Almost everyone agrees with the simple idea that passion is important. So I don’t have to justify diving into the process of supplementing your efforts to be productive and successful by adding extra passion.
Here are some ideas on passion for you to ponder:
Good and Bad Passion
Everyone agrees passion is important, but you probably don’t realize that certain kinds of passion can be harmful. To understand this, recognize that your passion can be the good kind, or the bad kind.
Good passion is a drive to work at a task, project, or goal that makes you feel good. You may enjoy the process of doing the work, or you may enjoy the results that will flow when you succeed. In some cases, you may enjoy both.
Good passion gets you out of bed in the morning, happy to be tackling your next step and looking forward to whatever progress you can make. At pretty much every step forward, good passion leads to feelings of satisfaction and success. Even during those times you’re not making much progress, you generally feel happy just to be pushing in the right direction.
Bad passion, on the other hand, is an over-the-top obsession that controls your every thought and action. It threatens your feelings of self-esteem and even influences your moods.
Movie villains are often driven by a “bad” passion to rule the world, extract revenge, or do something dramatic. But a bad passion doesn’t have to be grandiose to cause you harm.
One problem is that bad passions are too often compulsive rather than a conscious choice. What’s more, they generally produce few good feelings until they are realized. In addition, they are more likely to lead to burnout and anxiety than to satisfaction and success.
Finding Passion is Easy
Because passion is so important to success, it’s good to know it’s fairly easy to find. Sometimes passion just crosses your path. For example, you can be minding your own business when you instinctively recognize you feel a passion to complete a specific task, project, or goal. Admittedly, that’s rare.
More often, you can intentionally introspect and investigate yourself to gain clues about your possible passions.
But even without these means, you can often develop a passion simply by working at something.
The idea here is that passion flows from effort: work hard at something, and you may well become passionate about it. The harder you work, in fact, the more passion you are likely to develop.
Of course, there are some requirements to be met:
- You must not hate the work. It must be something you like, or at least feel neutral about.
- You must freely choose whatever task, project, or goal you work on. If there’s pressure to choose, you’re much less likely to develop any passion.
- You must be able to make progress. No one develops a passion for beating their head against a metaphorical brick wall. But if the wall starts to give a little, or if you can push a metaphorical boulder just a few feet up a hill, then you may feel your passion for the work begin to grow.
Passion Develops from Meaning
There are good reasons to do what’s pleasurable, or what’s easy for you, or whatever you excel at. But if these kinds of tasks, projects, and goals don’t generate passion in you, you can intentionally search for meaning, instead.
Most of us want to feel we’re doing something important with at least some of our time and effort. It’s no coincidence that so many people are passionate about working on opportunities to make the world a better place. This is why a good place to search for passion is in the tasks, projects, and goals you find most important.
Whether you want to feed the hungry, end war, save the planet, create something beautiful, or just express yourself, passion blooms where meaning lives.
Passion Needs Work
Research shows that working under the influence of a good passion generally feels much better than not having a passion at all.
But what feels even worse is having a passion and letting it lie fallow.
In other words, if you don’t feel a passion, you can try to feel better in your work and your life by finding one. But once you do find your passion, it’s vital to make at least some effort toward realizing it.
Working toward your passion helps you feel more engaged and committed, more satisfied, healthier, and less stressed by adversity. These are important benefits, regardless of how much progress or success you achieve on the passion itself.
But the plain fact of the matter is this: working toward realizing your passion tends to make you more productive. So not only does passion need work, but work needs passion. Together, they’re a solid formula for long-term success.
The search for good passion, and the robust achievement efforts associated with it, are valuable because they enable you to do good, feel good, and live good for much longer than you otherwise would without it.
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