Warning: Your “Passion” Might Not Be Working

I keep stumbling upon a quote from the 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. I read it and find myself wondering how Kierkegaard nailed the 21st century right on the head. Here’s our current culture in a nutshell:

“What our age lacks is not reflection, but passion.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Of course, with all our sophistication, we think we’ve figured out how to cheat the system: We redefined reflection (“thinking and talking”) as passion.

We think if our reflection sounds passionate, that’s enough. But we’re wrong. Here’s what I mean:

When was the last time you browsed the internet or visited Barnes & Noble without seeing a new voice in the whole “Live with Passion” and “Succeed with Passion” world?

Books, articles, blogs, speeches, seminars–everyone wants to teach everyone to live with passion. To dream big. To create success. To win.

And we talk and talk and talk about it. We write about it, post about it, and comment about it, so that everyone knows how passionate we are.

But are we really living it at the office? Are we committing and following through with those goals? Are we taking those scary steps we talk about?

See, here’s what always bothers me. We’re GREAT at talking! But talking is just the first step! And while it’s an important one, it’s not nearly enough.

You don’t win at life, realize big dreams, and create success by reflecting. You succeed by acting! And therein lies true passion.

No matter how many hours you spend reading passionate Facebook notes (like this one)  and leaving passionate comments (or passionately clicking “Like”), success and fulfillment take something more. Something way bigger.

If I could make one wish for the personal development world, it would be that people would start adding REAL passion–REAL action–to all the reflection.

Don’t get me wrong: The reflection is great. The more voices out there encouraging each other to do great things, the better.

But there’s a dirty little secret most of us personal development fans won’t admit even to ourselves: For all our passionate reflection, most of us lack the actual passion to get up and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

After all, it’s a lot easier to talk about being successful than to push ourselves to our limits until we really do succeed.

One of these days, we’re going to have to put down the books, get off our favorite success-guru’s fanpage, and actually DO all these great big things we talk about.

There are lots of talkers, but not so many brave and diligent doers.

Or as Kierkegaard would say–lots of reflection, but little real passion!

Of course, you probably needed those first couple motivational books you read. And refreshers are useful. If you’re like me, you even want to help introduce others to the hope that real understanding of personal development offers people. So don’t stop the reflecting.

But until the day you decide to translate that reflection into passion in the real world, you won’t live your dream, you won’t see results, and you won’t make another penny!

No amount of reading about or discussing productivity will make you more productive. You have to actually DO it!

No amount of reading about or discussing leadership will make you a good leader. You have to actually DO it!

And no amount of reading about or discussing millionaires will make you a millionaire. You have to get up, take a deep breath, and start doing the incredibly hard work of making it happen!

In the real world, reflection must eventually take the backseat, and passion must become the main player.

Real passion will mean blood, sweat, and tears.

Real passion will mean risk, nerves, stress, rejection, failure, criticism, exhaustion, and second-guessing.

Yes, all the talk is good for us. We need to be inspired. We need to be refueled. But we can’t forget that the reflection is supposed to serve the action! To carry you through the blood, sweat, and tears!

So once we’ve reflected for a while, once we’ve refueled and gotten inspired, we HAVE to turn it into real passion. REAL passion.

Not the kind that spends all day looking at motivational quotes and inspiring memes so we feel better about ourselves!

The kind of passion that starts turning all the noisy reflection into action.

Only then will you get the results you dream to see.

What real ACTION did you take TODAY to better yourself and inch closer to your dreams?

What will you do tomorrow? Will you spend the day wishing for and dreaming of success? Or will you have the real passion to ACT?

Author: Peter Elbridge

I am a lifelong learner and avid reader, which translates into doing smart work for myself, my team, and my clients. I have a passion for effective leadership and an even bigger passion for helping others do and feel better. I have a lot of experience in communication, public speaking, and writing. Above all, I have a deep and genuine care for every life I touch. That's why I write. (My opinions and endorsements are my own and do not represent my employer.)

Thoughts, questions, tips, feedback? Please share!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s