We call it by different names, but we all share the same sentiment; passion is an absolute necessity for greatness. Whether we’ve named it desire, obsession, fervor, enthusiasm or fire, we mean the same thing. From the Latin ‘passio’, passion originates from a behavior that seems fueled by an internal fire or rage. Imagine the engine of a car as it relates to what happens to us internally. As you start the car from the driver’s seat, an instantaneous explosion happens within the pistons of the engine. As they combust, energy and fuel are released that cause it to operate. For you and I, when we conceive a dream, create a desire to be successful or develop an interest in something new, a mini explosion happens to us within our hearts that can literally drive us to our success. In fact the root of the word motivation is where we get the word ‘motor’.
Passion is the driving force or motor for our lives. Have you noticed whenever you are in a constant state of frustrations or anger, you almost feel depleted within? Think about it. When you had several days of constant frustrations, you never seem to get adequate rest. You collapse into bed only to rise the following morning still exhausted. The reason is you were literally wasting large amounts of your life’s force, passion on things that are useless. Dr. Michael McCluskey, associate professor of psychology at Temple University says, “Although anger is the most powerful impulse we have, it’s the one we think about the least. We need to give ourselves time to ponder the real reasons for the anger in the first place.” When you blow up in a rage while driving, or over react to your family over trivial matters, you are certainly leaking passion more than you notice. I believe there are situations I like to call ‘passion suckers’ that exist only to rob you of your much needed passions. They come in all sorts of forms, sometimes our friends and family are unknowingly serving as ‘passion suckers’ too.
Instead of losing or wasting our passion energy, we need to become aware of the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Here are some important things to remember about our passion as we all work to guard from those ‘suckers’:
• Passion is usually a good indicator of where we should work: I learned a long time ago that passion sometimes manifests itself in the form of anger. And what things in life that anger us are indicators of a problem we are called to solve. Look back at what makes your blood boil. Is it homelessness? Or maybe childhood obesity. Follow the signs. Instead of giving a lot of lip service or complaints, get up and get involved. Use your anger for a positive outcome. Allow it to be a roadmap to a deeper purpose in life.
• Passion seems to be indestructible, but we all must be careful: Remember, nothing will consume you faster than passion turned in the wrong direction. What most don’t realize is that more blood has been shed, more lives prematurely cut off and families destroyed by a simple passion used incorrectly. The Nazi’s were passionate. As well as the racist organization, the KKK. Their passions are just being used for the wrong reasons. While passion can empower us to move mountains, we must keep company with those who can help keep us accountable that we use it properly.
• Passion is extremely contagious: We see it in sports, family outings and even a corporate rally session. One person with passion can light up a room. In minutes the whole crowd is infected with the same spirit as the original one. One of my largest inspirations is famed self help guru Tony Robbins. He always says “Where focus goes, energy flows.” This means our passion and focus can release an energy wherever we go. We all notice it when someone starts letting their negativity loose in a room. The atmosphere seems to change doesn’t it? If it works in that way, it also works in the positive.
Life will present a ton of moments for us to waste our passion being angry at silly things. So what they cut you off on the highway. So what your co worker did something sneaky. Why should that move you? The situation isn’t worthy of your passion. Save it for things that will innovate and elevate humanity. There is greatness in you, never sweat the small stuff!