Over the holiday I read through a long list of social media and marketing books to catch up, sharpen the proverbial saw, be on my game, yadda yadda. Overall the books have been good and center on the same core themes of being honest and transparent, embracing social media, going with hub-and-spoke publishing (mostly from a blog), and generating good, fresh, useful content. Today I skimmed Gary Vaynerchuk's "Crush It!" and was somewhat amazed that the small volume contains pretty much all the hype, horrible philosophy, and empty logic I've come to detest over the years. Wake up every day and leap out of bed and into your clothes and work work work because you love it SO much! Don't love it? Something is wrong with you. Monetize all of your interactions! Need something to drink mom? That will cost you a quarter. You too can make a billion dollars! And it is easier if your dad hands over the family liquor store business as a starting point.
The thing is this -- "passion" exists in a thousand forms, and the measures of success are often not money, followers, power, prestige, and on down the line. We are not all sellers of the Sham-Wow. In fact, were it to be the case that all of business was a big infomercial with loud, hyper-passionate people, exploding heads would surely become a reality.
I suppose this post is for me and anyone who views struggle as more real and more valuable than passion. Passion is analogous to the brief stops on the mountain peaks as you make your way up and down, up and down, over and over again. For some reason all of this makes me think of the Thoreau quote, when he is talking about finding God and realizing that you only catch him in glimpses, and usually not where you are looking:
''Let God alone if need be. Methinks, if I loved him more, I should keep him—I should keep myself rather—at a more respectful distance. It is not when I am going to meet him, but when I am just turning away and leaving him alone, that I discover that God is. I say, God. I am not sure that that is the name. You will know whom I mean.''
Passion is right there with happiness in the category of things that are by-products and not the primary thing for which you search. I got to Page 9 in Vaynerchuk's book and was utterly turned off by the comment "skills are cheap, passion is priceless." Oh how simplistic and silly. Skills and passion go together, and most of the time skill building is a long, arduous process with plenty of moments that aren't whiz-bang fun. Give me someone with solid skills anytime on a plane or at a cocktail party, because conversation is bound to be far more interesting than talking about how to make a billion dollars or how to monetize mowing my lawn. I get all of that nonsense from SkyMall.