When Lady Gaga picked up an award from the Americans for the Arts, she gave an acceptance speech in which she recalled her dream as a kid to grow up "to be a constant reminder to the universe of what passion looks like. What it sounds like. What it feels like." The words got David Brooks of the New York Times ruminating about what it means to live a life of passion, something that happens when "an emotional nature meets a consuming vocation." People who manage the feat seem driven by a fierce desire to "complete themselves," a uniquely human trait, and they look for that one thing they can pursue with abandon to make that happen.
The reason behind the drive may differ, but a common denominator among the genuinely passionate is that they're more vulnerable and courageous than most, willing "to be themselves with abandon." Like everyone else, they care what others think of them, but they're less willing to let that dictate how they live. Lady Gaga "is indisputably a person who lives an amplified life, who throws her contradictions out there, who makes herself a work of art," writes Brooks. "People like that confront the rest of us with the question a friend of mine perpetually asks: 'Who would you be and what would you do if you weren’t afraid?'" Click for the full column.