A passionate delusion

Having been told to follow our 'passion' for so long, we have come to believe that whatever we are passionate about makes it true. It's not.


Passion motivates, but it also blinds.

The passion myth is perpetuated by people who had the benefit of significant synchronicity. Upon reflection, they attempt to rationalise it and articulate it - because it is a story worth sharing.

But human nature being what it is, we struggle to be honest with ourselves when it comes to our shortcomings. We take credit for success and blame others for failures. It is called the self-serving bias.

When we need to explain our success, but can’t, we trot out the idea that it must be passion. We have read it so many times, it has to be true. Even Richard Branson said so on LinkedIN, right?

Passion may or may not precede the hard work it took if you worked hard to achieve a success. There are plenty of people who hate their jobs but are very good at it and very successful at it. Passion may or may not have been present when you lucked into an outcome that turned to be good thing.

Being motivated, working hard or even feeling a bit good about things is not what passion is about. Here is the dictionary definition:

PASSION (noun)

1.strong and barely controllable emotion.
"a man of impetuous passion"
2. the suffering and death of Jesus.
"meditations on the Passion of Christ"
synonyms: crucifixion, pain, suffering, agony, martyrdom; rare martyrization "the Passion of Christ"

So, next time, before you claim passion as the big differentiator and the final determinant of your success, think again. As in, do you really mean ‘dying-on-the-cross’ passionate? Or do you really just mean ‘I-didn’t-mind-it-most-of the-time’?

When people claim their passion as the reason for their success, I can’t help but hear the sound of someone trying to find a reason for something they don’t understand.

If this post sounds harsh and judgmental, it is with a purpose. For you (anyone) to be successful we need to start with the truth. That is the truth about the opportunity, the truth about the market, the truth of our abilities and most importantly the truth about ourselves.

It doesn't mean we become incapacitated by the challenges ahead or that we are overcome with doubt. It does not mean we can't be optimistic about something that may seem unlikely. It does not mean we can't tackle things most people believe are impossible.

And THESE are the things that are necessary for your success. Not passion.

GO for it. Even if you don't feel passionate. It's ok - they lied about it being a prerequisite for success.

Image: WhatCulture.com