Recently I was asked “What are your passions?”.  That’s an incredibly difficult question for me.  Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones and have a snap answer ready, but for me, I’m having difficulty.

You can take the question literally: what topics get your blood boiling?  For me, there aren’t many.  I’m a fairly level person, and I don’t get worked up about many things.  When I was younger I told myself life was too short to get bent out of shape over politics or other things, and I can’t think of any topics that would get me fired up right now.

On the other hand, you could take it as a euphemism for hobbies: how do you spend your time?  Well, for me that’s tricky too.  I spend a lot of my time working, though I’m beyond having passionate feelings about it (I used to get seriously worked up about my business, but, again, I made a conscious effort to keep myself calm).  As an entrepreneur, I probably should be more passionate about my business, but to me, that seems like a distraction.

What about hobbies?  Well, my hobby is now my job, so it’s hard to mark that down as a hobby any more.  At the same time, there are activities I do outside of my job, though nothing of much interest (for instance, I occasionally play video games or read books).

I’m defined as a passing-interest kind of person.  I’ll get very deep into an activity for a while, then move on to something else.  For a while, it might be video games.  Right now it’s reading books.  In the past it was building a stock-market prediction system.  In the future, who knows?  Maybe rocket ships or dinosaurs.

Frankly, I consider it a virtue to be dispassionate.  Getting emotionally attached to something destroys objectivity and can be harmful in the long-term.  Sure, being passionate can be helpful in the short-term (for instance, it motivates startup engineers to work 18 hour days), but at the expense of the big picture.

So how do I answer this question?  I’m still not sure.  Perhaps I need to find myself a new hobby (one that sticks for a long time) that I can use as an answer.  Or, perhaps I need to lower the bar: I used to play the guitar a lot in high school and college, but haven’t much in the last few years).  How do you answer this question?

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