Too Passionate

This is a different kind of article in that I want to share a story about a play that I recently saw that had amazing insights into the world of passion. Delving deep into the story-line I couldn’t help but watch the roller-coaster ride of a man living out his passion come crashing down before my eyes.

The story revolves around two characters, Harry, an obsessed bloke who wants to make the big time dancing (when really he’s not that great), and Anna, a girl looking for excitement in her life and the chance to dance in front of Royalty.

Too Passionate

The Story: Passion and Persistence

Harry was an interesting character. One thing was for certain which is why I am writing this post. He had PASSION! He lived in a dirty old room where he would practice dancing, day in and day out, while endlessly pursuing his dream of finding a dance partner to go professional with. He posted advertisements in the local paper seeking his dance partner. Unfortunately no ladies were taking the bait. Weeks and weeks went by but he never gave up. However, his unforgiving passion did lead to another key behaviour.

PERSISTENCE got him there! He found his dance partner! He did not try to change his method of posting the same advertisement in the local paper, but he kept at it with persistence.

In the business world and in the world of life, how many “No’s” do you need to hear before you reach a “Yes”? Thinking of your own life, when do you give up? Do you give up when you hear a “No” the first time? What about if you miss or make a mistake? What do you do if you fail at something the first time? Persistence is key to reaching your goal.

“The most essential factor for success is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”

Now Harry, even though he hadn’t found his dance partner for weeks, did not change his method in trying to find her. My recommendation to Harry would be to look into what could he learn from his failure to attract someone? Learning from his “No’s” and altering his advertisement, or trying a new approach may have just got him that partner FASTER!

When you hear a “no” or fail for the first time, how do you reflect on this and what do you learn from it? Is the fastest way to get to success through trying the same thing and having a thousand failures? Or is it faster to have a failure and improve your approach for the next time?

Back to the story, Harry finds his partner. They struggle at first to build a relationship and she is totally horrible at dancing. However, what they have in common is their passion for dancing. Practice, practice, practice! Living out your passion and developing your skills in this area on a daily basis gets you to where you want to go.

Harry and Anna practiced like crazy and they eventually started to get recognised as professionals in their field. HARD WORK goes in, TIME and ENERGY exhausted. However, even though they are working ridiculously hard at it, they LOVE it because it’s their PASSION.

What are you truly passionate about? If you could live out your passion on a daily basis, how hard would you work? How hard are you willing to work to be able to be in a situation so you can live out your passion?


Passion versus Obsession

Anna starts to get phenomenally good at dancing while Harry plateaus (he’s physically getting older). Anna is living a balanced life, meeting new people, traveling the world and is soon to get married. Harry, on the other hand, is just TOO passionate about dancing.

How can someone be too passionate about what they love? What happens in your life when you start to focus solely on one thing and nothing else? Harry loses sight of everything else in life around him. His friendships deteriorate, he is less productive at work, he fails to understand the political and environmental world around him. His dancing also suffers.

His passion that he loves and dedicates so much of his time to is also deteriorating, as his relationship with his dance partner, Anna, suffers on a personal level, and he can not understand the external world and how to make best use of his talents.

Moving away from the story and back to real life, being TOO passionate about a particular thing can consume one’s life and lead to a deterioration in other areas of life. The passion is no longer a passion. The passion has become an obsession which can be punishing in other areas of life.

Balancing your life is essential for absolute happiness and ultimate success. Friendships and health are often the first two key areas that people lose sight of when they are just too passionate about achieving something. When I say too passionate, I mean obsessed and dedicating too much time and energy into one particular area of life at the expense of other important areas.

Self-awareness is key to balancing your life. Knowing yourself is the foundation of happiness. Where are you currently spending your time and energy and how satisfied are you with those areas?

Be 110% dedicated and passionate for what it is you want to do. Go after it with pure dedication and determination. But  one key thing to remember is, don’t lose sight of other important areas of your life.

Tip: To see where you are currently spending your time and energy check out the Wheel of Life: A Self-Assessment Tool (it takes 2 minutes!)


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About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

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  1. I do accept as true with all the ideas you have presented on your
    post. They are really convincing and will certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. Could you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  2. Interesting article Brendon. I like hearing people’s views about passion because I’ve always thought that the focus on following your passion is overdone.

    Of course we want to spend our time doing things that inspire and fulfil us, whether in our work or social lives, and as you say this has to balanced so as not to teeter into obsession, but also the reality of any worthwhile activity and especially in business, is that it’s multifaceted and will involve aspects we’re not quite so passionate about.

    I’ve also found that the passion can come afterwards, i.e. when you build up an understanding or expertise about something. Maybe I just have a thing about the word ‘passion’ – it has so many other connotations – but you can find yourself really getting to like and enjoy something that you’ve put effort and work into doing. It might not sound so exciting but is just as relevant for those people who don’t feel they have an overriding passion to follow. And as you say Brendon the desired outcome is balance and a harmonious lifestyle.

    1. Hey Kathryn!

      You’re right. Your analogy reminds me of my personal experience with sports. Often I would watch some kind of sport (eg American Footbal) and think to myself “what an absolutely stupid and boring game” (this is how I actually felt). But then I lived in the USA for 6 months and started to learn more and more about the sport. The more I learned and understood how it worked the more passionate I became about it and the more I enjoyed it.

      It’s like a “wheel of passion” so to speak… the more you learn the more you get passionate about it and therefore the more you learn etc etc…

  3. I’ve unfortunately often observed people being way too passionate in business: this prevents them from analyzing their situatuion properly and cutting losses and moving on when needed.

    1. I agree… I think it happens a LOT in business. A business is not all about passion.. it’s also about developing a solid business model and income 🙂

  4. Poor Harry. That is sad when every other part of your life suffers because of an obsession. It is important to follow your passion and at the same time there are so many other things that can bring you happiness. This reminds me of a time when I use to do acting. I was in an acting class with a guy who was in his late 40’s. He had been trying to do acting for over 20 years and hadn’t really done anything. He lived in a small apartment by himself and hated life, but he was following his passion so that makes it okay? I don’t know. There is a fine line.

    I also agree that perseverance is key, but you need to be smart about it. What is the famous quote, it goes something like, “Stupidity is doing the same over and over again expecting different results.”

    1. Hey Seb,

      Interesting to hear of the guy doing the acting classes… sounds very similar to the play I watched! I guess it’s hard to say because it’s also quite personal. If his sole self-worth and happiness comes from acting then perhaps it’s the right thing. Yet, generally speaking, most people are complex and get their self-worth and happiness from a range of sources (eg friendships, new experiences, finance etc).


      1. That is true. We are all so complex and I think need to be multi-faceted in order to be the most happy. I definitely am a lot happier when I exercise often, spend time with friends, and work towards what I am passionate about. If I just focused on one of them then I wouldn’t be happy.

  5. Definitely agree Brandon! You see this a lot with athletes who are forced to retire early due to injury or not being good enough. Some of them drift for years because they have no idea what to do once they can no longer follow their obsession.

    1. Great example. Sometimes the passion/obsession can mean it’s the only thing you know how to do!!! Not always a good thing 🙂

  6. Brendan-

    That’s a great message about making sure you have balance with what you are doing.

    However, I think that there is always a case for immersion. If this had been strategic play on harry’s part, there wouldn’t have been a problem. By this I mean if he had been planning on doing it for a period of a few months before diving into a different area of his life.

    Immersion is great when it’s strategic. Right now I’m in a big work cycle putting in solid 12 hour days. however, I also know that this is only for another 6 weeks when I’m going to take a trip to Europe, travel, socialise and have a lot of fun.

    It’s all about the balance.

    Nice post!


    1. Hey Tom!

      Good call… you’re totally right! I think there is a time element involved in being fully immersed in something. A short burst of 6 weeks or so will not have too much of an impact on other areas such as health, relationships or finances…. but if it’s for a full year (depending on what it actually is) then it could have those negative effects.

      Indeed… it’s all about the balance 🙂


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