Is Passion Over-Rated?

Don't wait to find your passion before taking meaningful, consistent action!

Don’t wait to find your passion before taking meaningful, consistent action!

We all love “passion.” It’s fun to feel or observe it, but passion, alone, will not get you closer to your goals.

I believe that I can make a very good case that passion is over-rated. For decades now, finding your passion has been a continuing mantra from well-meaning self-help gurus, and don’t me wrong, passion is good. It, however, is a quest focused all about the individual, YOU, finding what turns you on and lights you up. That may often translate into an over-dramatized, selfish search that results in nothing more than perpetual, continued searching.

Don’t become too obsessed over finding or reigniting this elusive passion. Instead, simply choose to take consistent action that moves you closer to your goals.

Yes, identifying passions and pursuing them is nice, sometimes even quite helpful, but essentially is a secondary requirement. If you really want to move toward your goals, taking consistent action is a far, far more effective and efficient way to do so as compared to constantly seeking and searching. Taking action is simply a choice and it needn’t be perfect as you can always modify, recalculate or adjust as you go. This action can even be taken in baby steps, but it is the movement toward your goal, not your constant speculation around it that produces results.

For example, if you want good health, you decide to hydrate, get sleep, brush and floss your teeth, eat wisely, exercise and the like – and then you simply do so. Contrast that to searching for some passion for that or any subject, and nothing really is put into motion or accomplished. It’s an interesting exercise, but nothing changes. The world does not reward thought and intent, but rather thoughtful and intended action.

If you want to stay where you are and vegetate, you can ponder, speculate, and explore, but those are simply mental gymnastics that never move you anywhere – figuratively a stationary floor exercise that’s maybe enjoyable to watch or perform, but goes nowhere. Simply enjoying and being interested in what you do or whom you’re with is an excellent substitute for passion, and don’t worry about some outside fire waiting to ignite your life. It may or may not become apparent to you, but you will have grown in the process.

I like coach Steve Chandler’s phrasing of staying “mildly amused” and acting, as opposed to striving toward being passionate before acting. In other words, act first and exude passion later. Chandler compares this quest to the “I – me – me – my” state of being that always falls short of “serving others.” Step outside yourself and consider how you might consider serving others as opposed to continuing to ask these self-centered questions. This quest for your true calling, that passion, will more likely become apparent and flammable from active service than endless searching. Not only will you be satisfied, but more importantly you will also much more likely become fulfilled. And remember, consistent action is a choice, yours!

P.S. Passion is still valuable. You might even consider adding some real or even faked passion to your consistent actions. Add enthusiasm to every task no matter how seemingly mundane. I call that bliss-ipline, but passion is never a prerequisite to meaningful action…

“Action is the foundation key to all success.”  – Pablo Picasso


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