Passion most important for success


Graphic courtesy North Michigan University.

The year is 2011. A bright eyed college student walks onto the campus of NDSU for the first time full of hopes and dreams of becoming a big time movie star. With an eager gleam in his eye and a spring in his step, he decides to change his major within his first semester of college.

Maybe I should back up. For those with a sharp enough mind to spot the subtle implication, that college student was me in my first semester at NDSU (before I ‘saw the light’ and transferred to UND).

In high school I took a lot of acting and other performing arts classes. I was never into sports, the arts tended to draw my interest more. I was also in a summer musical and greatly enjoyed every minute of it.

It seemed like a no-brainer to be a theater major. After all, I loved the theater, at least more than some. I wasn’t really a fan of any important sounding business things that involved copious amounts of math like accounting. I also was pretentious enough to use words like copious in everyday speech.

Why did I not only change my mind, but change my mind so quickly?

It is no secret that NDSU does not have the best theater department. I’m not saying this as a jibe, it’s a simple statement of fact. My initial tour of the theater department consisted of those who were in charge of the department basically saying, “This is what we would have here if we had any money.”

I picked it because it was nearby, I had a scholarship and I’d been previously involved with various performing arts programs at NDSU.

Though the low production value did help strip away some of the shiny attractiveness of a theater major, that wasn’t the reason I changed my major.

I’ve always been extremely passionate about things I enjoy doing. That might sound obvious, but I was coming from being involved in a musical with some of my best friends and I was very excited.

Over time, I realized what I really loved was performing and not theater.

It was difficult, but I discovered that the two were actually separate things, which could occasionally intersect, but were not precisely the same thing.

Performing implied entertaining, which is what I love doing, but theater is more thought of as art. Many people don’t view theater as merely something to entertain people, but instead an art form that makes a statement.

As artsy as I was, that just wasn’t something I could be passionate about. I love entertaining people  whether it’s writing, singing or even just making them laugh.

I don’t look down on those who are able to take theater so seriously they elevate it above entertainment into an art form. I simply have a different perspective on it, and this was something I quickly realized during my semester as a theater major.

Why do I think that it is so important to be passionate about what you do? Because it is only when you are passionate about what you do, that you put in effort and can truly succeed.

I wasn’t as passionate about making an artistic statement through performance as I was about entertaining people, so I wasn’t as good at it.

Eventually, I changed my major to undecided and took general education requirements until I figured out what I wanted to do. To be completely honest I still don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I do have much more clearly defined and realistic goals.

Not to say that becoming famous is an unrealistic goal; however, it is not advisable to plan exclusively for that outcome.

Passion is the most important skill you can have in any one profession no matter what it is.

If you are passionate about science, passionate about sports, passionate about flying, whatever it is that you love doing you will go from simply being good at what you do, to being great at what you do.

Mike Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].