This is part of a series of posts about my thoughts and my experiences through the KOSEN-Joint Polytechnic startup program.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

Steve Jobs

I now know that getting to Japan on work trips is no longer that coincidental. As someone who is able to speak the language somewhat, the dots will keep on connecting.

I also wondered if it’s pure coincidence to learn about startups through this trip or how I got interested in the model that was presented to me. Unlike many of my colleagues, my “industry” network is a circuit of friends who are all doing startups. I keep in touch with them individually – none of them know each other. And for the first time, I also get to know the thoughts of Japanese startup owners and why they wanted to do this.

The common thing I saw in them was passion. It was passion that drove them to innovate, passion that pushed them to where they are today.

But what is passion?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the original meaning for passion came from Old French, referring it to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross.

If I were to put two and two together, the people who are in startup have the unflagging spirit and willingness to endure through suffering for what they believe in, what they love.

Hence, if I were to redefine the passion of the people from my startup circuit, I believe that PASSION to them is the willingness to do what it takes to create something for, share something with and make things better for the world, no matter how difficult it might be. This is what I observe in all of them.

Come to think of it, perhaps that should be something every citizen of the republic could do, be they artists or engineers, be they bankers or politicians, be they students or teachers.