“We hear what we want to hear, we do what we feel like doing, and despite being increasingly busy and working ourselves very hard, we accomplish very little”
Ryan Holiday (47)
In this day in age, it’s all about passion. “Find your passion” and “follow your passion” are plastered everywhere - from Instagram posts to self-help books. I read these same books and look at these same Instagram posts - follow your passions and everything will work out. Ryan Holiday in Ego is the Enemy counters those sayings by saying “don’t be passionate”. “Passion typically masks weakness.” After pondering on it for a day, I think I’ve slowly come to agree with him. In moments where I’ve been passionate about a new idea or a new project, there is weakness in that moment. Why? Well because it is a new project. What happened to my other ones? Well I am masking the fact that I did not complete them, that I lost my passion for them, and, to echo Jocko Willink, I was not disciplined to follow through. Passion is masking my weakness. Holiday actually uses a book I am a fan of to outline this exact scenario - Into the Wild.**Into the Wild follows the story of a man who follows his passion into the wilderness where he eventually passes away because his passion hid misunderstanding and lack of preparation.
So what does Ryan Holiday offer as a solution? Purpose and Realism. Purpose is “passion with boundaries” while Realism is “detachment and perspective”. Passion is about while Purpose is to and for. Purpose is pursing something outside of yourself, something greater. Realism helps us ask the questions of where to start and what to do.
Next time you find yourself passionate about an idea then, reframe it - what is the true purpose of it? Being passionate about an idea is easy, but the follow through is hard if there is not a purpose attached to it. “Make it about what you feel you must do and say, not what you care about and wish for.”