As I continue to read Jermaine Jackson’s story, the one descriptor that continues to reverberate to me is passion.
- Michael, at age 5, was passionate to prove he belonged with his brothers’ singing group.
- Michael was passionate to go beyond his father’s lessons and learn from the greats such as Jackie Wilson and Smokey Robinson.
- Michael was passionate when he started writing songs, understanding theory, composition, and emotional affect.
- Michael was passionate about selling albums.
- Michael was passionate about placing music above any romantic relationships
- Michael was passionate about being perfect as songwriter, producer, singer, and dancer.
- Michael was passionate about achieving seemingly impossible dreams
Jermaine writes of Michael, “… when he surrendered to inspiration, everything fell into place. For him, music was an endless source of material from within; a constant stream that he just had to step into and take from”.
How often are we told we are not our job description, our illness, or our societal roles. We are not what we can do or what we can’t. These labels are simply parts of the whole.
It would seem that Michael did not subscribe to this politically correct protocol. He was his passion: a consummate performer. His passion demanded he be a perpetual learner, a disciplined dancer, and an audacious individual.
Others may have viewed him as awkward, shy, strange, lavish, eclectic, extravagant, or even weird; but everyone knew Michael Jackson was the definition of a performer.
Define Your Passion
There is certainly nothing wrong with being multi-faceted. As I mentioned above, we each have our profession and societal role; but should we be satisfied with being “someone who …”? If Michael had merely been someone who sings or someone who dances; had he merely been someone who writes songs or someone who produces music — Michael would have never been labeled the “King of Pop”. He embraced his so-called label and reinforced it until the day he died.
I’m often reminded of those who knew who they wanted to be when they were grown. Some maintain their passion from an early age, but most do not. I changed my mind constantly, and I realize now that those changes came from fear of failure. I couldn’t assert my passion because I was afraid it was the wrong choice, or I was afraid I would not be successful.
Barbara Bailey Kelley and Shannon Kelley, authors of Undecided, remind us while we have the freedom or opportunity to do or be anything, we will be unsatisfied if we dwell on “anything” instead of “do or be”.
In conclusion, I don’t think we should be content with avoiding labels, especially if those labels demonstrate our ability to exceed goals others have set for us or our ability to achieve successes no one else has achieved.
My challenge to you is to be passionate about your passion, and embrace the label you have rightly earned. Afterall, I do not want to be remembered as someone who writes; I want to be remembered as a writer.
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