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Waiting for Passion
Mom with a View

Waiting for Passion

There are so many good causes. Pick one and throw yourself into it.


You know you’re old when expressions like “Follow your bliss” make you cringe. But I don’t think that’s the only reason I am put off by the notion. Even if it’s replaced by the slightly more sober phrase to pursue your passion, I find it disturbing. I’ve seen too many people waste too much time because they haven’t found that perfect cause that ignites their inner spark of excitement. I’ve watched as they do nothing instead.

With all the need in the world, it’s painful when energy or resources are wasted or never even engaged at all.

So I have a different motto, “Just do it.” (Oops, I think that’s already taken.) But you get the idea. There are so many good causes – the list is just about endless – just pick one and throw yourself into it. You might be surprised to discover that the passion comes later.

As we see in almost every context imaginable, the Torah’s idea that ‘when you give you care’ rings true. If you donate money or time to an organization, that institution and the recipients of its efforts become important to you. Their welfare becomes a priority. Your commitment to them will deepen and grow.

As a by-product, you will develop a deeper sense of self-worth. Sounds like a win-win to me. Much better than waiting for that perfect moment of bliss or for the light bulb to go on.

In commencement speeches through the country this bad bliss-related advice is regularly dispensed. Graduates are urged to pursue their passions as opposed to finding something worthwhile and then throwing themselves passionately into it.

Emotions can flame out but steady work and diligence bears fruit – both externally and internally. Long-term commitments are the mark of adulthood as opposed to a summer résumé-building volunteer experience.

Bliss is not a goal. Passion is not a goal. But if you involve yourself body and soul in helping others – because there is a need, because you care, because you want to give, I promise you that bliss and passion will follow. It is really the only way to achieve them. Does any university want me to address this year’s graduates?

June 11, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 7

(6) Jong, June 18, 2011 12:12 AM

How true.!

What an insight. I think your idea should be wide spread. So many people are living with the delusion of "follow your bliss", wasting their time to search as you rightly put and end up in nothing. This is a tragedy. Maybe we are so attracted to "bliss" for the excuse of wasting time. Yetzer Hara's working behind...

(5) Chana Batya, June 16, 2011 3:19 AM


You are so right. I never thought of it this way and I am so happy you shared this wonderful insight. Thank you.

(4) miriam, June 15, 2011 5:20 PM

you make a great point!

and an original one

(3) Moshe Zvi, June 15, 2011 8:10 AM

"I am a Citizen's for Boysenberry Jam fan"

I always have loved a line in a song by Simon and Garfunkle as being the opposite of what I should do. It is "I'm a 'Citizens for Boysenberry Jam' fan". The person's commitment is to Boysenberry jam but he can't even work for that group-- he is a fan of the group! I can't tell you right now the name of the song but I always considered it an amazing line on the lack of commitment of people.

Anonymous, June 15, 2011 7:36 PM

name of the song

"punky's dilemma"

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