What Does it Mean to Follow Your Passion?

Meaning of Passion

Written by Steve Rose

Steve Rose, PhD, is an addiction counsellor who assists those struggling with substance abuse, gambling, gaming, and internet addiction.

On the go? Listen to the audio version of the article here:

As a millennial, I am no stranger to the idea of following your passion.

Many of us are focused on following a passion, not satisfied settling on a career for the sole sake of making money.

So what does it mean to follow your passion?

Following your passion means exploring areas that spark your interest, developing your skills in a specific area, and using those skills to contribute to something beyond yourself. 

This article explores the idea of what it means to follow your passion and considers a better path to achieving satisfaction in your career and in life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, you can check out my resource page for suggestions on how to find help.

What is the Meaning of ‘Passion’?

Passion means sacrificial suffering as well as strong sexual desire. Referring to both sex and death, passion encompasses the cycle of life in one word.

The Latin origin of passion is “pati,” meaning “suffer,” and the word gained popularity in Christian theology referring to the sacrificial suffering of martyrs.

In the sixteenth century, passion began to refer to sexual love and a sense of strong liking or enthusiasm, seemingly the opposite of its original use. Although passion can still refer to pain and suffering – as seen in The Passion of the Christ – today, the word mainly conjures up strong connotations of pleasure and desire.

Although seemingly contradictory, the paradoxical nature of passion needs to be understood before applying it to practical issues.

The word has lost its depth in the popular personal development genre whose gurus overemphasize states of blissful contentment. In this sense, “follow your passion” becomes a difficult piece of advice to follow since it turns one’s passion into a fleeting emotional state.

Ask Canadian teenaged boys about their passion and most of them will tell you that it’s hockey – based on a study by Robert J. Vallerand. The problem is that almost all of them will eventually need to give up the dream of playing for the NHL.

But this does not mean they failed to pursue their passion; it just means they need to realize passions are developed, not simply found. This development takes hard word.

As Cal Newport states:

“Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.”

Both passionate martyrs and passionate lovers share the ability to lose themselves in an act. One suffers the cost of great pain, while the other derives pleasure. The martyr and the lover are the archetypes of passion and we need them both when developing a passion.

Losing oneself in one’s work is not an eternal bliss. The pain and pleasure of passion are intertwined, rewarding those on the journey who persevere.

Should you Follow Your Passion?

“‘Follow your passion’ is dangerous advice.” – Cal Newport

So why is “follow your passion” bad advice?

First of all, it assumes your “passion” is a specific thing inside of you, waiting to be uncovered. In fact, it is the other way around: our passion is a byproduct of doing great work. In Drive, Daniel H. Pink makes the case that career happiness comes from having a position that allows for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

This means we need to have a level of control over our work, feel that we are advancing our skills, and have a sense that we are contributing to a larger purpose outside ourselves.

Therefore, our passion develops with an activity, not uncovered beforehand. Defining your passion beforehand can limit potential opportunities to attain work that offers these three characteristics that facilitate career happiness.

Your passion may not be what you think…
Take the example of Gary Vaynerchuk who has been a successful entrepreneur since he could ride his bike around the block to collect cash from his various lemonade stands.

Growing up, his first passion was baseball cards. As an adolescent he learned everything there was to know about baseball cards, turning his passion into a very profitable vending business. He had dreams of opening up enough baseball card shops one day to buy the New York Jets.

Gary relentlessly pursued this passion until one day his father forced him to work a dull inventory job in the basement of his family’s liquor store.

Although this looks like a cruel injustice, it was the very thing that opened up a world of opportunities for him to peruse his passion at a larger scale than he had ever conceived.

Noticing customers in the store collected wine, he saw an opportunity and  applied the entrepreneurial sense he developed through baseball cards to wine. Becoming a wine expert, he eventually turned his small family shop into a sixty-million-dollar business. But was wine his “true” passion? Far from it.

Just like the baseball cards and the lemonade, wine was merely a vehicle to execute his relentless entrepreneurial passion. Gary Vaynerchuck has now taken the business skills to his digital marketing startup and is a strong advocate for loving what you do.

The lesson is to not define your passion too narrowly, since you might mistake the vehicle for the engine – in other words, don’t mistake the passion’s present exterior form for the passion itself.

The same can be said about defining your passion too broadly, since almost everyone can identify with a passion for “helping people.” The question then becomes the particular form your passion takes: how are you helping people?

Let your passion follow you, instead.
Getting your passion to follow you requires developing skills that offer as much value as possible.

Progressing on one’s path to mastery, based on one’s innate or developed strengths is the best way to achieve a passionate work-life. Passion is earned.

Vocations are not handed to the amateur, they are achieved by walking the path and doing the work. Vocations can be shape-shifters, outlets for one’s craft that don’t necessarily take on a stable or specified form.

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport urges us to be like craftsmen of our skills. The craftsman mindset allows passion to serendipitously emerge through one’s work, distinct from the passion-centered mindset which fixates on a pre-existing set of ideal conditions. He gives the example of Steve Jobs’ “messy” career path, stating:

“Steve Jobs was something of a conflicted young man, seeking spiritual enlightenment and dabbling in electronics only when it promised to earn him quick cash.”

He became passionate in the tech business only after developing his skills in this area and walking the path to mastery.

One cannot create the spark of passion without first striking the flint. Rather than going on a passion treasure-hunt, we need to become craftsmen of our skills, as Cal Newport argues in So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

To become craftsmen of our skills, we need to engage in deliberate practice and let go of the idea that it’s going to all be an eternal state of blissful contentment. As Cal states:

“Doing things we know how to do well is enjoyable, and that’s exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands.”

Giving up at the first sign of strife is a surefire way to stifle a spark of passion. Instead, kindling the spark of passion into a burning desire requires remembering that the root of the word means to suffer, and building anything of significance comes at a cost.

This advice is also useful during times of transition. Rather than having your passion depend on your social role, take your passion with you to the new role and find ways to apply your unique skills to the new situation.

Like Gary’s sequence of business ventures, your vocation can take on several different external forms. The key is that you find a way to bring your unique skills to the situation and be “so good they can’t ignore you,” as Cal Newport says. This means you must understand your strengths, understand the market, and craft your strengths to align with the market.

What I Learned Developing my Passion

Here are three things I’ve learned throughout my twenties as I developed a passion for a sociological perspective on mental health and addiction.

1. Gain insight into your strengths

I didn’t realize I was going in the wrong career direction until I started looking at my strengths and seriously listening to feedback from those around me.

My strengths are slowly processing abstract information, writing, and a strong interest in highly niche philosophical areas. Becoming an academic researcher and university professor plays to my strengths. The problem was that for most of my life I had my eyes set on a career in policing because it was a secure route with a good pension and I couldn’t think of any other career ideas at the time.

At one point I also took an office admin job that I had failed at quite miserably. With its fast-paced multitasking and lack of intellectual stimulation, I can honestly say I found it easier to do a doctorate in sociology than to work in that role. Rather than trying to fit in with what everyone else is doing or what you may be expected to do, play to your strengths, even if it results in taking a less conventional route.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is key to setting yourself up for success later in life. Take a serious look at your life, beginning from your early childhood.

What types of things have you always been drawn to? What type of temperament or personality traits do you have? How can you use these to your competitive advantage?

Sit down with someone you trust to give you honest feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. The sooner you start playing to your strengths, the more time you will have to build on your competitive advantage and set yourself up for success in your thirties onward.

2. Develop a passion through specialized skills

There are no shortage of millennials trying to “find their passion.” twenty-somethings in America are enthralled by entrepreneurial pursuits that can bring meaning to their work-lives. The problem is that with this increasing level of flexibility there is also an increasing level of uncertainty.

Rather than trying to “follow your passion,” I say, “make your passion follow you.” This means knowing your strengths and putting in the work first, then your passion for that work will likely grow as you progress in the area.

As I neared the end of my doctoral degree in sociology, I discovered how relevant this advice truly is. Throughout my grad school career, I have been asked repeatedly, “what are you going to do with that degree?” To which I always replied, “the only job available for someone with this degree: research and teach in a university setting.”

As much as I would love to land a tenure-track professorship, I now recognize that my passion for writing, analytical inquiry, and strategic problem-solving are not dependent on the university context. I am now broadening my horizon by contributing to projects outside the walls of academia.

When your passion is based on your skills, losing your job can’t even take that away. Your passion will follow you so long as you put in the work.

3. Grind, hustle, and live simply

Gain the skills, knowledge, and networks that will lay a strong foundation for your career and social life. This requires a long-term mindset. Like the game of monopoly, the goal is to invest, invest, invest, and wait for the payout.

Long-term investment in yourself is made all the more difficult nowadays when bombarded with social media posts making it seem like everyone else is super rich and traveling all the time. Delayed gratification is a true virtue when laying the foundation for your future success.

My own version of self-investment was nine years of university education packed with reading, writing, and re-reading abstract sociological texts, coupled with rapidly consuming a large chunk of content coming out of the personal development genre.

Along the way I witnessed others around me rake in the cash at their “real jobs,” traveling the globe, and stocking designer wardrobes. Submitting to the process requires short-term sacrifices, but you will look back thanking yourself for laying a strong foundation for your own definition of success, rather than giving into short term monetary gains.


Stay on your path to mastery, become a craftsman of your work, and know that vocations are earned, not found. Perhaps then, instead of following your passion, your passion will start following you.

If you are interested in learning more about what it means to have a purpose, you can check out my article on the topic here: What Does It Mean to Have a Purpose?

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As always, it is important to be critical when seeking help, since the quality of counselors are not consistent. If you are not feeling supported, it may be helpful to seek out another practitioner. I wrote an article on things to consider here.

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  1. Sean Mungin

    I really appreciate this piece. I love studying and teaching from a Biblical stance. I love writing. My current profession has absolutely nothing to do with what I am passionate about. But working in the human, social and behavioral sciences, as well as serving in the military, has made me aware of what is taking place within the world around me. Now I try to study, teach and write in a way that will address the individual holistically as opposed to isolating the spiritual from the physical.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you, Sean. It is good to see you have found a way to apply your passion to offer value to the world.

  2. Stephanie Wilkins

    Love this article! So true. I think this is one of the best articles for young people today. Thank you for sharing.

    • steveroseblog

      Thanks! I really do believe this generation’s passionate approach to work is an improvement on the “put your head down and do what you’re told” mentality. The problem is that many are struggling to achieve a stable sense of self due to increased social fluidity, market uncertainty, and an explosion in the number of potential paths to mastery.

  3. alexhejduk

    Reblogged this on Cracker Jack Whiz Pop Bang Writer and commented:
    I’d still argue that following your passion is important, because you need a spark of that passion to light (in a positive way) a rewarding career for yourself. Shakespeare wrote “to thine own self be true,” and so we should be.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for sharing!
      I agree. We need that spark of passion for a rewarding career. I think the problem occurs when we try to find a spark without striking the flint first.

  4. Jamie and Life

    love it! for me, success means I can go to sleep knowing that my talent and abilities are being used in a way that serve others 🙂

    • steveroseblog

      I like this perspective. Thank you for reading.

  5. NicoLite Великий

    Quite interesting. Passion seems to be poorly understood by most people, making it easy for wise hacks to fling this word around, pretending to know stuff in a potentially harmful way (unlike me, who openly confesses to not know what I am really talking about most of the time…)

    • steveroseblog

      lol the way you openly confess to not knowing what you are talking about is actually quite humorous and engaging. I love your style of writing.

  6. katemartyn

    Never really thought about it, but this is absolutely spot on. I realise I have lived my whole life the way you describe, and it has opened (and continues to open) many avenues for fulfilment in the most unexpected places. Moving out from the university environment, especially at the postgraduate level where you are, can be daunting. Best of luck in your future career, capitalise on those opportunities wherever they are!

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for this comment! It’s always nice to hear form someone who has made this particular type of transition. It is good to hear you have been living by this approach and it has opened up unexpected avenues of fulfilment.

  7. Johnson John

    Quite interesting.. If I cannot be an entrepreneur of my own Enterprise I must use the Enterprise I get / already have though it belongs to somebody else! 🙂

    • steveroseblog

      Exactly! You may be offering value to organizations that may not be your own, but in the end, you are your own entity.

      • Johnson John

        Agreed, got it! 🙂 Destiny is generally around the corner, its just that the path chosen is not right or so. Thnx for responding.

  8. The Other Bottom Line

    I see the point you are trying to make, but I don’t agree with all of this and I do think there’s more to life than getting monetary gain.

    • steveroseblog

      I agree that there is far more to life than monetary gain.

  9. David Pollack

    Interesting. Some of that just sounds like semantics, but you’re definitely a good writer! Follow your passion! I mean… good luck! 🙂

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you! I see how it can sound like word-play, but there is a real-world practical implication to stumbling upon your passion through work vs. trying to narrowly define a passion beforehand.

  10. johnbarleycorn12

    “Education and what you know is the one thing that cannot be taken from you.”

  11. schn00dles

    You write an excellent blog.

  12. taurusingemini

    It is important, to have the drives, the passions for what you do, but, having JUST passion for doing what you do sometimes is still not quite enough………

  13. tombers

    Good blog post. And very right on.

  14. Richard

    The optimal word here is “craftsmanship”. Became a master craftsman and doors will open because others will notice your excellence in your area of mastery. Too often our cultures are teaching instant gratification and many capitalize and market on this fact lessening the quality of product and life. Mastery takes time and builds a legacy that creates real value and longevity to society. Any successful corporation is well aware of this fact. Too often were are practicing “short term gain for long term pain.”

    • steveroseblog

      I completely agree! Thank you for sharing this insight.

  15. leeduigon

    It very much depends on what your passion is!

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for your comment. My argument is that passion can be cultivated by developing one’s skills in a particular area. Steve Jobs is a good example.

  16. Caroline

    This is really clear and insightful. Thanks for sharing!

  17. LoveHeimer

    Amen to that! 🙂 I’ve studied and worked hard to become a Manager and when that finally happened, I was very happy. But as the time was passing by, I’ve started to feel that this passion invaded my other passions: being a mom, writing, traveling, loving etc. So I’ve changed the country, the lifestyle and took a job just for the sake of the monetary gain, as you say.This is how the last two years have been the best years of my life: balanced, full of energy, love and other sorts of passions than having a career. But what do you think? After two years of living a nice, decent life, the system put an eye on me (why would a qualified person like me do such easy jobs!??) and it started to practically forcing me to start looking for a job in my area in which I’ve previously developed my career..for the other ones it seems that I am overqualified… and what do you know? I am not ready to be a Manager again!!!… Isn’t that a sight? 🙂

    • steveroseblog

      That is too funny… what a problem to have! But I see exactly what you mean though. How were you forced out of the job you were “overqualified” for?

      • LoveHeimer

        Well.. I gave up to the old job (managerial position).. I started from zero in another place.. with easy jobs… and then the “system” started to push me again to the managerial area… but since I didn’t want it.. I still applied for non managerial positions… and the feedback I’ve got many times was that I am “overqualified” … so, what can you do now? You cannot fake your CV… even if you do that, it’s enough to open your mouth and they will figure you out: “this one is too good for this job” 🙂

  18. rastafari369

    Definitely a good and enlightening read…I guess it everything really, it’s not so much what you do that counts but rather the reason behind what you do and why you do it… 😉 If you have a good reason for doing, it radiates in the results that you get!
    Thanks for sharing this…

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for your comment… glad you enjoyed it.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for this comment and sharing!

  19. ruleoveryou

    Wow! I heard of this theory recently and just kind of laughed it off as silly but you’ve just totally blown my mind. Great article. You’ve converted me! “Drive” and “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” have gone straight onto my reading list. I’ve also heard good things about “Bounce” by Matthew Syed. I’m currently doing a course in college that I’m not totally interested in and was on the verge of dropping out but recently I’ve began to realise how I could use the knowledge I’ve obtained to pursue other vocations outside of what the course is actually aimed at.

    • steveroseblog

      So glad I could convince you! “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” is the book I am currently reading. It is seriously one of the best books I’ve read in a while and I highly recommend it to everyone! Glad you were able to reframe the course and use it to contribute to a long term goal.

  20. Marie

    Reblogged this on Diary of a Foodie Pagan Stoic and commented:
    This post from Steve Rose comes on the heels of my post about working in real estate versus my passion for food, cocktails and all things related… Makes me wonder who inspired whom. This is a fantastic post!

  21. Marie

    A wonderfully insightful post that follows on a post I wrote a few days ago about transitioning from my current, long time, business to working along the lines of the things I am passionate about. I agree that passion can be very engaging, but that doesn’t mean my skills support building a business or working in a passion-related industry. Passion is a two-way street.

    • steveroseblog

      I agree. Many have a passion for something but don’t have the skills to execute the idea or market it. This is the reverse problem of the one I described in this post. In cases like this, it could be beneficial to learn as much as you can via the web and reach out to others in your network for assistance.

  22. Frank Daley

    The key is self-knowledge. When you don’t know yourself you will not be in the right line of work or with the right person. And you won’t be happy. The passion comes from finding (or creating) yourself and following your talents, gifts and abilities.

    • steveroseblog

      I believe we should know our strengths so that we can build on them and extend our capabilities accordingly. I think the problem with the self-knowledge approach is similar to that of the “follow your passion” advice I warned against in this post. It assumes there is a stable “true” inner self that needs to be unveiled first. I believe this approach can lead to too much self-seeking and eventually end in frustration. With that being said, I agree with you that we need to know our talents, gifts, and abilities.

  23. Elisa Z

    Great article, however I do believe in following your passion, which could change overtime. My passion is also writing and having studied sociology, I really enjoyed it however I chose to study finance for better work opportunities, and now I don’t really enjoy.
    I believe, one should experience as much as they can in life to find their true passion and what they want to do. I do wish I studied sociology, and not listen to the people telling me about ‘lack of jobs in that field’ and ‘you’re going to be broke’.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for this comment. I hear about and experience the “lack of jobs in that field” almost every day. Lucky, I’ve been able to recognize a great deal of marketable skills sociology offers and have tried to build on them. Perhaps you can reframe the way you look at your job, considering what skills you are gaining from it, and try to pivot once you have sufficiently built up these skills. I highly recommend reading “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport.

  24. LadyPinkRose

    Your posts are really great! I read this one, and at first I disagreed about what you said about you following your passion. I consider that I am following my passion, photography, yet the more I read your perspective the more I came to agree with you. I have poured myself into photography, studying, learning, open to new, always seeking ways to improve, to yes master this “passion of mine”. Many hours of hard work is involved, much determination not to quit invovled when the times come when I just want to throw my camera through a wall. (smile) The books I study, the eagerness to improve my techniques to bring more mystery, more drama, more Divine into my work. All these things and more, so that my passion follows me. I like that. I really do!
    I also wish to thank you from the bottom of my Heart for the work you are doing with Veterans. My husband is a Vietnam Vet who to this day has trauma issues, anger issues, and yes suicidal ideas. He has attempted suicide twice, and both times I made sure he would not die. I want to see him live to actually embrace Life again, to enjoy it, to live it to the fullest. So I really thank you for helping those whose minds are really messed up, all because this world thinks it is OK to send children into war to kill. Bless you. Love, Amy

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for these very kind comments. Glad to see that you have successfully built your skills and persisted so that you can pursue your passion in photography.
      I am very sorry to hear about what your husband has went through. It is good to see that you have been able to save his life during those dark times. Although I don’t work with veterans therapeutically, my research considers how the social transition from the military to civilian life contributes to suicidal ideation, in addition to PTSD and moral injury from combat.

  25. MichelleMarie

    Wonderful post! I did follow my passion and my dream they are the same, I also have 20+ yr. career so I don’t know if maybe it’s a generational change or what but either way I love your post! Thanks for visiting my blog! Blessings to you on your wonderful and bright future! 😀

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for the comment. Good to see you have been able to have a 20+ year career filled with passion and happiness.

      • MichelleMarie

        OH yes I agree with you! I know and can tell just from your writing there is a passion there as well. I think as we grow our passion expanses and we find things we didn’t even know we liked. Inside of each of us is a well spring of talent and things to share! How lovely of you to come over to my part of the world and include me in your beautiful journey! Blessings on your day! ღ(✿◡‿◡✿)ღ

  26. stayathomemogul

    Reblogged this on The Stay At Home Mogul and commented:
    Should you follow your “passion”? What exactly does “passion” mean to you? Steve Rose gives an excellent Steve Rose gives an excellent viewpoint to pursuing passion.

  27. shilohthegift

    This is a well written page, and I appreciate what you have to say. However, I must say that passion should have something to say in the direction one chooses to go in. I have made good money in jobs that I hated. Money, as we all know, cannot bring happiness by itself. I believe we have to have a balanced approach in life. Living a life ignoring passion is emptiness while living a life solely on passion can cause us to completely fail to prepare for tomorrow. On another thought, I have done studies that compare suicide rates between what is termed “religious people” versus “non-religious people” and the non-religious suicide rate is much higher. Have you considered this stat while preparing your dissertation? I hope you hit a home run, you are a good writer.

  28. Fred Arnold

    Reblogged this on My world, my design and commented:
    A great for the man or woman who needs a motivational boost. Steve gives an enlightening view on the ideals of “passion” in a context that resonates with everyday life. I found that I knew what he meant without ever actually thinking it myself, but it makes sense. Take a minute out of your day to read this, you will not be sorry you did. And Steve, thank you for these amazing words in digital form.
    Best regards,

  29. Fred Arnold

    Great read, reblogged and shared over my social media. Thanks for the valuable read!
    Best regards,

  30. gamingfather2015

    I agree with what you said earlier in the comments (reply to a comment) about you can’t create a spark without striking the flint first. I’ve spent almost 32 years with no identity and totally lost in who I am or am “suppose” to be. As a disabled father, I have finally found my identity and passion. I have always wondered how I could thrive on helping others without pushing my thoughts, ideas, passions and concerns on anyone. After a little bit of web searching, I finally found a way to do that and now I’m continuing my college education for this purpose.

  31. orangesky05

    As a young person, I think a lot about career selection and development. This post could not be more relevant. Thanks & keep up the great writing!

  32. itsawonderfilledlife

    I love your blog posts! They are ‘real’, inspirational and thought provoking. This one did not disappoint! I love the spin you put in the popularity of the push for passion. The reality is that no passion or profession can be pursued without putting hard work into doing what needs to be done, to be successful. My own experience is that I have skills and gifted ness to work with people with special needs, yet my passion is to encourage, and empower teens on the edge (often those who keep their heads down while walking through the hallways). Working within my skill set has opened the door to utilizing my passion. I love that the two can occure simultaneously together.

  33. Georgina Land - Founder of www.afatlotofgood.co.uk

    Really really loved this article, it really has made me reflect deeper into this loosely used word in my industry. Incredibly grateful, I will certainly be using this advisory in practice.

  34. pedagogueangst

    The Steve Jobs example is a good one–he wrote an essay about this…..

  35. alesiablogs

    Hey Man!! Thanks for dropping by and following. Love the “passion” I see in yours! I am always looking for new and Revelation type insight to bring focus back into my life.

    • steveroseblog

      You have a great blog! Thank you for your comments!

  36. alesiablogs

    BTW I am a ARMY nurse vet. Thanks for your service.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you, but I have not served in the military.

      • alesiablogs

        Oh wow! I thought I read that on your blog! Thx for setting me straight! Hey I appreciate you no matter…

  37. odonnelljack52

    I like the kind of hippie idea of following your passion and finding your path, (or your path finding you). If life could be like wine it would be indeed sweet. Most folk I know live on the bitter dregs. We live in a gerontocracy based on individualism, the worship of greed and the movement of resources from the poor to the rich. We live in Mark Twain’s gilded age, but for the many life has lost its lustre. Follow your path, yeh, if only.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for sharing your insight. I agree that following your passion has become somewhat of a “hippie idea” as you say. I think the article I post tonight should clarify a bit more about how we have forgotten that the word “passion” comes from a Latin word that means “suffering”.

  38. Ian Gardner

    Hello Steve, for what it is worth here is a quote from my “File” Consider This:
    Passionate & Dispassionate.
    In the modern, westernised world – a world increasingly of exaggeration, induced excitement, excess and titillation – it is common for people to be encouraged to be passionate about something. Such encouragement is misplaced because passion is an excessive emotion. What may be intended is not passion but enthusiasm (which should be tempered by moderation).
    The opposite of passionate is dispassionate and, whilst the former is a hindrance to spiritual growth, the latter is a help. The reason for this, as explained fully by me elsewhere, is that emotion is a state of mind and that the mind is a hindrance to spiritual understanding and, therefore, spiritual growth.
    Being dispassionate, on the other hand, is more a state of being than a state of mind: it is on the cusp as it were, with the greater part of it being a state of being. Being dispassionate is akin to being non-attached which is a state of being – the spiritual state.
    Below are definitions from dictionary.com:
    [pash-uh-nit] Show IPA
    having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling; fervid: a passionate advocate of socialism.
    easily aroused to or influenced by sexual desire; ardently sensual.
    expressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling; emotional: passionate language.
    intense or vehement, as emotions or feelings: passionate grief.
    easily moved to anger; quick-tempered; irascible.
    [dis-pash-uh-nit] Show IPA
    free from or unaffected by passion; devoid of personal feeling or bias; impartial; calm.

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for sharing your perspective. My perspective differs since I do believe passion is valuable spiritually and vocationally. I have a post coming out on this in a half hour.

      • Ian Gardner

        Everyone has the right to a point of view 🙂

  39. subhashree15

    Absolutely loved your article. Understand the true meaning of passion and utilize the skills in your field. How true.

  40. Writing to Freedom

    Thanks for a different view of passion Steve. It’s often pitched as the magic key to happiness and success. Maybe I’ve been chasing my tail. And I suspect it’s not an either / or, but both passion and dedication that really leads to a fulfilling life. pondering passion, Brad 🙂

    • steveroseblog

      I completely agree.. It’s not an “either/or” scenario, but rather, “both/and.” Both passion and dedication go hand in hand and are intertwined with both suffering and rewards.

  41. Gordon (RoughTradeEditor)

    This definitely made me think, which I appreciate. I’d agree you can’t push your passion; that it is better utilized by gently prodding it and moving with it’s up and downs. But I think everyone’s passion operate differently. For example, with my passion for writing, it is not necessary to believe I am “contributing to a larger purpose” outside of myself. Mine is self-contained. And with the realities of my life, as of now, it is unrealistic for me to pursue it as my main career although it is more important to me than the work I do for pay at the moment. Just my thoughts. Keep up the good work. We here at RoughTradeBlog will be keeping an eye one you…

    • steveroseblog

      Thank you for sharing these insights into your passion for writing.

  42. Shalom Schultz Designs

    Wow, what great advice! I often get frustrated at myself for what seems to be an ever-shifting creative focus. I like to do too many different things & have trouble seeing projects through to the finish. It’s something I’m trying to be better at. But I’ve also realized that I need to allow myself the freedom to explore all the creative outlets that interest me because inevitably the things I do finish & are most proud of are quite different from the initial seeds of ideas I’ve had.

  43. careyrowland

    Great advice, Steve. You’re on the right track, and your encouragement will resonate with those who are truly working to do the best they can with what they have. Keep up the good work.

  44. valentinevitality

    Hi from Sydney, Australia!
    Very nice to make your acquaintance.
    I am a student of life and i love deducing over time trends from what I observe in society on a daily basis. I use this understanding to predict the future.
    It is lovely to get acquainted with someone who formally studies society. Governments need more people like you.
    Keep up the great work.
    Cheers from Sydney!

  45. Sarah Best

    Hey, good luck with the rest of the doctorate. I have really enjoyed reading your posts as a teacher of Sociology to high school students 🙂



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