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April 20, 2022
In my experience, passion follows you, not the other way around.
My name for this principle is called the passion inversion. It’s the intention of not following your passion, but finding creative ways to bring it with you wherever you go.
That way, you build your work around the unique strengths of who you are. You create positive energy that can be channeled to meet your goals.
It’s not a panacea, though. Passion doesn’t guarantee success. But it certainly increases your chances of it.
Because it means you won’t give up when things don’t go your way. It means nobody will be able to match your naturally bottomless energy level. You’ll go all in on your idea one hundred percent, and running on that source of clean, renewable fuel will help you push past whatever setbacks, rejections, barriers and failures you encounter.
Passion is a foundation. An energetic baseline. A leverageable asset. One that will stabilize and subsidize you along your creative journey.
My boss used to tell us all the time, if you’re not excited about a project, don’t even bother doing it.
His philosophy was, without enthusiasm as your organizing principle, everything would be slower, harder and more expensive. If you aren’t psyched up about doing something, and if the life force immediately drains from your face when you think about doing it, then it’s not worth pursuing.
Because the outcome will be mediocre at best.
Consider the sales team at my old startup. Those guys spend all of their time on the phone with potential customers, giving demos of our software product, and following up with prospects via email and text.
And across the office was the marketing team. Our job was to keep creating new assets that gave the sales team fresh fuel to close deals. From content to collateral to websites to technology, we used our passion for making things to spark their passion for selling them.
But if they weren’t excited about those things, it didn’t work.
If their response to our latest creation was a lukewarm meh, then we failed.
Both of us needed to bring our passions with us to activate the high energy levels success required. In the absence of that enthusiasm, our chances of winning plummeted.
Again, passion is not a panacea, it’s just incredibly helpful.
Kind of like taking medication for depression. Doing so doesn’t prevent you from getting depressed, but it does keep you from sinking too low. It raises your floor, as therapists will often say.
In fact, passion can also work against you in many cases. You can become a prisoner of your excessive enthusiasm, to the point that you delude yourself about the work. You start tumbling down rabbit holes that nobody else cares about.
The trick is to connect passion with utility. To find the intersection between your extensive joy and the world’s expensive problem.
One question you might ask yourself is, what wrong could my passion right in the world?
That’s where value is created. Answer that, and there will always be a place for you at the table.
Passion will stabilize and subsidize you along your creative journey.
Where do you have naturally bottomless energy that nobody can compete with?