I’d like to think that I am a positive kind of guy and in general this is a good thing, but I also know that at times this can become slightly overbearing and my overflowing passions may have conspired to annoy rather than to inspire.
I have understood that it is important to retain a balanced view on life, as sometimes an excess of passion can dilute the desired effect, or even cause harm. The leader who constantly praises his team will find that his words soon lose their impact. The manager who never gives up can lose touch with reality. The sportsman who pushes himself a little too hard does more damage than good. The doctor who takes on too much work is putting the health of themselves and others in danger.
Some may also sense an element of insincerity in the overly passionate individual. Not everything in life is easy and not every day will bring everything that you hope for. Those people who fervently reply “Yes, I’m excellent, thanks, couldn’t be better”, while masking a slightly different reality, might be better served by being a bit more honest with themselves and with others. It is not a show of weakness to admit that things aren’t quite going as planned. Everyone has their disappointments in life, and no amount of passion can avoid that fact that these disappointments need to be dealt with.
When you are too passionate, it is like being falling head over heels in love. You are consumed by your feelings, relegating all of life’s other priorities into a distinct second place. Tunnel vision descends, and nothing else matters. When you are obsessed, nothing will be able to divert you from your path. In life and especially in business, this is never a good thing. You need to recognize the situations when you are getting into this “zone”, and learn to do something about it.
So, how do you rein in your passions if you are naturally this way inclined?
Personally speaking, I have found it important to still give my passions an outlet, but at the same time ensure that there are boundaries to keep them in check.
In the past, I have found that there have been periods where my work has been all-consuming. Other parts of my life suffered, and as a result I learnt to control my zest for professional development. I controlled how much work I did in the evenings or at weekends, I screened mobile calls out of hours and stopped myself from talking about work to friends and family. In short, I worked to get a better balance.
It is the same in my leisure time. I have always been a keen and competitive cyclist, and there have been multiple times in the past where I have let my passion turn into obsession. Don’t get me wrong, pushing yourself is good, but sometimes I believe you need to just need to give yourself that little sense check and remember what is really important and why.
Being passionate is undoubtedly a good thing, but there can always be a little too much, even of a good thing….
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury