12/21/2019 Are You Following Your Passion?

Passion is a Pillar of Utah Lacrosse and a skill that we must practice every day.  You must think of passion not as a word, but as a tangible emotion that you can access at your beck and call.

Q: So how do you practice ‘passion’?

A: It’s as easy as noticing times when you may not acting as your most passionate self and then choosing to  ‘flip the switch’ back to your passionate, eudaimonic, best self.   As we discuss all the time, eudaimonia is Aristotle’s word for the ‘summum bonum’ or highest good.

And it’s the primary passion that all of us humans should be chasing.  It’s all about becoming best friends with our inner daimon (best-self) by more consistently expressing the best within us. That is the process of becoming happy and successful.  All secondary goals, passions, and pursuits are merely a means to this end.

With this mindset, the extrinsic outcome-goals that most people obsess about will come about easily as a by-product of our primary focus– simply showing up and joyfully improving. When we show up with presence, focus, and deliberate intention we already win by accomplishing our ‘process’ goal.

Brad Stulberg  and Steve Magness fantastically capture this idea in their genius book, “The Passion Paradox“:

Enter harmonious passion: a feeling that emerges when you are wrapped up in something primarily for the joy of the activity, when your engagement is not merely a means to an end but rather an end in itself. Harmonious passion manifests mainly from activities that are freely chosen without contingencies; when you do something because you enjoy it, not because it offers potential rewards, and not to avoid negative repercussions.

Not every moment of harmonious passion is necessarily pleasing, but overall, it is deeply fulfilling. It aligns closely with the ancient Greek notion of eudaimonia, or a kind of happiness that results not from overwhelming pleasure but from striving to meet one’s full potential by engaging in activities that one considers meaningful.

In the 1970s, the late psychologist and humanist philosopher Erich Fromm wrote of something similar, which he called productive activity, where happiness isn’t related to the attainment of possession or rewards but rather to ‘the process of ever growing aliveness . . . for living as fully as one can is so satisfactory that concern for what one might or might not attain has little chance to develop.’

The great paradox, however, is that although external achievement is never a primary goal of harmonious passion, when you become completely immersed in what you’re doing for the joy of the activity itself, it is often a by-product. Those who focus most on success are least likely to achieve it. Those who focus least on success, and focus on the process of engaging in their craft instead, are most likely to achieve it.

The essence of passion is the process of ‘ever-growing aliveness’!  Your secondary rewards will come, but you must first and foremost enjoy the doing!

So within your arena, ask yourself:

Are you working for the “secondary consequences”? The money, the prestige, the recognition?

Or, are you working because you simply LOVE the doing?

That begs the question: What do you (REALLY!) love doing? Is it Lacrosse? Great!

Do it a lot.

Watch your happiness explode.