The thoughts in my head this week seem to be spinning. It would be too predictable to write about gratitude on Thanksgiving week. This week traditionally is when many people often take time to reflect on what they are thankful for. I like to use this slower time to reflect on many things. Over the years, I have seen passion help me accomplish great things, as well as see it make me fall flat on my face. One of the most notable and worst character attributes someone can have in life is passion. Passion can be defined in many ways, but the way I perceive it most is as “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.” I feel that I gain and lose more things in life because of my passion. Passion is something that you must learn how to control, or it can ruin someone. Passion is like possessing some form of superpower that you can abuse if it is not used correctly. I believe that to channel your inner passion, you must have self-control. Often many of us, myself included do not know how to juggle the balance of passion about an issue and maintaining self-control about the subject. The more I think about and digest it, I believe passion is simply an emotional state and a temporary and unstable one at that.
The reason passion gets so much credit is that it helps us to motivate action, and action is what generates results. When we think of many successful leaders, politicians, and motivational speakers, we see passion driving them. Passion has its peaks and valleys, so if we base our actions on our level of passion, the results will depend on how we control our emotions. I have unfortunately seen both ends of the spectrum. Using passion as your only fuel will no more assure you of success than being in love will ensure a successful long-term relationship. As I have continued to grow as a person, I have started to learn that self-discipline is far more important than passion, especially in business. If you develop the quality of self-discipline to a high degree, it will put passion to shame. Self-discipline allows you to take action and therefore get results no matter what your emotional state. Where passion is erratic, self-discipline provides steadiness and stability. When your emotions aren’t in the way, your decisions are more likely to succeed. They will succeed because they’ll be made from a state of disciplined intellect rather than from emotional peaks and valleys.
Passion is great, but it’s icing. It needs the self-discipline to back it up. Self-discipline is quieter, though. Passion gets more attention these days because it makes more noise.