I’ve got several recipes from my mom. I use the same ingredients and follow the instructions to a tee. And the meals never taste the same. The reason? She’s passionate about cooking. Real productivity comes from making it your passion.
I know the idea of mom’s cooking tasting the best is probably true about all of our moms, but I believe that great accomplishment comes down to passion. I don’t mind cooking — I find it to be relaxing. But, still, it’s more of a chore — instead of something that I’m not as enthusiastic about cooking as my mom is.
What does this have to do with productivity? Well, real productivity comes from making it your passion. Don’t believe me? Well, Steve Jobs famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Jobs wasn’t alone in this belief. Richard Branson has echoed a similar sentiment. “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you.”
To be fair, though, not everyone agrees. Mark Cuban has said, “One of the great lies of life is ’follow your passions.” Scott Galloway has said that following your passion is “bulls—.” And Mike Rowe suggests that you follow the opportunity instead.
I can understand their points. But, I think Jobs and Branson got it right. And, if you’re not convinced, I’ll give you eight solid reasons why.
It keeps you energized and focused.
“Passion gives you the fuel to stay the course, and when it may not seem possible, you do it anyway,” writes Karl Moore in Forbes. “People describe that when they are ‘in the zone’ they can filter out background noise, and it’s easy to get lost in work and not notice the passage of time.”
It’s true. Think about something that you had to do that was mentally or physically tolling. If you were just doing it for the money, it was probably exhausting or the time just dragged on. But, what if it was something that you were passionate about? The time probably flew by. And, even if you were drained, it probably was a good and rewarding feeling.
Passion is good for your health.
It’s not surprising that being passionate makes you happy. I mean, why wouldn’t you be if you get to do what you love. But, there is some science to back this up thanks to the brain’s two most potent neurotransmitters – dopamine and oxytocin.
And, as you know, there is a direct link between happiness and health. Besides reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, it can also lower inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
What’s more, via Total Brain Health, passion leads to a healthier brain by enhancing its neuroplasticity. It can also aid in preventing memory loss and helps maintain everyday intellectual skills.
As if I need to remind you, when you’re healthier and happier, you’re more productive. Remember that being healthier and happier involves self-care, taking breaks when needed, and even taking a vacation now and then.
It fuels your self-belief.
“You’re never passionate about something you think will fail, writes Kim Reed Perell in Success Magazine. “Let that determination burn at full force and drive your trust in your ability to succeed.”
“If you believe that your dream is achievable, you will act accordingly,” adds Kim. “Use your passion to keep your daily and monthly goals for yourself and your company within reach. The confidence you hold in your future will trickle down to anyone helping you work toward your startup’s success.”
Enables creativity and innovation.
Yes. Creativity runs on passion — it’s been scientifically proven. As Zorana Ivcevic Pringle Ph.D. explains this when you’re interested and care about your work, you spend more time on it. More importantly, you’re also more likely to “devise problems and find opportunities for creation themselves.”
Of course, there are times when your work, no matter how much you love it, can be frustrating. And that’s not always a bad thing. The reason? You can use those feelings to come up with innovative solutions to solve them, which, in turn, fuels productivity.
Keeps you motivated and engaged.
Several factors can foster intrinsic motivation. Examples would be autonomy, knowledge, progress, and recognition. Is there another factor I left out? I think that you know the answer to that question.
Passion keeps you motivated and engaged daily. You know what you need to get done, and you’re going to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Furthermore, having passion while inspires persistence when you’ve experienced a setback or are in a slump.
Encourages you to excel.
I think that this is obvious. It’s like my mom’s cooking. When you’re passionate, you strive to prepare and serve the best dish possible. And, not some type of fast food slop that was thrown together without concern of the taste or presentation.
In short, when you’re passionate, you’re always going to put your best foot forward.
Strengthens your relationships.
When you’re healthier, happier, and more focused, then others want to be around you. Think about it. You’re pleasant to be around. Instead of making excuses, you solve problems. And, you also have a more positive attitude about work — which means your partners and colleagues will be more willing to collaborate with you.
But, passion can also strengthen the relationships outside of work. For example, if you aren’t as stressed about your work, then you’re not bringing that home with you. I’m sure that your family and friends will appreciate that since you aren’t moaning and groaning about work.
It helps you manage your workload.
Finally, passion can help you manage your workload. That may sound a bit out there. But, hear me out. When you enjoy what you’re doing, then that’s what you’re going to spend the majority of your time doing. For example, if you’re a chef, and that’s your passion, then you’re going to be working in the kitchen and delegating administrative responsibilities to someone instead of doing it yourself.
When you manage your workload, you will be better able to build on your productivity.
Finding and maintaining your passion.
I don’t have an exact formula to help you determine what your passion is. But, I came across a blog post written by Dan Erickson that I believe can guide you in the right direction.
Dan recommends that you first get to know yourself by writing in a journal. When you do, you might discover what truly makes you happy, your favorite activities, what your good at, and where you want to go.
“It’s a simple concept,” writes Dan. “Keep track of your own thoughts and behaviors, and you’ll discover more about who you are.”
After you get to know yourself and identifying your passion, you need to keep that fire going. It’s not always an easy task. But, here are some tricks that you can try.
- Take a step back and look at the bigger picture — primarily your impact.
- Enjoy the process and adventure.
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
- Don’t become complacent — keep learning and growing.
- Always do your best, but don’t be obsessed with perfectionism.
Passion won’t solve everything. But, it can certainly help you accomplish more and live a more meaningful life. If you want to be more productive — keep searching for ways that you feel comfortable with.