“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.”

Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer

Are you passionate about your life and goals?

Are you passionate in a healthy way?

Grab a pen and paper!

First, a quick lesson in psychology:

In the world of psychology, Harmonious Passion (HP) refers to an autonomous internalization that leads individuals to choose to engage in the activity that they like. HP promotes healthy adaptation whereas Obsessive Passion thwarts it by causing negative affect and rigid persistence.*

In short, HP is healthy passion.

Harmonious Passion is adaptable, allowing for balance in life pursuits. Activities are pursued because of desire; it isn’t to please others or outperform someone else or avoid being surpassed. Individuality, independence and flexible perseverance are the hallmarks of the passion.

A few questions for you:

  • Can you jot down everything you think you are passionate about or wish you had time to be passionate about?
  • How much time and energy do you place towards your passionate interests?

By each item, write the origin of your passion.

  • Where would you like to take your passion?
  • Where has your passion taken you?
  • What aspect of your personality does your passion speak to?  The dreamer, the practical, the physical, the intellect?
  • Do you list a professional passion?

Next, be very honest with yourself and evaluate your passions.  Are they Harmonious (see above) or Obsessive. In other words, are they healthy and a reflection of YOU or not-so-healthy because your passion is actually someone else’s?

Don’t confuse passion with obligation, long-standing commitments, or someone else’s expectations or hopes.

Obsessive passion is connected to extrinsic motivations — wanting to please others or to maintain a certain status that is important to self-esteem.*

Now go back to your your list. Strike out any passion that belongs to someone else.

Think of that Rotten Tomatoes award winning movie “Christmas with the Kranks” when Luther Krank rebels against the neighborhood expectation of PASSIONATE Christmas decorating.  Run like your pants are on fire from a passion that does not belong to you.

  • Resign from the soulless committee that doesn’t speak to your heart.
  • Put away the tennis racket if it’s a drudge. Don’t stay because it’s been eight years and you like all your teammates.
  • Skip the book club selection that doesn’t make your eyes light up.
  • Arrange a family vacation you’ve been putting off for years instead of shouldering the work of a reunion.
  • Evaluate if the next step in the corporate ladder is your true passion.

So, the first step is removing the things that aren’t really your passions.

Coming soon . . .  Your professional passion — five steps to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

Stay tuned!

* Vallerand, R. J..; Blanchard, C.; Mageau, G. A.; Koestner, R.; Ratelle, C.; Léonard, M.; Gagné, M.; Marsolais, J. (2003). Les passions de l’âme: On obsessive and harmonious passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 85(4), 756-767. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.4.756