This thing called passion

Kanisa George.  -
Kanisa George. -


THERE are moments in life when things can feel dull, run-of-the-mill, and low on happiness.

Blame it on the mundaneness of our daily pursuits or the boredom of repetition life is sometimes well-known for. Life will not always feel like a whirlwind adventure, every moment of joy or excitement ultimately ends.

To fill the void that sometimes threatens to consume us, we rely on hobbies, dinners with friends, and the notorious Netflix binge, hoping all will be right again.

In truth, for a vast number of us, this is merely a rinse-and-repeat cycle where we focus on the next big thing that excites us instead of learning to harness tiny things that can breathe life into our souls.

Are we so caught up with the lure of temporary exhilaration that it prevents us from tapping into the source of true happiness? Conceivably, it's all a bit of mumbo jumbo, but is being passionate the answer to life's greatest joys?

In a world of get-rich bake schemes and self-made make-up artists, passion is sometimes only equated with success or money. I do not doubt that success is very possible by-product of passion; I've seen far too many TikTok videos as proof.

But this isn't always the case. Sometimes, the things we're passionate about have greater intangible value and are a direct conduit to happiness.

We all have the seeds of passion within us; how well we harness them is another story. Passion is defined as the strong inclination toward a self-defining activity that one finds important enough to invest time and energy.

But when I speak about harnessing your passion, I'm not asking you to develop them to the point of perfection or for monetary gain. Sometimes, bone-deep happiness comes from merely being excited and curious about an endeavour.

Does the very act of doing the activity bring you joy? If it does, then passionately pursue it.


I once listened to a podcast that attempted to explain the general perception of the concept of "passion."

The host unearthed that we all have something we're passionate about. The problem we face when confronted by our passions is what to do with them.

Most of us are so caught up in the idea that passion equates to monetary value that we don't prioritise projects that don't pass this test.

Author Mark Manson believes the problem is not a lack of passion for something but perception and acceptance. Very few of us equate passion with happiness or accept that joy is all we might get out of it.

Should I really be doing calligraphy in my spare time? How will it impact my prospects? Maybe I should be doing something more useful with my time?

But why? Why shouldn't we be enthralled by the prospect of doing something we like? Pursuing something that brings us joy?

Manson provides a unique perspective on how we treat our passions. He states we arbitrarily choose to limit ourselves and our passions based on ideas of success and what we should do with it.

In reality, I believe the proof isn't in the pudding; the proof is in your happiness.

Results of several studies reveal that passion is essential for positive psychological outcomes such as positive emotions, psychological well-being, physical health, relationships, and performance.

While this is a pretty clear assertion, psychologists warn against obsessively honing passions. Most of us are guilty of this. We want perfection, so we mull over this belief, and happiness gets lost along the way.

Robert J. Vallerand Jérémie Verner-Filion, in their study titled Making People's Life Most Worth Living: On the Importance of Passion for Positive Psychology, found that passion can make people's lives worth living to the extent that it is harmonious.


Harmonious passion leads people to engage in activities they love. Conversely, obsessive passion creates an internal pressure to engage in the beloved activity and achieve the desired result. Harmonious passion is hypothesised to lead to more adaptive outcomes than obsessive passion.

When all is said and done, we should endeavour to follow the position (albeit slightly personalised) recommended by (Seligman & Csikscentmihaly, 2000), "How can my life be most worth living?"

And maybe the answer is harmonious passion toward a meaningful activity. Stop thinking about what's trending, what might make the most sense or "what real value I could get out of it." Laser focus should be placed on the immeasurable happiness and fulfilment that comes from the activity.

Lead from the heart, and instead of waiting for the big things to come along, focus on those minute, perhaps insignificant things that reignite your joy.


"This thing called passion"

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