Follow Your Passion — but only if it’s the right type.

There are two types of passion, and while one can lead to success and happiness, the other can lead to the very opposite.

On Harmonious and Obsessive Passions

When it comes to passion, psychologists differentiate between harmonious passion and obsessive passion.

Harmonious Good, Obsessive Bad

As you may have inferred from these definitions, harmonious passions predict positive behaviors and outcomes, whereas obsessive passions predict negative behaviors and outcomes.

The Pathway to Happiness?

Vallerand and his team of researchers also penned a report on passion and performance attainment in sport in 2007, in which they concluded that harmonious passion is conducive to high levels of performance and living a happy life, and that obsessive passion is a less reliable predictor of performance attainment and is unrelated to happiness. This might hint at why so many obsessive and successful performers are ultimately unhappy.

Is Passion Enough?

Harmonious passion alone is a powerful motivator and predictor of success, but it can be significantly augmented by persistence and purpose.

Passion + Grit

Grit is a concept that has long been a part of the human condition but was popularized by Angela Duckworth’s 2016 book of the same name.

Passion + Purpose

A 2018 study published in DIJB found that passion is tied to performance at work, and that if that passion is tied to purpose, that performance is further strengthened, echoing my idea of the four building blocks of high performance.

Find or Develop Your Passion?

Far too many people I speak to nowadays don’t know what they’re passionate about — perhaps it is a byproduct of a world with countless distractions and entertainment at our fingertips that people don’t feel compelled to get out of their comfort zones.

Does Pay Defeat Passion?

There’s a classic story in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer where young Tom was tasked with painting a fence when all he wanted to do was play with his friends instead.

Final Thoughts

We shouldn’t throw out that Follow Your Passion coffee mug just yet, but perhaps we should etch the word ‘harmonious’ on it in permanent marker while crossing out Follow and replacing it with Develop.

Founder: Collective Campus, Host: Future Squared, Author: Time Rich & Employee to Entrepreneur. Clubhouse: @steveglaveski Visit: #MELB

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