gives us. To not be measured, to not keep a sense of perspective, to not be analytical about it.

I would never have tried comics without the passion of CBM. I won’t become serious about comics, but I will definitely keep it a part of my routine. I’m going to read and occasionally buy comics. Their passion changed my perception permanently about the thing they’re passionate about.

The truth is that most people, even if they don’t care a whit about the things we’re passionate about, will be interested in our passion. They will be curious about what drives such attachment. About the compulsion that ties you to this particular item. About what you’ve experienced and how you’ve experienced it. That’s what makes passion, what makes passion so interesting, and ultimately what makes it possible for anyone to find their passion.

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2 Comments

    • James Lewis
    • Posted April 20, 2012 at 12:01 am
    • Permalink

    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – John Eldridge

      • mtalib
      • Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:23 am
      • Permalink

      Spot on James. Spot on!


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