Reflections on Passion (Day #18)

Apollo and Daphne by Bernini (Rome)

“Alex, you are just extremely sensitive to all kind of art, it is difficult for me to experience it the way you do,” said Ana.

My wife told me this recently. I have to say it surprised me. I was talking with her about appreciating the small things. and she was trying to explain that my way of seeing things was unique.

I never thought about it. I tend to be a keen observer, that I know. I’m the person that will sit across you on the subway and try to picture what your life is about. I love stories, and I like observing anything that tells a story.

This extends to all kind of art, let it be poetry, paintings, sculpture, architecture, music, ballet, etc.

But I never reflected on it until Ana told me the other day. Or more precisely, I never reflected on how much it permeates my life.

I had a very unique upbringing. My parents met when in musical school, which made my life one with music. I started going to concerts when I was three years old. I then began attending the Opera when I was 7, and I haven’t stopped going ever since.

Surprisingly, I never played an instrument. I love music with all my heart. I don’t understand the world without music, but for good or bad, I never had the chance to play an instrument.

Both my parents are also professors, which made me love education beyond anything else. Education runs deep in my family. My grandfather, who grew up in a tiny village of Galicia, had to sneak out of his house to attend school. He always regretted not being able to go to school.

With time he became a self-made man and a millionaire. He then donated half of his capital to build schools in his home village. He was always there to help his grandchildren when they needed access to education.

He probably was my biggest influence growing up. My parents and him taught me to love education. He also showed me how to be compassionate, how to love your family and more importantly, how to love myself. I remember once, he asked me if I wanted to know his secret for success.

“Of course I want grandpa!”

“It’s very simple Alex; you listen carefully. I became so successful by making sure I didn’t make the same mistakes as my competitors. I always observed what they did, and avoided their mistakes, made myself better and improved. It is simple, you just need to follow this all your life.”

I think I was 12 when he told me that. It barely registered. Looking back I can now say that it was the most important piece of advice someone gave me when growing up.

“Always treat people fairly Alex, always make sure you’re taking care of the people around you,” he would tell me.

So, apart from growing up surrounded by a love for education and entrepreneurship, I also grew around art.

My mother was a history and art professor. I’ve seen more museums, churches, art galleries or expositions than I care to remember. My mom taught me to appreciate art, to experience it, to understand it. I grew around Picasso, Goya, Velazquez, Miró, Delacroix, Monet, Van Gogh, Klee, Kandinsky, etc.

Not only art but architecture was also an integral part of my upbringing. From the prehistoric monuments, Egyptian temples, Greece, Rome, Gothic churches, Italian renascence, all the way to modern architects like Gropius, Van der Rohe, Wright, Gehry, Le Corbusier, Gaudi, etc.

So yes, I guess my connection with the art world is deep. I don’t look for objects to collect, I don’t look for the famous names. I just enjoy art, what it expresses, the work and passion that drove the artists to get there. A note, a harmony, a set of steps, an arch, a canvas.

Passion moves the world and love is part of what living is about. That’s why I look for passion wherever I go. Sometimes I see it living inside a painting, in the verses of a poem, hidden in a dialog of a movie or someone’s eyes.

The most especial people in my life are always deeply passionated people. It strikes a nerve in my heart and it’s impossible to get them out. It’s magnetic, it’s electric. It is why I will always fall for passionated people.

Are you passionated in your life?

This post is part of my 30 Days Writing Challenge. If you want to check out the previous posts, here you have an index.



Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.

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Alex Barrera

Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.