Jorgie, that’s his name to me, a very dear friend and often labelled as one of my best. He is perhaps one of the sweetest, gentlest men I know. I formed a friendship when we met in Bondi a few years ago. It was a chance meeting in a bar and there was something that clicked straight away, we had a really bonding conversation and it led to a friendship, travel adventures, learning to surf, lots of lunches and dinners over yummy food, pondering life and learning from Jorge what having a simple, no fuss life is all about. He’s uncomplicated, and speaks to the point, what’s on his mind, and I admire that. He knows what he enjoys doing and does it. He is very determined and committed; he knows what he wants and goes after it. He is one of those people who can persevere when learning something, he doesn’t give up, and is able to stick to something even when the process is tiresome, challenging and tricky.
He’s artistic, musically gifted and such a friendly person. He is also a very fair person, I like that about him. Some of his stories about how he has managed to live a life infused with passion are quite transformative, from giving up biting his nails and his nervousness by learning to play the guitar. It was his salvation, building his confidence and strengthening his resilience as a person. It’s not just about having fun, even if that is what his calm persona exudes. Despite being Brazilian and from a completely different culture to me, we have similar values and approach to treating people. One of the quotes he gave me in the interview was from his beloved Bruce Lee, ‘be water’, interpreted as be versatile, don’t get stuck and keep being able to mould and move into different forms. Be grateful, and learn off everyone you come across was the main sentiment I was left with, so see what you think about what Jorge has to share…
L: How would you define what a passion is?
J: Passion to me is something you do with your heart and soul. For me, one passion is to live life happily. So when things are going down, I think positive. If it’s a hard time, it’s not the end, so I look towards my passions and what I love to do to bring back that sense of happiness. I believe that they are often things you like to do naturally, when you wake up in the morning it motivates you straight away. Many mornings I see people on the bus who look like they are going off to war, on a military bus. If you have passion in life, plans for the future, objectives, you look at work as something you need to do, its unavoidable and you know how to enjoy the other parts.
L: So a passion is a feeling?
J: Yes, it is a feeling, and it’s also about self-control and responsibility to yourself.
L: What makes you happy? People get stuck with this question, can you tell me what makes you happy, or how did you discover it?
J: I think that a passion and a hobby are two different things. A passion comes from experience. A hobby is something you just like to do. For me, when I was young I wasn’t sure what to do. I bought a guitar. I spent hours and hours playing, it was something I liked to do. Lots of friends in my building were really good players. I wanted to be better than them. After a while I became better and better, and suddenly it came naturally, from the inside, I’d close my eyes and just play from my heart, and that was when I knew it was a passion. I’m living my passion when I am in my own little world, forget my problems and the noise around. That’s what makes me happy, connecting with that.
L: Is it an outer or inner body experience?
J: It’s inside you and you feel it (he is touching his stomach). It’s like eating food, it’s nutrition for your body.
L: What’s your view on making money for your passion?
J: If you’re happy to take on all the associated business stuff, yep. I’m trying to do photography, if I can live by just taking photos or playing guitar I would be the happiest man alive. But you do need to balance, if your passion is water skiing you may not be able to make money from it, so you just need to include it in your life. Take my music, I play the Bondi Jam once a week, I look forward to it every Tuesday, it motivates me every week to think Tuesday is coming, Tuesday is coming, and I rehearse and it’s the highlight of my week.
L: What do you get out of it (Bondi Jam)?
J: Playing with my friends, displaying my talent, it’s a reward for all the hours I have spent playing and practising, it’s social, and I can be with other musicians who are in the same place of love for the music. I learn a lot too, every single night when I am with the other musos.
L: If you knew someone a bit lost and not sure what makes them happy, what would you tell them?
J: Get a hobby, something that stretches your mind, builds skills, use your brain. Sports is not the answer, you should be taking care of your body any way. Say it’s painting. Learn the basics. Once you feel confident, you’ll naturally want to learn more, the difference between the types paints, acrylics, oils, the styles of art, you’re learning more and more and then it becomes the passion. Immerse yourself.
L: Does it need to be something that pushes you out of your comfort zone?
J: I think it needs to be new. In the beginning you may not be good at it, but you can’t give up, you need to commit to 4-6 weeks initially and really try. If you do try your hardest and can’t see progress, then you know that you’ve given it your best shot. Don’t be lazy.
L: Do you think a passion is about creation or creativity?
J: It’s an experience, doing something new, so perhaps creation. It defines what you’re here for, and you’re only here once.
L: Can you talk me through how you discovered guitar in a little more detail?
J: When I was growing up I was very shy, and when I was trying to express myself I would over compensate and reveal too much and feel very awkward during and afterwards. The main physical sign was how I constantly chewed my nails right down, my fingers were swollen and it was very painful. Guitar literally changed my life. I bought a cheap guitar from a friend and started by downloading tablatures online and practicing. The guitar was a way to express myself – to be someone, before that I felt like a loser, an amoeba, a cell that doesn’t do anything. I was just existing. I didn’t want to be like that anymore, I wanted to do something, have interests. A few weeks later I noticed ‘wow I am not biting my nails any more’ and with my guitar improvement my confidence grew too.
L: When you discover something you like doing, what makes you persist? For example, we started surfing together… you kept going every day, and I’ll admit that I got lazy… what was it that kept you going?
J: It’s commitment, dedication and also being interested and researching all about it. Everything I do I practice and give it a real go, I don’t want to be an expert but I want to be good at it. I want to have a peaceful body and mind and that is achieved by wanting to be able to do anything I try, I often wonder why others can do something and why I can’t, it’s for that piece of mind.
L: What does surfing do for you?
J: Going out surfing clears my mind. It gives me a sense of hope, both in escaping the mood I’m in or wanting to improve technically. I’m able to look back and know I am doing it. It’s a way for me to enjoy my life. I was afraid of the ocean, I’d think, ‘what if I get caught, trapped under water!’ In a way, each wave can represent your whole life. You take a risk with each wave, sometimes you get dumped, sometimes it pays off. You just got to keep trying. The ocean energises me to keep trying. The more you surf the more you want to improve and you can get frustrated about not getting better, the waves don’t help as they are never the same!
L: What have you learnt about yourself by doing things that are passion driven?
J: Life is great so long as I keep myself busy, and my mind active. I need to have a sense of being full of knowledge and use this to my advantage so I never feel bored. Sometimes I think I give others the wrong advice, like I am I crushing their dreams, because my point of view is so different, but I know it works for me. I am against the grain of society. It’s also about being able to balance your responsibilities. I consider myself lazy sometimes but also very responsible. Be on time for work, don’t run late consistently every day. Don’t talk too much without action to back it up. Keep your posture, don’t let others think they are better than you, and I need to keep talking with people, and to feel equal, not better than them.
L: Is you life about setting goals or go with the flow?
J: I have to set goals, but not work hard, I am here to work wise. Find what you like, the smart way to achieve what you need, why do things the tough way? Some people prefer the tough life and then they complain.
L: So to wrap things up, what is your philosophy or direction for life?
J: Um, there are a few. First, we shouldn’t be having a hard time if we can be laughing and loving. Right? We also need to be grateful for what we learn off everyone. Bruce Lee once said, ‘be water’ and that’s about being versatile, don’t get stuck! Here is a final analogy, ‘live life like a train station’. A train starts at one point when you’re born, and different people get on and off your train, like how people enter your life. At each station you meet new ones, people get on or off, or maybe you meet them again later on (like on facebook ha ha!) and they may return or disappear. Sometimes you can’t control the passengers, there are some you don’t want to get on, but they all teach you something and you just keep moving along to the next station and learn something from them along the way. I want to write a song about a life as a train, chugging along, choo choo!
If you’re in the Bondi area, head along to the Bondi Jam, it’s on Tuesday nights at Beach Rd Hotel from 8pm. There are some great local musicians playing and you’re also welcome to join. If you’re keen on photography too, head along to Jorge’s facebook page for his business, Van Jorge Photography to see some of his snaps of local musicians, kids and nature, its beautiful work.