The Passion Trap

Why doing what you love can be a curse

Steve Glaveski
3 min readOct 18, 2022


We hear it all the time, and see it adorning coffee mugs, t-shirts, and walls at kitsch coworking spaces across the globe.

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

And while there is truth to this statement, passion alone is not enough.

Passion can leave us both broke, and broken down.


When we pursue what we love, our rational mind can become subservient to our emotions.

We can become blinded by rose-colored glasses and the dopamine high that comes from doing what we enjoy.

Whether it be podcasting, writing, music, photography, martial arts, or insert *domain of your choice here*, all can leave us riding a neurochemical cocktail high, yet facing all-time lows in our bank accounts.

And this can apply to entire industries such as crypto, sports, music, design, fashion, and so on.

Working on things we’re passionate about can force us to turn a blind eye to red flags and all the what-could-go-wrongs, fall victim to the optimism bias and halo effect, and see nothing but green lights…for a while.

But eventually, the amber and red lights become more apparent, as come to the realization that perhaps passion is not enough.

Do what you love, but…

Don’t get me wrong. Given the choice, we should always work on things we love, but this must be complemented by:

  • Things we’re good at: I’m passionate about surfing, but Kelly Slater I am not. In fact, we’re 6-times more engaged at work when we’re playing to our strengths.
  • Things that serve a genuine purpose: I might be into NFT PFPs but is a collection of 10,000 AI-generated pictures of monkeys really solving problems in the world or purposeful? If it’s not purposeful, at least to you, you’re likely to give up when the going gets tough.
  • Things that make enough money: I spend a lot of time writing, but it is more of a labor of love that covers my grocery bills. I earn a living consulting to large companies on innovation and incubating startups — both pursuits I enjoy.



Steve Glaveski

CEO of Collective Campus. HBR writer. Author of Time Rich, and Employee to Entrepreneur. Host of Future Squared podcast. Occasional surfer.