Passion can be a wonderful gift, but if you’re not careful, it can become an awful problem. There is definitely the difference between peaceful and obsessive passion. Understanding the difference is key not only to cultivating long-term happiness and performance but also to preventing issues from occurring.
When someone experiences legitimate success, if it is the outcome of obsessive passion, they are bound for future trouble. That’s because they’ll always crave more: more money. More fame. More awards. More followers. More, more, more! And so it becomes easy to get pulled into a never-ending cycle of searching for satisfaction.
Unlike with obsessive passion, peaceful passion is always tied to happiness, health, life, and growth in ones pursuit. A harmoniously passionate individual seeks to progress not for the sake of rewards or recognition, but for the inner sense of fulfillment that accompanies personal growth and knowledge. This isn’t to say you should completely disregard all other results that are external.
I understand that feeling of fulfillment; trust me, I have been there too. Every footballer would get excited when a goal is scored. Every chef feels good when they sell out a delicacy. Every business woman gets at least a little tingle after a deal is signed. Every author would feel exhilarated when a book gets sold out.
The key is to recognize these emotions when they arise and to keep them at check, to prevent them from becoming the most important thing that drives your passion.
Ask yourself: When you sit down to write, are you sitting down to write or to sell books? When you show up to work, are you doing so to learn and make a meaningful contribution or to get noticed, promoted and perhaps a raise?
When you practice and train before you compete, is it to get better and master your art, or to win awards or go up a level in rankings? When you love; be it a spouse, friend or a child, are you doing so to nurture an intimate bond, or so that you can chronicle your relationship on social media?
Know this! The bulk of your passion should not come from the outside; it should come from within.