It used to drive me crazy. I would go to my son’s school chorus concerts and I could tell the teacher put a lot of heart and soul into getting a good performance out of the 80 plus students on the stage. Then I would go to his community theater performances and see what seemed to be twice the sound coming out of a dozen people. What was the difference? I maintain it probably has to do with “have to versus want to.” Many of those 80 students in that large school group were there because they wanted a grade or perhaps someone pressured them into joining the group and once they were in they had to be there. The community theater, was completely volunteer, the only real benefits being the satisfaction of a job well done, applause and personal growth. With few exceptions, every person on that stage was their because they wanted to be there and they almost always shined. That’s the power of motivation.
Now please don’t misunderstand me, there are things you and I have to do, and we should bring our best to everything, even the “have to’s” of life, but they rarely hold a candle to our “want to’s.” The key then is to find a way to spend most of life in your “want to’s;” the place where your passions align with your gifts. These are the most satisfying places in life and I would argue the places where you will best excel.
There is one other thing to consider. Passion is contagious. Share it well and you can turn a gifted person’s “have to” into a “want to.” It’s not always easy and it starts with finding another person’s gift and showing them the excitement you bring to what you do. For me, art has always been a “want to.” Speaking by way of comparison was a definite “have to,” for most of the first half of my life I avoided it like the plague. It terrified me.
What changed was pretty simple. I met some folks who were passionate about sharing the Gospel, pastors and believers. They started off by showing me that I could use my “want to” of art to serve the Lord, then they slowly began to nudge me into speaking, a skit here, a lesson there. People connecting with the Gospel became a passion for me, and I began to see that in order to share the Gospel, speaking was a component of that. I began to find ways to speak that worked for me while people gently challenged me and opened doors for me. Today speaking is a passion of mine. This represents a radical life transformation and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Have to’s” can be turned into “want to’s” by passionate people who care enough to bring it out of people and show them the way. It almost always starts with the “want to’s,” with passion and gifting spilling over into other areas of life. When you’re passionate enough to do what it takes, we’ll do almost anything to make it happen. That’s the power of motivation.