How passion is like a prism.

A prism breaks down white light into its constituent wavelengths.

A prism breaks down white light into its constituent wavelengths.

You have seen and probably admired people with true passion. Perhaps you stood by in envy or awe and wondered about the source of their passion. Perhaps you are one of the passionate people and already know. For most of my life, I was not one of those people.

I spent most of my life thinking it was fate or luck or some rare combination of environment and genetics that lead to the singularity of purpose we call passion. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I now know where passionate people get their passion. I now know the source, the resonate frequency they tune to as they hum their way through their work. Or, is it play to them?

When people are truly passionate about what they do, it is difficult to distinguish between their work and play. Only recently have I found the least difference between the two. I am becoming one of the passionate people.

This past weekend I was standing in my kitchen just as the sun struck the window and pierced a small prism sitting on top of the sill. There, cast onto the counter was the familiar refraction pattern of light.

Prisms have always fascinated me. Take white light and run it through a prism and what emerges are the colors of the rainbow. It is astonishing. Just like the rainbows in the sky after a rain, the light refracted by billions of water droplets in the atmosphere.

You probably remember the mnemonic from childhood, ROYGBIV, which stands for the different constituent wavelengths of light and the order they appear – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.

Red/Orange wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Red/Orange wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Yellow wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Yellow wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Green wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Green wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Blue wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Blue wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Indigo/Violet wavelength light emerges from a prism.

Indigo/Violet wavelength light emerges from a prism.

It still seems like magic to me. That is why I have a prism on my window sill. Looking at the rainbow of light splayed across the counter top, I had an immediate thought.

I grabbed my camera and moved in front of the prismatic array of light and very carefully photographed each of the elemental colors. You can see them over to the left here in this post.

All of the constituent colors are already present in the white light. It only took the prism to tease them out and put them on display.

This was my thought. I believe it is generally known the secrete to successful and purposeful living is finding your true passion. What I believe is not generally acknowledged is all of the components are already there, inside each of us, waiting to be unlocked and displayed. Passion is our prism.

Passion takes the light that shines within each of us and brings forth the best from us – our unique, natural talents and abilities and puts them on display for the world to see. When it happens, it is astonishing. It seems like magic.

Many will stand by and wonder, where did all of their success, zest for living, innovation, creativity, smarts, and energy come from? Just as I used to wonder. Now I know it was inside there all along. It only takes the prism of passion to reveal it.

Written by

Clark Gaither, MD

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