Passion vs. Commitment

I have been thinking about this topic lately.  Earlier this month a fundraiser for Riverviews Artspace here in Lynchburg honored a remarkable woman, Rosel Schewel.  She is 85 years young and continues her philanthropic work.  She is clearly committed and passionate about women's issues, education and the arts.  I was very fortunate that a piece of my art was purchased and given as a gift to Rosel.

Watching the Olympics has been a part of my day this last week.  The commentators talk about how the athletes perform with such passion and they are clearly committed to their chosen sport.  This got me to thinking about passion and commitment, how they are different and how they are intertwined.

I looked up the definitions of passion and commitment and they didn't seem quite strong enough to me.

"Passion: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something."  I think of passion as more than enthusiasm but rather a willingness to make sacrifices for a belief or cause.  It seems to me that many people who succeed in the arts or sports or any field for that matter are willing to make sacrifices and seem to have a singular focus on their goal.

"Commitment: the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something."  I do think of commitment as hard work and dedication to their vision.

I was talking to my friend Terri about this topic.  Something that came up was the matter of balance in a person's life.  How do you pursue your goal and yet maintain healthy relationships, find time for recreation, exercise and gainful employment,  It seems to me that many successful artists don't maintain a balance in their lives.  They have a singular focus on their creative process and are willing to sacrifice other aspects of their lives.

I think of commitment as determination or head and passion as heart.  St. Francis of Assisi said "He who works with his hands is a laborer.  He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.  He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist."

Truly for me it is all three: hands, head and heart, which also can be called commitment and passion.


he who works with his hands