7 Payments to Passion
The trouble with passion is the cost. Telling people to follow their passion is irrelevant in a world where they actually do.
The deeper question isn’t what’s your passion, it’s what are you willing to pay.
Passion is good, even essential, but it takes more than passion to succeed.
7 payments to passion:
- Failure. The possibility of painful failure is the price of passion. Those unwilling to pay fade into oblivion.
- Investment. Passion gives energy but it also demands energy. Invest your energy in your passion and it gives energy in return. Neglect passion and energy declines.
- Restriction. The more passionate you are the narrower you become. The opportunity of passion is it’s power to enable “No” with clarity and conviction. Lack of focus destroys passion.
- Action. Action fuels passion like gas fuels fire. The more action you take the hotter passion grows. Apart from action, passion turns into frustration and eventually depressing ambivalence.
- Approval. When you act on passion, friends try to fuel or cool your passion. Many are perfectly content to let others waste life.
- Control. Passionate people are control freaks.
- Trust. The price of taking passion to the next level is building a team – trusting others. The roadblock to trust is the conviction that others don’t have as much passion as you.
Passion is good but _______ is better:
Passion makes the previous list relevant. Thanks to Facebook fans for filling in the blank. More on the Leadership Coffee Shop.
Lots of people want something but only those willing to pay move toward getting it. Those who refuse to pay grow frustrated.
Anger is paralyzed passion that won’t pay the price of responsibility.
Passion, when put into action, offends mediocrity.
What does passion cost?
>> What does passion cost? << Sense and sight! ..some reasonable checkpoints are essential on both the positive and negative sides of passion
Like rocket fuel there is great power in passion, but mishandled, the potential for disaster…
I like your seven "is betters" list.
Thanks Ken. The danger of passion is reflected in it’s potential for good. I’ve seen my passion do damage. It’s taken me years to get a grip on this idea.
One danger of passion is a closed mind. Glad you jumped in.
From what I’ve seen pursuing passion can easily mean sacrificing relationships. I am passionate about writing but I also have a husband and kids. It seems inevitable the inspiration hits at a really bad time and I have to get it down before it’s gone. My husband often feels ignored and I stay up every night writing before I go to bed and while he is asleep. He has to get up early for work. Pursuing your passion in the creative realm can often mean financial hardship or selling out. However, However, what are the costs of not having passion? When you have passion, you have a raison d’etre. You know you’re alive. Victor Frankel pointed out the importance of having a reason to live when he discussed how he survived a concentration camp.
Thanks Roweee. Reframing the question to “what are the costs of not having passion,” suggests wonderful possibilities. Thanks
Passion is the beat that created harmony in the music.
Passion is the Why that keeps the What alive.
Thanks Mark. Poetic!
Great post, Dan!
I love the lines ” Passion offends mediocrity” and “Anger is paralyzed passion that won’t pay the price of taking responsibility.”
It got me thinking about the dangerous world we live in, where passion is all too often fueled by anger, blaming and intolerance, rather than an inspiring vision and a sense of personal and/or communal responsibility.
Perhaps it is important to add “Love”, to the list qualifying passion-
Passion to love, to create, to embrace, to connect, to celebrate… passion for human dignity, for diversity….these are life sustaining, life enhancing forces- that serve to bring out the best in individuals, in communities, in societies, and in humanity-
Passion to dominate, to destroy, to blame, to terrorize… these are dangerous forces, that begin with the destruction of other, but are ultimately self destructive in nature and effect-
As leaders, we have a responsibility to distinguish between passion that promotes and that which destroys- there seems to be a concerning level of confusion in this respect-
To answer your question- passion without love and/or personal responsibility has a huge limiting and destructive cost on humanity, human dignity and human potential.
Passion that is anchored in love and coupled with integrity, collaboration, discipline and persistence ( the costs or investments)- can yield broad reaching benefits for generations and years to come that are many many multiples of the costs involved.
Thanks for another thoughtful post!
Thanks Lori. Powerful insights!
You got me thinking about compassion and passion. What a powerful combination?
Yes- “passion and compassion” would be helpful.
Equally important, I think, is “passion and empathy”.
I looked up the definitions on yourdictionary.com-
Compassion- “to have sympathy and want to help a person or people who are going through a difficult time.”
Empathy- “the ability to understand the thoughts feelings or emotions of someone else.”
Empathy and compassion would help to mitigate against the demonization of other-
These are qualities that leaders can and should model and reinforce in their areas of influence.
But what happens when leaders do not share or support those values and actively engage in undermining them? What is the responsibility of the civilized world to protect human dignity? What happens when horrific means are used to justify questionable ends? What happens when the very essence of a free society is manipulated so that the right to hate becomes a protected right and the right to terrorize, a legitimate form of expression?
What happens when well-meaning leaders lose perspective, leaving a leadership vacuum for those who actively disdain empathy and compassion, to fill?
Passion needs context or it can cross into basic brainstorming or potentially damaging impulse.
And passion needs cultural reference….passionate expression in business is not acceptable everywhere; beyond that, it may also cross a line into the mundane concept of “loving what you do”
Without passion, apathy awaits around the next corner. Our organization culture must nurture passion lest the driving force fizzle.
Passion makes the list irrelevant…
That says it all right there and it’s the truth.
For some the passion may be money…for some of us (like me) it’s love.
Most of us know what that driving ‘force’ is for us.
Without it, everything in life tastes rather bland…like eating food without ever adding any salt and pepper or other seasonings to it.
Yes,,,,it may be food….I may survive…but BLEH!
Thanks Samantha. It’s great to know what your passion is… I hate the thought of living without passion. I’m glad you caught the connection between the list and passion.
Me too! Naturally, my answer is OVERLY simplified. Like with anything in life, there’s dangers to any of our passions when taken to extremes. So I”m only speaking in the sense that we are passionate people and our passions do guide us in life. (and twisted passions can steer us off course)
Yet the passion is the fuel the drives us. Like love. And I mean that in it’s most simplistic and innate sense. That’s WHY I’m ‘here’. For no other reason. Then to love and be loved. Everything we DO is an opportunity and a vehicle for the expression of love. Or the DESIRE for love is to BE expressed in all that we do while here. At least that is my ‘simple’ interpretation of it thus far.
And yes, when we ARE ‘in’ our ‘passion’, it makes the list unnecessary because we do it automatically.
I like number 3 on your list of payments, and fully agreed that, “lack of focus destroys passion,” but I’m wondering if there’s not a little bit more to it.
Many passionate people (whatever that means) I see have a deep love and interest for a narrow field or interest. Better passionate people have some of your 10 better-thans. But the best seem to understand that their narrow interest or field is important to many people and applicable to other passions and interests.
A niche historian who rarely ventures outside his office might be incredibly passionate, he might even have some of the better-than skills you describe. But if she doesn’t (or can’t) translate that passion to be useful for other passionate people, she’s no leader and she’ll make a minimal impact at best.
I think Lori’s comment on compassion and the passion to love is very similar too. Successful leaders, it seems to me, are passionate about giving their passion to others. To use Seth Godin’s language, they are passionate about sharing their art.
Thanks Buddy. You enrich me and the conversation. There is always a little bit more to it when you read my posts. 🙂
In my humble opinion, your list of 10 things that are more important than passion are “symptoms” of passion. If you do not have those 10, can you truly have passion for ___?
Thanks webs78. I see a strong connection between the list and passion. I also see people who have have strong wants/desires/feelings but don’t seem to get anything done. Perhaps they don’t have “passion” at all?
I’ve also see passion that is untended cool. In other words, passion needs help. It’s not the end all. Having said that, I really enjoy the expression, “Passion trumps everything.”
Thanks for your comments. I like the thought of nurturing passion to KEEP it a passion.
Passion can be blinding … even in instances of pure intent … comes back to the comment of ‘trust’ – the question becomes how do we effectively balance passion with leadership – we never want to sacrifice passion – it is powerful, inspiring, motivating, driving, charismatic and results in execution, innovation, forward motion, risk taking … if balanced with leadership qualities of engagement, active listening, collaboration, empowerment, vulnerability, empathy, acknowledgement — “Passionate Leaders” are the future
Take away the balance and you risk dead bodies in the wake of control freaks
Thanks ckmic. Love how you brought passion and leadership together. Very useful ideas especially when it comes to bringing passion to life.
I heard someone on NPR say – it’s useless to tell someone to follow their passion, because so few people really do have a passion, instead it’s more useful to follow their curiosity. Seems like wise advice for life and business.
Thanks billgncs. Cool insight. When people say they don’t know what their passion is we could just say, “Follow your curiosity.”
Great write! It can cost a lot for a person to do what they’re passionate about. People you care about might not always support you. It can cost money, time, and investing everything you have into doing what you’re passionate about.
Thanks christian… truth!
I agree that passion is not enough, it needs sacrifices. Only having passion and not willing to pay the price of passion may not bring promising result. I appreciate your points, that passion need commitment, energy and enthusiasm. I have seen people wanting to become successful, but they also do not want to penetrate into uncharted territory. They need more safety and security, and that is why they fail to energize themselves. I think passion has price and those who are ready to pay the price can achieve what they want. Those unwilling to pay the price, may continue to have ambition without action.
I think, passion need compromise with comfort. It needs compromise with complacency. It needs compromise with self-created safety zone. Passion just needs drive to achieve goals. It does not need someone’s appreciation or expectation. It is about achieving bigger goal what an individual can achieve. Passion provides direction and meaning to life. Without passion, life turns dull.
Thanks Dr. Gupta.
I think we may have a language barrier on the beginning of your second paragraph.
Could you elaborate?
“I think, passion need compromise with comfort. It needs compromise with complacency. It needs compromise with self-created safety zone.”
Passionate people are very focused about their goal. They find all possible right measures to achieve their goals. They do not see other things.In the process, they forget their obligations, priority and other responsibilities. They forget about their comfort. They are beyond complacency zone. In the process, they do not look for easy and predictable life in short term. They look bigger picture. This is my intention behind it.
Very insightful and it is great to see an article that highlights the realities of following something you are passionate about. There are so many articles that end the conversation with the mentality that once you find your passion, your life will figure itself out.
There is always a cost and important to determine what you are willing to give up to achieve your goals.
Thanks for sharing!
Passion without compassion is fanaticism. Great for you, but can turn very nasty for anyone who doesn’t share your vision. Passion without empathy is dogma. What do you need to temper your passion with?
Ahhhh passion…. Sometimes the question is not what you are willing to pay but rather one of what you can afford. Many times, circumstances dictate the boundaries to which you must operate in thus, restricting the extent to which you can pursue passion. Other times, the pursuit of passion is an act of gamble which begs to ask “how much are you willing to gamble with the ideals of your passion”? Lastly, one needs to consider the affects of following passion on those closest to you. For instance, a person may be willing to pay (time, money and effort) into realizing their passion, but in consideration of ones family and their needs must forgo and limit the extent of realization.
I’ve had anger because of blocked passion. Fortunately I learned early in my career, to act on your passion by moving forward in a different way around what is blocking you will free you of your anger. For example, if you are passionate about politics but only argue about what needs to be done, then you’ll just generate anger. However, if you become involved in the political process that matches your passion then you will gain confidence and empowerment and your anger will subside.
This is a great article and reminder for those of us, that tend to allow our passion to drive. These are some great reminders of ways to use and control your passion.
This is a very timely topic for me and it hit the nail on the head for me. Thank you!