Does Passion alone guarantee success?

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you have yet to find it, keep searching. Don’t settle. In other words, follow your passion. Many people have been advised to stick to their passion and that will drive them towards their goals. While this may be true in some circumstances, passion may not always be the most accurate and useful solution for most people to follow.

Passion has two forms: Harmonious and Obsessive.

Harmonious Passionate individuals are intrinsically happy engaging in their work, have a sense of control of their work and have a good work life balance where work does not impact or affect other important aspects of their lives. They do not think of work around the clock and harmonious passion allows them to achieve harmony across other activities in their lives.

Obsessive Passionate individuals perceive their work as highly valued. The major difference between both Passion forms is Obsessive Passion individuals have an uncontrollable urge and desire to engage in their work. Therefore, these individuals might either burn out or feel that they are unable to balance their work with other activities in their lives. They might be fully invested in the activity so much so that their emotional aspects such as their mood may depend on the outcome and process or the ability to do the activity well.

If we are able to manage our passion harmoniously rather than obsessively, we will be in better control of ourselves, and in turn be ready to achieve what we set out to do. Therefore, I would like to share 3 habits that we can inculcate in order to lead a better life.


1.    Not Passion But Purpose

Purpose deemphasizes the I in Passion. Purpose is about pursing something outside ourselves as opposed to pleasing ourself. Being solely passionate may appear to be self centered. The general mindset or questions behind being blindly passionate are “I want”, “I need to” and “I have to”. Even though the meaning behind these questions may appear purposeful, the first word often overshadows the general intentions.

Purpose on the other hand is about others, not only self. This reorients our focus onto people, outcomes, where we are heading to, service and the pursuit of our convictions. Finding our purpose in life is intensely more vital to our happiness and quality of life than finding our passion, in some cases, trying to figure out our passion. Every one of us were created and designed with a purpose in mind and we are here to fulfil that purpose. A better view would be to harness the passion and utilise it to achieve our greatest purpose in life. Passion makes us big. Purpose connects us to something bigger and in doing so, makes us more driven towards success.

2.    Not Passion But Picking & Peripheral

A lot of people are afraid to say No, sometimes in fear of being judged by the Bosses or in other cases, getting overworked. However, we must be able to say No because by saying Yes out of obligation, it may distract us from our work and take time away from the people we may want to connect with. Of course, saying No all the time may be detrimental in some situations, so we have to weigh our options and pick our battles effectively. Picking the right things to do helps us to prioritize our tasks, be able to manage and work effectively, evaluation and pausing to decide on making an informed choice. Besides Picking, we need to be peripheral as well.

Being peripheral involves being curious to uncover new patterns and trends to aid in personal and professional development. Passion might make us myopic as we tend to focus on the desire inside us, but lose sight of the happenings around us. Being peripheral allows us to be objective, look at the bigger picture and actively spot opportunities for growth.

3.    Not Passion But Practice & Persevere

Many of us have heard of the saying: Practice makes you perfect. However, practice makes you better than what you were, with the right skills applied. After discovering our passion or an interest in a particular area, we need to fully focused, practice the right skills relentlessly and persevere towards achieving our desired outcome. According to Malcolm Gladwell, famous author, he mentioned in his “Outliers” book that we need to practice 10,000 hours to become world class. This is roughly about 3 hours a day, for more than 9 years. With practice and perseverance, great and notable achievements have been made. Some notable mentions include the following: Michael Jordan’s rise to legendary status, the success of Microsoft and Google, etc. There might be missed opportunities as we work our way up. We will face failures and setbacks but how we learn from them, change our strategy, practice and preserve forward is the key to unlocking our potential and doing better.

In conclusion, avoid just finding your passion or working with passion alone. Allow your passion to be manifested with the 3 recommended habits and life would become more invigorating.


Written by Mugan TAYALAN (Facilitator)
on 3rd April 2017