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PART 3: YOUR PASSION FOR DESIGN: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

Posted by learntobead on September 12, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

How Is Your Passion For Design Developed?

I continued working in the health care field, teaching graduate school, doing consulting, government health policy planning, and, my last professional job, directing a nonprofit membership organization of primary health care centers. Working in health care had become such a hollow experience for me, that I jumped off the corporate ladder when I was 36 years old. With a partner, we opened up a retail operation, in Nashville, Tennessee, where we sold finished jewelry, most of it custom made, as well as selling all the parts for other people interested in making jewelry themselves.

My partner was the creative one, and the design aspects of the business were organized around her work. I was the business person. I made some jewelry to sell, but my motivation was purely monetary. No passion yet.

During the first few years, it was painfully obvious that my jewelry construction techniques were poor, at best. The jewelry I made broke too easily. This bothered me. I was determined to figure out how to do it better.

This was pre-internet. There were no established jewelry making magazines at that time. In Nashville, there was a very small jewelry / beading craft community. No experience, no support. So I did a lot of trial-and-error. Lots of experimentation.

In these early years in our retail jewelry business, two critical things happened which started steering me in the direction of pursuing my jewelry design passion.

First, our store was located in a tourist area near the downtown convention center. Many people attending conventions lived in areas, especially California, where there were major jewelry making and beading communities. They shopped in our store, and from watching their shopping behaviors, seeing what they liked and did not like, and talking with them, I learned many insights about where to direct my energies.

Second, I began taking in jewelry repairs. It became almost like an apprenticeship. I got to see what design choices other jewelry makers made, and I looked for patterns. I got to see where things broke, and I looked for patterns. I spoke with the customers to get a sense of what happened when the jewelry broke, and I looked for patterns. I put into effect my developing insights about jewelry construction and materials selection when doing repairs, and I looked for patterns.

No passion yet, but I took one more big step. And passion was beginning to show itself on the horizon.

I was developing all this knowledge and experience about design theory and applications. Suddenly, I wanted to share this. I wanted to teach. But I wanted to have some high level of coherency underlying my curriculum. My budding passion for design saw design as a profession, not a hobby. I did not want to teach a step-by-step, paint-by-number class. I wanted to teach a way of thinking through design. I wanted my students to develop a literacy and fluency in design.

I inadvertently cultivated my passion for design over time. I did not really follow one. It was a journey. My passion for the idea of design did not necessarily match a particular job. I coordinated it with the job I had been doing. And over time, my job and my passion became more and more intertwined and coherent. For me, it was a long process. I honed my abilities. I leveraged them to create value — personal satisfaction and some monetary remuneration. My passion became my lifestyle. My lifestyle resonated with me.

Passion involves deep introspection. It requires you to be metacognitive — always aware of the things underlying your choices. It requires talking with people and testing out how different ideas or activities resonate with you. What do you care about? What changes in the world do you want to make? What is driving you? What if this or that? Are you willing to give up something else for this? Would people respect me if…?

During this journey, you will systematically test your assumptions about what you think your personal sense of purpose should be. For the most part, there may not be a single answer or one that will last forever. But you reach progressive levels of clarity which give you a sense of direction and fulfillment.

As a designer, it is more important to focus on personal connections represented in your passion, rather than on creating some material thing. You can steer your job to spend more time exploring the tasks you are passionate about and the people you like to share your passion with. Look for inspirations. Reflect on what you care about. It is a good idea to know yourself as a designer and why you are enthusiastic about it. Self-discipline and management go hand-in-hand with passion so that you maintain perspective and continue to create designs. You won’t necessarily love everything you do, but your passion will keep you motivated to do it.

It’s a cycle of self-discovery. But don’t sit around waiting for the cycle to show up and start rotating. Keep trying new things. Exploring. Taking charge of your life. Revisiting things which interested you when you were younger. Thinking about things you never tire of doing. Thinking about things you do well. Recognizing things you like learning about.

What If You Have A Passion For Something, 
But You Don’t Do Anything About It?

What if you have a passion for something, but you don’t do anything about it? There could be several reasons for this.

  • You have a good job, make good money, but are not passionate about it
  • You have time constraints
  • You are afraid of change or the unknown and unfamiliar
  • Your family and social network are not supportive
  • You tried something similar before, and were not successful
  • You dislike the people you work with or play with
  • The skills integral to your passion are not in demand or favor; they don’t make you marketable, or sufficiently marketable to earn a living wage
  • You cannot support yourself during the extended timeframe it would take to develop your skills

But, I think, one of the major reasons people do not cultivate their passion is that they do not understand it. It is not a pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow. It won’t necessarily satisfy all your needs. It is a sensation without clear boundaries. It is best expressed among an audience that already is sensitive to and aware of your passion and how it fits with their own needs and desires. It is best expressed in a context in which it is respected.

Developing your passion takes work and commitment. Mastery of design does not spring from discovered passions. Instead, passion provides the motivation for you to learn and grow within the design profession. Initially, you might be pretty bad at professional tasks. They need to be learned and applied, then applied again. Eventually your mastery earns you some satisfaction, autonomy and respect.

What Are The Characteristics of a Passionate Designer?

A prominent country music star and her six-person entourage entered my store. They had heard about our jewelry design work, and were eager to see what we could make for the singer.

She had some specifics in mind. A necklace. It had to be all black. She wanted crosses all around it. Each cross had to be different. Each cross had to be black.

We accepted the challenge.

We began laying out some different ideas and options on the work table. The singer said No! to each idea. The entourage chimed in like a Greek chorus. (Admittedly a little weird and unnerving.) We weren’t really getting anywhere, so we set another meeting date. We would put together more options, and get their opinions. Agreed.

The color of black was easily accomplished. We could string black beads or use black chain or black cord. It would be a challenge to find or design a lot of black crosses, but not impossible.

We put in a lot of hours gathering materials and developing some more prototype options.

The second meeting was no more fruitful than the first. The artist and her entourage could offer no additional insights about what they wanted. Our mock-ups were unacceptable.

We ended the meeting.

We were not, however, going to throw in the towel.

In fact, we were intrigued by the puzzling puzzle put before us.

We decided we needed more information about why this country music artist wanted this necklace, what outfit and styling she would wear it with, and why an assortment of differing black crosses was important to her.

We put on our anthropology, psychology and sociology hats and played Sherlock Holmes. We approached members of her entourage individually. Her entourage was made up of her stylists. We were able to fill in a lot of the blanks by talking with them. She was going to wear this piece on the road, performing in several concert venues. We got into some discussions about her religion, more specifically, how she practiced it. The best way to describe this was a pagan-influenced Christianity. We had enough information to go by. This was particularly important in picking out crosses, and arranging them around the necklace.

They loved our prototype, and we only had to do a little tweaking.

You know you are passionate when you…

1. Start your days early

2. Passions consume your thoughts all the time

3. Get more excited about things

4. Get more emotional, frustrated and even angry about things

5. Take more risks

6. Devote more of your time and other resources to your work — working harder, practicing more, spending more time developing your skills

7. Are eager to share what you are working on

8. Fight within yourself as well as with others (friends, family, clients) about managing the balance between work and everything else

9. Are optimistic about the future

10. Surround yourself with their work

11. More easily accept (and get past) failures and consequences

12. Do not easily give in to criticism or skepticism.

13. Have focus and plan things out more

14. Inspire others

15. Radiate your passions

Three Types Of Passions For Design

There are three types of passions designers might cultivate:

(1) The Passion To Do Or Make Something
 (2) The Passion For Beauty and Appeal
 (3) The Passion For Coherency

(1) The Passion To Do Or Make Something

The designer’s passion is focused on an activity. They believe it is possible to make something out of nothing. Designers do, see, touch, compose, arrange, construct, manipulate. This passion is very hands-on and mechanical. Its drive is orderly, methodical, systematic, and directional.

(2) The Passion For Beauty and Appeal

The designer’s passion is focused on beauty and appeal. They believe it is possible to do whatever it takes to create or develop something of beauty. Designers select, feel, sense, compose, arrange, construct, manipulate. This passion is very emotional and feeling. Its drive follows the senses, the intuitive, the inspiration with an eye always on the ultimate outcome — beauty and appeal.

(3) The Passion For Coherence

The designer’s passion is focused on resolving tensions, typically between the need for beauty concurrently with the need for functionality. They believe it is possible to resolve these tensions. Designers think, analyze, reflect, organize, present, resolve, solve. This passion is very intellectual. Its drive is meaning, content, sense-making, conflict resolution and balance.

Whatever type of passion you see yourself as pursuing, it is passion nonetheless which motivates your creativity and sustains your attention long enough to get something done for someone else and fulfill their desires.

How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

Not every professional designer is passionate about what they do. Nor do they have to be in order to do a good job and make money.

Passions do not solve your problems at work — the stresses, the difficult interpersonal relationships, the need to find people to pay you for what you do. They guide you to better resolve them.

Passions make the work extra special. The work becomes less a job, and more a process of continual growth and self-actualization. Passions help you more easily clarify the ambiguous and unfamiliar. They help you more readily overcome obstacles. They assist you in finding that sweet spot between fulfilling your needs and intents, and meeting those of others who work with you, pay you for what you do, critique, evaluate and recommend you.

Having a passion for something does not equate to having a professional career. Careers don’t necessarily happen because you have a passion for them. But it is great to have your career and passion co-align. You have to build upon your passion, implement it, fine-tune it, and manage it over time.

The secret for successfully bringing all this together — your desires, the tasks you want to do and those you are required to do, the various audiences whose acceptance in some way is necessary for what you must accomplish — is how you manage your passions.

Good passion management results in…

· More work getting done and more engagement with that work

· More work satisfaction and intrinsic rewards

· More self-actualization and development professionally

· Higher levels of creativity

· More trust in colleagues and clients

· More likely to feel purposeful and connected

· More capability in putting your imprint (your artist’s hand) on your work to the point your work is meaningful and acceptable to others

· More fix-it strategies to store in your designer tool box, allowing you to be more adaptable to new or difficult situations

Just like with all good things, too much can be damaging.

Bad passion management could result in…

· Becoming a workaholic

· Having others exploit your willingness to work, do the hard stuff, take on unnecessary challenges and strive for success

· Losing a good balance between work life and personal life

· Suffering burn-out

· Becoming too over-confident, less likely to seek feedback, less likely to collaborate, less likely to seek clarification

· Becoming irritable, stressed, rigid, unwilling to compromise

Again, your passion must be managed. You want balance. You want to set aside times for self-reflection and self care.

Don’t wait to follow your passion. Define and develop it within the context of your professional design career.

While it is not necessary to have found your passion in order to be a good and successful designer, developing your passion for design can be very beneficial and worth the effort. With passion comes greater satisfaction, self-affirmation, creativity and motivation. With passion comes a greater ability to gain acceptance from clients about what your designs mean and can do for them. People are not born with passions. They find them, often in a round-about, circuitous way over a period of time. Once found, they need to be developed, cultivated and managed. And you don’t want to get overwhelmed by your passions to the detriment of balance in your personal and work lives.

Continue with…
PART 1: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?
PART 2: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?
PART 3: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

_________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Chen, Robert. “The Real Meaning of Passion,” Embrace Possibility, March, 2015.
 As referenced: https://www.embracepossibility.com/blog/real-meaning-passion/

Financial Mechanic. “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice,” Published: 05 July 
 2019 — Updated: 23 February 2020
 As referenced:
https://www.getrichslowly.org/follow-your-passion-is-bad-advice/#:~:text=They%20found%20that%20people%20who,interest%20if%20it%20becomes%20difficult.

Fisher, Christian. “How To Define Your Passion In Life,” Chron (Houston 
 Chronicle), n.d.
 As referenced: https://work.chron.com/define-passion-life-10132.html

Hill, Maria. “Are Passion and Creativity The Same Thing?” Sensitive Evolution, 
 11/11/2019.
 As referenced: https://sensitiveevolution.com/passion-and-creativity/

Hudson, Paul. “10 Things That Truly Passionate People Do Differently,” Elite Daily, 
 April 9, 2014.
 As referenced: https://www.elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/10-things-that-truly-passionate-people-do-differently

Jachimowicz, Jon M. “3 Reasons It’s So Hard To ‘Follow Your Pasion’”, Harvard 
 Business Review, October 15, 2019
 As referenced: https://hbr.org/2019/10/3-reasons-its-so-hard-to-follow-your-passion

Koloc, Nathanial. “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Pretty Bad Advice,” Hot Jobs On 
 The Muse
 As referenced: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-follow-your-passion-is-pretty-bad-advice

 Millburn, Joshua Fields. “’Follow Your Passion’ Is Crappy Advice,” The 
 Minimalists.
 As referenced: https://www.theminimalists.com/cal/

Pringle, Zorana Ivcevic. “Creativity Runs On Passion,” Psychology Today, 10/2019.
 As referenced: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creativity-the-art-and-science/201910/creativity-runs-passion

Robbins, Kyle. “15 Things Truly Passionate People Do Differently,” Lifehack, 2018.
 As referenced: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-things-truly-passionate-people-differently.html

Thompson, Braden. “What Is Passion and What It Means To Have Passion,” 
 Lifehack, 10/15/2019.
 As referenced: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/what-means-have-passion.html

Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. Passion: An Essay On Personality. NY: The Free 
 Press, 1984.
 Book downloadable: http://www.robertounger.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/passion-an-essay-on-personality.pdf

— — — — — — — — — —

Other related articles of interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

Part 1: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Are Shared Understandings?

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer Need To Know?

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?

Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PART 2: YOUR PASSION FOR DESIGN: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Posted by learntobead on September 12, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

Where Does Your Passion Come From?

It was always just a whispered aside. Something quiet. A glance in one direction, then back so no one would notice. A comment. And the only comment ever said out loud. But hushed. Always and only in that hushed voice. A voice conveying alarm. Embarrassment. Bravery. Humiliation. Horror. Survival. History. Culture.

“She has a number tattooed on her arm. Did you see it?”

And I had. It was difficult to hide. Everyone spoke with so many gestures and drama, whatever the subject, and the sleeves pulled up on their arms.

And not another word was said about it. It — the situation. The larger situation. I never knew their specific experiences. Nor their views. Nor their feelings. Nor their understandings.

They never shared their terror. Or spoke about their anxiety. Or explained what they thought had happened, or how they had managed to survive.

I could not see anything in their faces. Or their eyes. There was nothing different about their skin. Their height. Their weight. The way they walked. Or talked.

There were those in the room who escaped to America during or immediately after the war. There were those in the room who had escaped similar horrors, but many decades earlier, fleeing Poland and Russia and the Middle East. There were their children. And there were their children’s children, I being one of them.

And while I was only 4 or 5 or 6 years old, I remember the collective feeling — even 60 years later — of the hushed voice and the tattooed numbers. I was never privy to any person’s history. I never heard about anyone’s experience. It was inappropriate to talk about it. But that one memory conveyed it all. The full story. I wrote the full story in my mind. And attached all the full emotions.

Passion Starts With Curiosity

It is the little things that come up every so often that imbues a curiosity in you. That makes you want to make sense of the world. Find understanding. Make sense of things where you do not know all the details. Or where things are headed. But you fill in the blanks anyway. And keep asking questions. To clarify. To intensify. To soften. To connect with other stories your curiosity has led you to.

Passion starts with curiosity. But not just curiosity. Passion is sparked by curiosity, but goes further. It creates this emotional energy within you to make meaning out of ambiguity. For passion to continually grow and develop, such derived meaning must be understood within a particular context, and all the people, actually or virtually present, who concurrently interact with that context, and your place in it.

Passion involves insights. Passion is about finding connections. Connections to insights and meanings. Connections to things which are pleasing to you. Connections to things which are contradictory. Connections to thinbgs which are unfamiliar or ambiguous. Connections to others around you. And finding them again. And reconnecting with them again. And again and again.

Passion requires reflection. It demands an awareness of why you make certain choices rather than others. Why particular designs draw your attention, and others do not. Why you are attracted to certain people (or activities), and others not.

Passion affects how you look at things and people. It is dynamic. It is communicative. It affects all your interactions.

Passion is not innate. You are not born with it. It is not set at birth waiting to be discovered. It is something to find and cultivate.

The elemental roots of my passion were present at a very early age. I was very curious. I tried to impose a sensibility on things. While I wanted people around me to like me, that wasn’t really a part of my motivation. I wanted people to understand me as a thinking human being. And I was always that way.

In some respects, this situation when I was around 5 years old has been an example of the root of my passion. My jewelry designs resonate with that hushed, quiet voice. That voice conveys my intent through the subtle choices I make about color and proportion and arrangement and materials and techniques. I usually start each design activity by anticipating how others will come to understand what I hope to achieve. How they might recognize the intent in my designs. How my intent might coordinate with their desires.

My jewelry designs tell stories. They tell my stories. They tell my stories so that other people might connect with them. And understand my passion for design.

Are Passion and Creativity the Same Thing?

As designers, we bring our creative assets to every situation. But we must not confuse these with the passion within us. Passion and creativity are not the same thing. We do not need passion to be creative. Nor do we need passion to be motivated to create something.

Passion is the love of design. Creating is making an object or structuring a project.

Passion is the love of jewelry. Creating is making a necklace.

Passion is the love of color. Creating is using a color scheme within a project.

Passion is the love of fashion. Creating is making a dress.

After college, I had some great jobs. Lots of creativity. Not much passion.

I was a college administrator for a year. I was hired to organize the student orientation program. As new students arrived at the university in the fall, I created social activities, like dances and mixers and discussions. I arranged for greet and meets in each of the dorms. I worked with each club to generate their first meetings and some of the marketing materials. I set up religious orientations and services for Jewish, Christian and Islamic students. I set up orientations for women’s affinity groups, black groups, latino groups, and many others. I wrote, photographed and published an orientation handbook and a new faces book. I even planned the food services menus for the first week. I did a lot. I loved it. It was very creative.

But not my passion.

I also had an opportunity to become the Assistant Editor of the American Anthropologist for a year. The regular Assistant wanted to go on a sabbatical. The Editor knew me and asked if I wanted to do her job for a year. I edited and saw to the publication of 2 ½ issues. I worked with anthropologists all over the world in helping them translate their work into publishable articles. I loved this job too. I did a lot. It was very creative.

But not my passion.

I decided to pursue a degree in City and Regional Planning. I was getting an inkling that I liked things associated with the word “design.” I liked the idea of designing cities and neighborhoods and community developments. I was intrigued with transportation systems and building systems and urban development.

I was about to enter graduate training in City Planning, which meant moving from where I lived, but a family crisis came up. Physical planning — buildings, cities, roads, neighborhoods — had captured my interest. But I resigned myself, in order to accommodate family needs, to attend a graduate program close to home which emphasized social and health planning, instead.

I got a job as a city health planner, and worked for a private revitalization agency. I assisted in getting government approval for a rehabilitation center. I developed a local maternal-child health system. I organized a health fair. I loved this job. I did a lot. It was very creative.

But not my passion.

As I have come to believe over many careers and many years, the better designer needs both passion and creativity. They reinforce each other. They accentuate. When both are appropriately harnessed, the joys and stresses of passion fuel creativity, innovation and design. Passion inspires. It is insightful. It motivates. Creativity translates that emotional imaging and feeling into a design. Creativity is opportunistic. It transforms things. It generates ideas. It translates inspirations into aspirations into finished projects.

The design process usually takes place over an extended period of time. There can be several humps and bumps. Passion gets us through this. It is that energizing, emotional, motivating resource for creative work. Passion is that strong desire and pressing need to get something done. Passion helps us, almost forces us, in fact, to build our professional identities around that activity we call design.

Passion reveals an insatiability for self discovery and self development. But this sense of self is always contingent upon the acceptance of others. Sounds a lot like the design process and working with clients. You don’t need to be passionate to do design and do it well. You need passion to do design better and more coherently. You need passion to have more impact on yourself and others.

While it is not necessary to have found your passion in order to be a good and successful designer, developing your passion for design can be very beneficial and worth the effort. With passion comes greater satisfaction, self-affirmation, creativity and motivation. With passion comes a greater ability to gain acceptance from clients about what your designs mean and can do for them. People are not born with passions. They find them, often in a round-about, circuitous way over a period of time. Once found, they need to be developed, cultivated and managed. And you don’t want to get overwhelmed by your passions to the detriment of balance in your personal and work lives.

Continue with…
PART 1: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?
PART 2: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?
PART 3: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

_________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Chen, Robert. “The Real Meaning of Passion,” Embrace Possibility, March, 2015.
 As referenced: https://www.embracepossibility.com/blog/real-meaning-passion/

Financial Mechanic. “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice,” Published: 05 July 
 2019 — Updated: 23 February 2020
 As referenced:
https://www.getrichslowly.org/follow-your-passion-is-bad-advice/#:~:text=They%20found%20that%20people%20who,interest%20if%20it%20becomes%20difficult.

Fisher, Christian. “How To Define Your Passion In Life,” Chron (Houston 
 Chronicle), n.d.
 As referenced: https://work.chron.com/define-passion-life-10132.html

Hill, Maria. “Are Passion and Creativity The Same Thing?” Sensitive Evolution, 
 11/11/2019.
 As referenced: https://sensitiveevolution.com/passion-and-creativity/

Hudson, Paul. “10 Things That Truly Passionate People Do Differently,” Elite Daily, 
 April 9, 2014.
 As referenced: https://www.elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/10-things-that-truly-passionate-people-do-differently

Jachimowicz, Jon M. “3 Reasons It’s So Hard To ‘Follow Your Pasion’”, Harvard 
 Business Review, October 15, 2019
 As referenced: https://hbr.org/2019/10/3-reasons-its-so-hard-to-follow-your-passion

Koloc, Nathanial. “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Pretty Bad Advice,” Hot Jobs On 
 The Muse
 As referenced: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-follow-your-passion-is-pretty-bad-advice
 
 Millburn, Joshua Fields. “’Follow Your Passion’ Is Crappy Advice,” The 
 Minimalists.
 As referenced: https://www.theminimalists.com/cal/

Pringle, Zorana Ivcevic. “Creativity Runs On Passion,” Psychology Today, 10/2019.
 As referenced: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creativity-the-art-and-science/201910/creativity-runs-passion

Robbins, Kyle. “15 Things Truly Passionate People Do Differently,” Lifehack, 2018.
 As referenced: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-things-truly-passionate-people-differently.html

Thompson, Braden. “What Is Passion and What It Means To Have Passion,” 
 Lifehack, 10/15/2019.
 As referenced: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/what-means-have-passion.html

Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. Passion: An Essay On Personality. NY: The Free 
 Press, 1984.
 Book downloadable: http://www.robertounger.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/passion-an-essay-on-personality.pdf

— — — — — — — — — —

Other related articles of interest by Warren Feld:

PART 1:THE FIRST ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER
SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:
Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?

GETTING STARTED IN BUSINESS: What You Do First To Make It Official! Design-In Practice Series

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business? Design-In-Practice Series

“Backward-Design” is Forward Thinking: Design-In-Practice Series

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Teaching Disciplinary Literacy: Strategic Learning In Jewelry Design

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PART 1: YOUR PASSION FOR DESIGN: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Posted by learntobead on September 12, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

Can You Really Follow A Passion?

Is it necessary to have a passion?

Sometimes I get so sick and tired of this question. I get perplexed. What does it really mean? What are people really telling me when they say I should follow my passion?

What job or career or avocation should I pursue? Do I have an intense interest in anything? Does anything drive me? Motivate me? Capture my undivided attention? What do I wish I would have done? Or should have done? Or could have done? Is something to do with design the answer? Passion! That word is spoken so often.

Follow your passion! Follow your passion! Follow your passion!

You get told this over and over again so many times that you begin to question whether anyone has ever really been successful, or even been substantially motivated, to follow their passions. Especially those people who tell you to do so — surely, they have not actually found their passion. It seems so hard to find. A good goal, but let’s get real. Insurmountable. There are lots of things I like and get very enthusiastic about, but I can’t say I’m passionate about them. And you can’t forget you have to earn a living, whether you are passionate about what you do or not.

You hear and read about finding your passion, so much so, that you feel if you haven’t found yours, something must be wrong with you. And, certainly you think no one else has, either. The pressure, the pressure. Why is it so important to my family and friends and my inner still voice that I be passionate about something?

Their admonitions take different tones, from command, to pleading, to expressing concern and sorrow, to lowering their expectations for you. You see / feel/ know what they are really trying to say to you — sympathy, empathy, pity — by those variations on the memes they throw at you.

You don’t have to make a decision about a career until you find your passion!

Don’t worry, you’ll find something to be passionate about!

Not everyone finds their passion.

You begin to feel like a failure in life for not finding your passion. Or that so-and-so you went to school with found theirs… and you didn’t.

The only way to stave all these folks off is to get a job that makes a lot of money. Pursuing money apparently is seen as a legitimate substitute for following your passion.

And that’s what I did.

For almost 40 years.

I pursued money.

Until I found my passion.

My passion for design.

Specifically, jewelry design.

What Is Passion?

Passion, I have discovered over many years in the design world, is something key to a more fulfilling and successful career.

Passion makes sense for design.

Passion is an emotion.

Passion provides the fuel firing you to action.

Almost in spite of yourself.

Passion is often equated with determination, motivation, and conviction — all moving you in a particular direction. But these do not adequately capture what passion is all about. Passion challenges you. It is intriguing. It provides the principle around which you organize your life.

Passion is something more than a strong interest. Passion is a bit more energetic, directional. And when you want to change direction, emotionally, passion makes this very difficult. Passion is simultaneously a response somewhat divorced from any reason, but in the service of reason, as well. Once you have it, passion can be very sticky and hard to shake off.

Passion puts you to work. It helps you overcome those times when you get frustrated. Or bored. Or anxious.

Passion reveals what you are willing to sacrifice other pleasures for.

Passion is what helps you overcome those times when you get frustrated when something isn’t working out exactly as you want, or when you are anxious about your ability to do something, or you get bored with what you are trying to do at the moment.

But passion is somewhat amorphous. Intangible. Not something solid enough or clear enough to grab and grip and get ahold of.

Is it Necessary To Have A Passion For Design?

In high school, I decided that my passion would be archaeology. I read books and articles about Middle East history and settlement patterns. I loved the idea of traveling. I loved history. I selected a college that had an excellent and extensive archaeology program.

That first fall semester, I took two archaeology classes. In one of these classes, week after week for 18 weeks, I sat through the examinations and resultant reports looking at the remains of a small grouping of houses in Iran. I saw the partial remains of some walls. An area the remains of which suggested it was a kitchen. And lots of dust and dirt and not much else.

The archaeological reports were each done by teams from different countries. From the scant evidence, the Russian report found the settlement to be communal and socialist. They based their conclusions on the positioning of the walls, the proximity of the kitchen area to the walls, and the remains mostly consisting of chicken bones. The German report found the settlement to be more democratic but still communal. Their evidence was based on the positioning of the walls, the proximity of the kitchen area to the walls, and the remains mostly consisting of chicken bones. And the American report found the settlement to be an early example of democracy and capitalism. Their evidence — can you guess? — was based on the positioning of the walls, the proximity of the kitchen area to the walls, and the remains mostly consisting of chicken bones.

I made a discovery in myself and about myself that first semester of college. Archaeology was not my passion. I changed majors. But still no passion.

I still yearned to be passionate about something, however. A goal. A Task. An activity. A career. Anything. My search took almost another 20 years.

Not having a passion did not affect my ability to work and do my job. But I felt some distance from it. Some disconnection. Something missing and less satisfying.

While it took me a long time to find my passion, for others it happens very quickly. You never know. In either case, passion is not something that falls down from the sky and hits you on the head. It is something that has to be pursued, developed and cultivated over time.

Pursuing your passion has many advantages. When you are passionate about something, you can more easily accomplish things which are difficult and hard. Your work and job and life feel more fulfilling. You feel you are impacting the world around you.

A passion for design enables you to become the best designer you can be. It builds within you a more stick-to-it-iveness, while you develop yourself as a designer over many years, and learn the intricacies of your trade and profession. Having a passion for design is a necessity if you are to come to an understanding of yourself as a professional practicing a discipline.

Passion gives us purpose. It attaches a feeling to our thoughts, intensifying our emotions. It is transformative. Empowering. Passion allows us to realize a vision within any context we find ourselves.

A passion for design allows us to navigate those tensions between the pursuit of beauty and the pursuit of functionality. It allows us to incorporate the opinions and desires of our clients into our own design work, without sacrificing our identities and integrities as designers. In a sense, it allows our design choices to reaffirm our ideas and concepts, tempering them with the needs, desires, and understandings of our client and the client’s various audiences. It allows us, through our design decisions, to manage the vagaries in any situation and, ultimately, to get the professional recognition we seek. However, most of us — including and especially me — have not known how to pursue our passions. And we fail to do so.

Not only should we have to pursue a passion for meaningful work, but we must incorporate our passion into our everyday lives. Passion is not just about ourselves. Passion affects our friends and families and work mates. They suffer or benefit (or both) from our driven selves. Passion affects how we utilize our time. It affects how we see the world, define problems and anticipate solutions.

Passion can be a bitch, and it must be managed. Otherwise, without some ongoing management and a bit of reflection and skepticism, passion can have the opposite effect from what we desire in life. Poorly managed and integrated into our lives, passion can lead to less happiness, less satisfaction, less contentment and less personal growth. In spite of all this, having passion for what you do will result in many more positives than negatives in your design work.

Pursing our passion requires that we bring on our journey these four understandings:

(1) Passion is not innate to the individual. Passion must be developed.

(2) It is not easy to take this journey to find your passion, especially as it gets drawn out over a long period of time.

(3) Passion makes it easier to mediate and sustain our pathways through our interactions at work and through life.

(4) Passion can lead us astray, blinding us to its limits.

While it is not necessary to have found your passion in order to be a good and successful designer, developing your passion for design can be very beneficial and worth the effort. With passion comes greater satisfaction, self-affirmation, creativity and motivation. With passion comes a greater ability to gain acceptance from clients about what your designs mean and can do for them. People are not born with passions. They find them, often in a round-about, circuitous way over a period of time. Once found, they need to be developed, cultivated and managed. And you don’t want to get overwhelmed by your passions to the detriment of balance in your personal and work lives.

Continue with…
PART 1: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?
PART 2: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?
PART 3: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

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FOOTNOTES

Chen, Robert. “The Real Meaning of Passion,” Embrace Possibility, March, 2015.
 As referenced: https://www.embracepossibility.com/blog/real-meaning-passion/

Financial Mechanic. “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice,” Published: 05 July 
 2019 — Updated: 23 February 2020
 As referenced:
https://www.getrichslowly.org/follow-your-passion-is-bad-advice/#:~:text=They%20found%20that%20people%20who,interest%20if%20it%20becomes%20difficult.

Fisher, Christian. “How To Define Your Passion In Life,” Chron (Houston 
 Chronicle), n.d.
 As referenced: https://work.chron.com/define-passion-life-10132.html

Hill, Maria. “Are Passion and Creativity The Same Thing?” Sensitive Evolution, 
 11/11/2019.
 As referenced: https://sensitiveevolution.com/passion-and-creativity/

Hudson, Paul. “10 Things That Truly Passionate People Do Differently,” Elite Daily, 
 April 9, 2014.
 As referenced: https://www.elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/10-things-that-truly-passionate-people-do-differently

Jachimowicz, Jon M. “3 Reasons It’s So Hard To ‘Follow Your Pasion’”, Harvard 
 Business Review, October 15, 2019
 As referenced: https://hbr.org/2019/10/3-reasons-its-so-hard-to-follow-your-passion

Koloc, Nathanial. “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Pretty Bad Advice,” Hot Jobs On 
 The Muse
 As referenced: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-follow-your-passion-is-pretty-bad-advice
 
 Millburn, Joshua Fields. “’Follow Your Passion’ Is Crappy Advice,” The 
 Minimalists.
 As referenced: https://www.theminimalists.com/cal/

Pringle, Zorana Ivcevic. “Creativity Runs On Passion,” Psychology Today, 10/2019.
 As referenced: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creativity-the-art-and-science/201910/creativity-runs-passion

Robbins, Kyle. “15 Things Truly Passionate People Do Differently,” Lifehack, 2018.
 As referenced: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-things-truly-passionate-people-differently.html

Thompson, Braden. “What Is Passion and What It Means To Have Passion,” 
 Lifehack, 10/15/2019.
 As referenced: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/what-means-have-passion.html

Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. Passion: An Essay On Personality. NY: The Free 
 Press, 1984.
 Book downloadable: http://www.robertounger.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/passion-an-essay-on-personality.pdf

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Other related articles of interest by Warren Feld:

PART 1:THE FIRST ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER
SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:
Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?

GETTING STARTED IN BUSINESS: What You Do First To Make It Official! Design-In Practice Series

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business? Design-In-Practice Series

“Backward-Design” is Forward Thinking: Design-In-Practice Series

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Teaching Disciplinary Literacy: Strategic Learning In Jewelry Design

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I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

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