Two Ways to Fuel Your Passion (for Korean)

I had originally considered titling this post “Two Ways to Fuel Your Fire” but thought that “Passion” was a better way to express the burning feeling inside that compels you to action.

Passion often burns much longer and harder than fire (or ardor). Fire can start something (ignite, inspire), but passion keeps it burning (fervor, zeal). And while fire can give you a quick kick of motivation, passion can change the world.

So, how can you fuel your passion? The first way is obvious.

1. Fall In Love

love-salang

When we consider the word passion, “love” is often the first synonym we think of. Anyone who’s ever been in love can attest to the way they feel more driven and motivated to please another person. All our waking thoughts (and even some dreams) are consumed with that special someone. We try to finish work early or extend our weekends just to have a few more minutes with our love.

The same thing can be true for our hobbies or interests. What things drive you? What motivates you? What inspires you to leave work early and stay away as long as possible? What interest consumes your thoughts day and night? What do you “love”?

If you know that feeling, you likely already have a pretty strong passion for something. But if you don’t, how can you inject your desire with a big shot of gasoline to get your bonfire going? Find something about that interest or desire that you can “fall in love” with.

Truth be told, not all desires are inherently lovable – exercising and losing weight certainly isn’t. Neither is language learning. So, when it comes to learning Korean, the key to fueling your passion for the language is to find something about it that you love. For me, that looks like this:

  1. I love Hangul designs (I’m a designer)
  2. I love Korean rock music
  3. I love taking pictures of Hangul in daily use and learning about those
  4. I love reading stories to my 2-year-old in Korean (partly because I can understand those)
  5. I love being able to touch-type in Korean
  6. I love writing journals (blog posts) in Korean and getting corrections on those
  7. I love watching Korean entertainment TV – but I hate watching Korean dramas

Until you can make a list of about 4-5 things that you really love about something, you probably won’t have much passion for it nor any real desire to participate in the life change it might make possible.

2. Get Angry

angrybirds-u-angry

Anger may seem counter-intuitive as it looks like the opposite of love. But in fact, anger is not the opposite of love, just the opposite side of the coin called passion.

Again, anyone who’s ever been in love can probably relate to the anger they’ve experienced either in that relationship, or as a result of that relationship. If your significant other does something stupid, rude, or hurtful toward you or someone/something you care about, you’re likely to feel angry. And, if some outsider does something stupid, rude, or hurtful toward your significant other, you’re likely to feel angry.

Anger is “a strong feeling of antagonism.Hate, on the other hand, is “intense hostility and aversion.” So, while anger causes action, hate creates aversion. So, hate is the opposite of love, but anger is a driving motivation to bring about change.

Consider these questions: What makes you angry? What makes you so angry that you want to change it? What makes you angry because you feel overwhelmed, controlled, or imposed upon? What makes you so angry that you just have to move; you just have to do something; you just have to take action? For me, this list looks like this:

  1. It makes me angry to not be able to read insurance, health care, bank, real estate, or investment papers in Korean to be able to judge for myself (without a translator) which is best.
  2. It makes me angry to not be able to communicate freely with the office staff about needs or questions I have related to work and paperwork.
  3. It makes me angry when some people act ridiculously stupid and I can’t confront them about it.
  4. It makes me angry that I’m “stuck” teaching English.
  5. It makes me angry that I can’t communicate sufficiently with my Korean friends and I still need to ask my wife to summarize the conversation and add my input for me.
  6. It makes me angry that I can’t easily make non-English speaking friends and contacts.
  7. It makes me angry to think that having the right contacts provides better benefits and opportunities.
  8. It makes me angry to not be able to read Korean news, look up things on Korean Internet sites, or use Korean websites efficiently.
  9. It makes me angry to not be able to sign up for things, or do other simple tasks – like getting my car serviced.
  10. Driving to work in the morning makes me angry, so, I’ve chosen to take my bike.

Now, you could allow your anger to lead you to hate (aversion), or you could let your anger spur you toward action (like my last example). If you have a good list of things that make you angry, let that spur you toward action as well. But don’t allow the fire of your anger to die down. Because the biggest enemy of success isn’t failure, it’s comfort. If you get comfortable where you are, you’ll never change you life.

What do you love about Korean? What makes you angry because you can’t use it well?