On Passion

Things tend to happen for a reason, right? That is certainly how last night went. I spent the afternoon at CSI and noticed several local friends all a-twitter as they showed up for the stay fresh event happening downstairs from me.

The main presentation of the night was Peter Flaschner (aka @flashlight) talking about Passion. So, I decided to crash the party.

Passion is something very much on my mind lately: specifically finding, cultivating and making space in my life for it. I am the kind of person who is cursed (or blessed) by having a really hard time doing things without passion. Lately, I’ve seen a dip in my personal productivity (and happiness) - not unrelated.

In his presentation (check it out), Peter talked about research from Robert J. Vallerand on the topic. Specifically, the nature of harmonious passion, and why it’s so important. When we do things autonomously (i.e. not for social acceptance, etc) purely for the challenge or pleasure of it, we can achieve happiness. Happiness for not only ourselves, but those around us. Harmonious passion needs no further motivation, and the rewards are plentiful.

Tim O’Reilly has been spreading a new mantra (as he does so well): work on stuff that matters. Less catchy, but the very important first principle that Tim outlines is: work on stuff that matters to you.

Fear, self doubt, other external pressures and responsibilities, however, can make the pursuit of harmonious passion so tricky.

Both Tim and Peter bring the relevance of passion and “stuff that matters” directly to the present: the environment, society and (of course) “these economic times”. We can not only make our own lives better, but affect those around us and even the world. Seems like a no-brainer, no? To borrow a tag line from Chris Messina:

This can all be made better. Ready? Begin.

I am hereby actively renewing dedication to my harmonious passions. Are you?