#53: How can you tell someone is passionate?

Shayan Kashani
2 min readDec 23, 2020

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passion |ˈpaʃ(ə)n | noun

  • strong and barely controllable emotion
  • a state or outburst of strong emotion
  • an intense desire or enthusiasm for something
  • a thing arousing great enthusiasm

Make no mistake about it, passion is rare. One of the questions my students often have the most difficulty answering is: what is your biggest passion?

I invite the reader to contemplate this about themselves. It’s not as easy as you think.

An erroneous thing to consider when trying to determine if someone is passionate about something is focusing on what they do — for work, for fun — and although this is not an altogether terrible place to look, it may be difficult to accurately determine a person’s passion on the basis of their actions.

This is because we do a lot of things — and I mean a lot — just because. Because we “like it”. Because it’s fun, or necessary, or it’s always been that way, or simply because it’s what others do. We take a lot of action (which over time becomes habit) without really knowing why, without being fully conscious, without flow.

It’s completely normal. Happens to us all. Life gets tricky. Obstacles are met. Decisions are made. Habits are formed. And so it goes.

A better place to look, a better metric of telling when someone is passionate about something, is in focusing on what they talk about. That’s where the good stuff is, where the real passions show themselves, in conversation.

You don’t have to be a professional dancer, or have participated in recitals, or currently be enrolled in a class, or even go out dancing every weekend, in order to cultivate a passion for dance. Of course, it makes sense to do those things if dancing is your thing, but it’s not requisite. In fact, you can still do all those things and be internally dispassionate about dancing; or, at the very least, impassive.

But when you can’t stop talking about dancing — or baseball, or physics, or video games, or cooking, or chess — then that’s when you know you’re passionate about something. That’s where passion shows up.

The next time you meet someone who talks a lot about the same thing, you can be sure that that person thinks about it ten times more than they’re even talking.

And that’s how you know.

#thegravitasproject

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Shayan Kashani

Writer — Philosopher — Teacher — Runner — Reader — Nomad.