Find Your Passion

By Ron Ciancutti

As a devoted fan of books, movies, plays, music, etc., I’ve come to realize that my interests not only lie there because they entertain me, but more so because I have an everlasting thirst to learn what captivates people, and I am drawn to imitate it, try it on myself, produce it, or more so reproduce it. I say “reproduce” because I fully believe those who receive inspiration from works of art react strongly because they provoke an emotion that makes everyone “react.” It’s that reaction that the performer banks on and actually lives for when performing. And we’re all performers, story-tellers, artists in our own right.

It’s What We Do
One evening I was watching Walter Matthau present the American Film Institute award to his friend, Jack Lemmon. The two had appeared in many movies together and had a friendship that was well known both in and out of the industry. After his predictable teasing remarks in honor of his friend, Matthau became serious. He said the reason he understood Lemmon’s performances on the screen so well went beyond their friendship. “It’s what he does,” he continued. “He allows us to see the tragedy and comedy of the world through the eyes of someone we know, someone he hints we may even be.” The camera moved to Lemmon, smiling tightly and looking at his friend with tears rolling down his cheeks.

“Someone we know, someone he hints we may even be.”  That’s it, isn’t it? That’s the lightning in a bottle we all hope to grab. That Valentine verse we toiled over to impress one special person; we hope that verse will melt the ice, break the glass, and let that person know how much we care. The unspoken emotion speaks volumes. It’s the calculated risk that involves a gamble with the sweetest payoff imaginable as the prize, an emotional return on investment.

As James Taylor sings his song, Louis Armstrong blows his horn, Ernest Hemingway writes that passage—all are looking for the same thing: we take on what they express and respond with a smile or a tear as we think, “Yeah—me too.”

Probability Of Success
Today, so little is left to risk. Consider the number of satisfaction surveys you are asked to take. Did you like the movie? Did you like your waitress? Was the car wash satisfactory? Was the meal all right? How about the service? How’s my driving? Did your teller inform you about the low-interest signature loans? We eliminate all remote suggestion of surprise or novelty. We base our risk on high probabilities of success, which makes it all the more disappointing when the gamble falls short of expectations.

We date on websites to ensure the person we are flirting with is equally desperate or confident or needy or not needy.  We find former high school sweethearts online and observe their audiences and interests before we roll the dice and actually initiate contact. God forbid that we simply send a friendly hello and say, “I was thinking about you just the other day and decided to peek in and see where you were in life.” No way. That’s way too risky.

Can you imagine if we always thought so carefully? If we only took the gambles we knew would succeed? There would be no inventors, entrepreneurs, no admirable, swashbuckling life challengers who climbed mountains or created new theories.

Stirring Emotion
I love to write. I relish the opportunity to write. I am so encouraged when I hear from my readers and they honor me with their praise and even offer counterpoints to my logic. You see, a writer has a calling of sorts, maybe not as strong as that of an actor or singer or even politician who broadcasts to the masses in the spoken word, but a calling just the same. And when I begin to construct a story sometimes, not always but sometimes, the story gets wings and flies from my hands. To that end, once in a while the story gets more passionate, more illuminated, more compelling because on those occasions some inner part of me that may have been lying dormant for years has found a tunnel through which the light can escape and that emotion runs to the light and spills out onto the paper. It then becomes my muse and teases me into finding ways to make my point. As I tell my story and find myself becoming the story, I let you see the inner stretches of my mind, and as I reveal my reactions and let you see me in a less-than-flattering light sometimes, I just may hint that the person you are seeing may just have some of you in me too. And when that happens, and I know I have given you a message clear and sound and thoughtful and deliberate, a feeling rushes over me that I can only describe comparatively as that conquering moment when you click in the last piece of a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle or perhaps that smile you recall seeing on your child’s face when he or she got the two-wheeler to balance in riding away or the ultimate satisfaction of hearing the love of your life sigh nervously as your lips finally meet after months of hinting that you found that person very special. And in that moment, there is such satisfaction that I have chosen the greatest hobby in the world and that I am further blessed beyond words to be able to recognize this gift and evoke that emotion from your hearts. See, I’m only here for a minute and have no intention of staying, but my hope is that maybe I created a touchstone for you that will bring you back and basically share this moment with me.

Now, find your passion and stop waiting for assurances that it’s the right thing. If it stirs you and you want it to fly from your hands for others to share and see your fascination, the passion is right.

Ron Ciancutti has worked in the parks and recreation industry since he was 16 years old, covering everything from maintenance, operations, engineering, surveying, park management, design, planning, recreation, and finance. He holds a B.S. in Business from Bowling Green State University and an M.B.A. from Baldwin Wallace University. He has held his current position as Director of Procurement since 1990. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at