Fine dividing line between Passion and Obsession or Dogma/Doctrine!

Passion to live in a home! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

On the face of it, this topic may not be very interesting to you. But hang on a bit and think it over – you want to do what you love or you want to love what you do? Which of the 2 options you choose can make a difference of day and night! If you believe that, you must know the following:

In modern corporate life, time and again you would hear – you must be passionate about what you do; in other words, you must love what you do. How does that differ from desire to do? What happens, if your love changes to lust? Is it not the same as passion changing to obsession?

No leader had ever become laudable, unless he/she had passion for what he/she pursued! Look at some examples – Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos of Amazon Inc.

But, then there are also very successful personalities like Michelangelo, Michael Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, David Beckham or Donald Trump – Republican Party hopeful for 2016 US Presidential election. They have been adjudged by many as obsessive. Even Charles Darwin was known to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). How about Vladimir Putin – current Russian President, who is a real hero in the eyes of his countryman? He is dogmatic!

Now, see the effect of fine line between passion versus obsession or dogma. According to author Joshua Kendall, Steve Jobs was obsessive. Though he made Apple as the most imaginative successful company in the world, his obsession costed him happiness, health and family! Though Winston Churchill has been acclaimed as a passionate statesman, he had visibly showed signs of being dogmatic!!

Distinguishing passion from obsession or dogma/doctrine

Here below are the key differences among the three:

  1. Passion is consequence of consciousness; whereas obsession is an emotion and dogma/doctrine is driven by strong biases.
  2. Passion means mindfulness; on other hands, obsession is mindlessness and d/d is rashness or even madness.
  3. Passion is backed up by rationale; but the base of other two is rigidity.
  4. Passion thrives on reasonableness; obsession on recklessness and d/d on ruthlessness.
  5. Passion is coupled with consideration and kindness; however, the other two are devoid of concerns and cultivate cruelty.
  6. Foundation of passion is wisdom; but obsession is weird and d/d is vindictive.
  7. Passion allows freedom to focus on all aspects of what you are passionate about; other two generate fear as well as focus on single aspect of what you are obsessed or dogmatic about.
  8. Passion has peace! Obsession or dogma/doctrine has noise and turbulence!!
  9. Passion is what you implement for self; obsession and d/d are what you impose on others.
  10. An impartial observer would love you for your passion but hate you for your obsession and dogma/doctrine! 

Notwithstanding the above, a very common and confusing element in three of these is very intense feeling, though in 3 different shades, for a person, object, idea or activity; only the method to execute the same and attitude underneath change! 

Preventing to cross-over from passion to obsession or dogma/doctrine!

When you become passionate, you come on a slippery slope and can easily slip into obsession or dogma/doctrine and hence, always be aware of perils of the latter two illustrated in ten points above!

Catch the phrase mentioned in the beginning of this article once more – “What works – Do what you love or love what you do”. There is an extra-ordinary meaning behind this ordinary phrase! 

If you do only what you love or like, you would run eminent risk of converting your love into lust; make a maniac. If your passion for beauty migrates to love for body, you would fall prey to obsession. If you love or respect only God or godmen, and not godly messages and acts, it would generate in you religious fanatic. Your focus or passion for your duties is what would turn into great performance and ownership; however, doing it for love or attracting attention of employer/s would no doubt brand you loyal but make you laggard!

If you only do what you like or love, you would tend to overlook or omit what you ought to do, because you may not love that. This is what seemed to have troubled Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and several famous leaders. 

True passion is to love what you do and not love for whom you do! Love your objectives and not the objects to achieve same! If you put your trust in this, you can never transgress into obsession or dogma or doctrine!!

Passion is always positive! Apart from bringing to you what is elaborated in above points, it makes you highly focused and dedicated, brings you tremendous purpose and ownership and promotes innovation and creativity at the same time. It is in your hands to develop your passions. Never carry false notion of passion being necessarily a gift of your genes. To be passionate for what all you do should be your top agenda!

Best option is to determine and develop passion after setting your goals. Whereas passion and goals are individually golden, alignment of the two together is what makes it platinum and that also helps you to prevent crossing the fine dividing line between what is desired and what is to be damned!

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6 Comments
  • Rudra
    Oct 31,2015 at 7:04 pm

    I would want to do what I love! The latter I can’t!!

    I always loved working on computers, interacting with new people almost every day, traveling the World… and that’s what I am doing today. I tried ‘loving’ programming for few years, programming never loved me back!

    So I think your post emphasizes on the other option – love what you do! Can this really happen? You cited examples of many great achievers and sportsmen, and I have always heard in many interviews that those people had some dreams, they backed it up with utter passion and hard work and it eventually paid-off for them. They didn’t go for what they didn’t love.

    If you don’t love something, how can you do that in the first place? If you are still doing it, that means you are under huge compulsion!

    OK, if you should love what you do, then what if even after continuous doing; you are not able to love it? Leave that task and move-on to something that you love, or keep trying your best in the existing field?

    Please clear me out as I think I have mixed-up things here… :-O 🙂

    • Nov 1,2015 at 4:14 pm

      Many thanks for sharing and explaining your thoughts!

      Pardon my saying so – you seem to have mixed up. May be it is because (you have to it figure out) of fixation for doing what you love; but then, is not it a shade less or more of obsession?

      Take a very common example – you love to earn money but don’t love to keep records and file taxes. So, what do you do – feel repulsive to file taxes, in which case you would make more mistakes; would not learn how to plan and save taxes. Alternatively, you would evade taxes? Does that help or is not it far more inefficient not to put your eyes and ears for what you have to do in any case?

      It looks like you have concluded that loving what you do means not doing what you love! Secret of this sentence is – If you love what you do means (a) you would do what you love in any case (b) you would develop love for what you ought to do for which you are otherwise neutral and (c) you would try and overcome obsession of hating and hesitation of not doing what you don’t love, but you have to do as demand of your duty or compliance!

      From where the love for specific things fall – not from heaven! You develop up it consciously or unconsciously!!

      I don’t believe that great people came about by doing only what they loved. They loved all what they did! Very often there are wrong message given by these people – this is where is the necessity of – change your ideas!!

      • Rudra
        Nov 4,2015 at 1:12 am

        Thanks!! I think the paragraph (having the bold sentence) in your response did the trick for me.

        I would certainly like to believe that I got the message, but even if I didn’t, I will do/love and keep doing/loving whatever my heart says. My mind doesn’t help me usually!! 🙂

        I’ll keep a daylight between passion and obsession… 🙂

        • Nov 4,2015 at 1:16 pm

          Many thanks for your understanding!

          Please do follow your heart; look into why your own mind does not help you. After all, it is all mind!!

  • Ravi Athalye
    Oct 30,2015 at 2:50 pm

    So true! Time well spent in articulating the difference between passion and obsession.

    Thanks for the analysis.

    Ravi

    • Oct 30,2015 at 3:08 pm

      I am grateful for your valuable views and feedback! Also, I remain highly impressed with your great understanding!!

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