Never underestimate the power of passion. Passion moves us. It moves clients. It compels humankind as it incites connection, loyalty, and belief. Now more than ever, we want to know there are living, breathing people behind the things we buy.
But if it’s passion that powers movement and connection, then the trick is making it visible. Too often, we bury it under the weight of marketing and excess. We hide it in favor of style and conformity. To bring passion to the world, it’s not enough that we feel it ourselves. It’s not enough that we show our excitement in post after post after post. It’s not even enough that we find our purpose and show our value. We must evidence the full force of our conviction.
Passion is a thing that others see only at the edges of differentiation. It collapses under the weight of sameness. It melts in the light of trend. No market has moved faster than this one. Ideas are short-lived, and belief is in short supply. CNN proclaimed it the year of “meh.” Life is memed out as fast as it is invented. The photographic output of 2012 alone was ten percent of every picture ever taken. Today, a touch of difference will be crushed in mountains of sameness.
Differentiation means endurance. It is longevity. But we have to understand that passion is a thing only made visible through comparison. We see it when someone pushes harder, does more, finds a different moment, or sees a new angle. It exists in the sum totality of every choice we make. But it’s revealed in our courage to embrace it.
If you want to build a business that lasts, take everything you do that’s just like everyone else, and throw it out the window. We’re all 90% similar. And that’s just fine. The problem is forgetting about the other 10%. Too often, we curate 90% the same. We shoot 90% the same. We market 90% the same. And in the face of that 90% shared across an entire industry in an ocean of similarity, people will not notice the 10%. Let the 10% bleed into everything you do.
This a world of indifference. One of constant noise and limited time. But it’s a world waiting for you. A world that craves the inspiration that only passion brings. In the face of this world that asks us to do more and be more, don’t look outward to see how you measure up. Look inward to see who you are. If you have the passion, let it out. If you don’t, rekindle it. Because when you find it, everyone else will too.
About Spencer Lum
Spencer is a storyteller with an indelible belief in the raw humanity of weddings.
With 10 years of experience running Brooklyn-based 5 West Studios, he has developed a style that combines influences from fine art and photojournalism. He has also enjoyed time as a designer, creative director, and filmmaker.
Spencer is the founder of the industry blog, Ground Glass, as well as a doting husband and father of two beautiful children in Brooklyn, NY.