Passion: Is Everyone Faking It?
Since 1997, Lake Superior State University has released its annual list of the most overused, misused and/or useless words in the English language. (Side note – this is a pretty fabulous PR move for the Wolverine State’s smallest public university.) Which words made the list in 2013? “Superfood” and “guru,” as well as the ubiquitous and slightly annoying term “YOLO,” which stands for You Only Live Once (in case you’ve been out of the country for a while).
While I agree that most of these words and phrases should be used less frequently – raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing the term “fiscal cliff!” – I was surprised that “passion” was included. Scrolling through the comments, it’s evident that some people, like George from California, are really irked by the word.
“Diabetes is not just Big Pharma’s business, it’s their passion! This or that actor is passionate! about some issue somewhere. A DC lobbyist is passionate! about passing (or blocking) some proposed law. My passion! is simple: Banish this phony-baloney word.” George, Studio City, Calif.
After reading this, along with feedback from a handful of other “passion” haters, it seems that the problem isn’t overuse of the word. Instead, it’s that people are throwing it around with perceived inauthentic sentiment behind it. Which begs the question: are we all crying wolf when it comes to showing passion for the brands we love and issues we support?! Is everyone full of it? Not so fast…
Having worked on the PR agency team for clients in exciting categories like lawnmower engines, doors and (wait for it!) food waste disposers, I can tell you that there are passionate fans of every social cause and product out there. Yes, even lawn mowers. For example, my recent obsession is adding some charm to my apartment walls using fabric and liquid starch. Call me a craft geek if you want, but I am genuinely enthusiastic about this project. (Yes, I found it on Pinterest.) The bottom line is that while you may not share my glee in trolling the fabric section at IKEA, you are likely passionate about something.