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The Delicate Balance Between Passion and Curiosity: Understanding Limitations and Possibilities

Meditation promotes inner peace.

Meditation promotes inner peace.

Focus on passion alone can land you in serious trouble. Many complain about negative experiences when following their passion. A study by Yale and Stanford psychologists implies that following passion creates a fixed mentality. The outcome is a frozen curiosity and a limited perception. Do curiosity and passion complement each other? Is passion misunderstood or is it just inefficient? You decide.

What Is Passion All About?

The Cambridge dictionary describes passion as an extreme interest in doing something. This interest involves strong emotions and feelings. Saying passion is destructive is similar to declaring emotions and feelings are harmful. Are they detrimental or do people suffer them by ignoring their limitations and possibilities?

The Cambridge dictionary also defines passion as the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Christ was passionate about humanity and determined to liberate the sinful. But did He rely on passion alone to run His ministry? NO! He had a certain clarity about life that made him focus beyond worldly struggles.

Without focus, passion is a burning fire that can consume you.

Curiosity and Focus

There is no other tool better at keeping you focused like curiosity. Ever seen a cat stare at a wall for 30 minutes nonstop? Without consistency in enhancing your aptitude and skills, you become incompetent, narrow-minded and frustrated. Passion on its own cannot lead you to success.

You need clarity to move with trends and identify opportunities.

You are restricted when you rely on feelings and emotions to perform in a fast-changing world. External events will never happen 100% your way, but your response to any external situation is always 100% in your hands. Following your passion exclusively will make you reactive, not responsive. So how can you develop clarity to move with changes and be spontaneous?

Cats need stimuli to remain inquisitive.

Cats need stimuli to remain inquisitive.

Develop a Strong Sense of Curiosity

Back to the Cambridge dictionary: Curiosity is defined as an eagerness to know and learn. Learning is an ongoing process, whether you're a spiritual seeker, chef, model, hacker, baby sitter, minimalist, technician or a writer. Regardless of your occupation, without learning and adjusting to changes, you can't get that far.

Think about all the super successful people around the world. They have a common trait. They are always in learning mode. Successful people understand the power of learning in self-improvement and managing risk. Imagine Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey or Steve Jobs settled for comfort by following their passion alone. They would not be as successful.

You need to do uncomfortable things to grow.

Curiosity breeds a certain level of attention within a human being. With focus, you gradually develop positive emotions and feelings because learning deepens your interest further. That is why you need a vision to guide your mind. Martin Luther, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and many other great people had a vision that they needed to see through to the end, regardless of the consequences and challenges.

When you develop a strong sense of curiosity, your emotions and feelings have no other choice but to serve you. How can you balance between the two?


How to Maintain Balance between Curiosity and Passion

Without feelings and emotions, you are just a robot that performs computational tasks. Emotions and feelings are part of you. Learn how to work with them, not follow them. But first, you need to accept discomfort as part of the change process. Nothing is permanent, everything is in a transient state. Science confirms the universe is a reverberation of energy. Nothing is really static. Why get stuck with positive feelings and emotions because you fear the discomfort of change.

You need to grow and mature. The negative stuff are manure that boost growth and transformation.

Generally, fecal matter is viewed as disgusting, but today we use it to make manure. With the same shit, a plant can mature and blossom. Releasing a fragrance that melts your heart with joy. If a plant can do it, why not you?

You can use your imagination and intellect to create a vivid vision that can guide your path. Following your passion exclusively is similar to suppressing the possibilities of your intelligence. Passion keeps you glued when events are fancy and merry. When chaos breaks out, you lose your composure and feel like sprinting to the next comfort zone. Curiosity keeps you motivated because you focus on the bigger picture.

A Simple Analogy to Paint the Big Picture

Visualize a fancy car that you’d love to drive.

Scroll to Continue

Without the fuel (emotions), the car won’t move (dry logic). Poor quality engine oil (negative thoughts) makes the engine (mind/brain) inefficient.

You learn to interpret the dashboard (feelings) to know what is happening within your system at any time (awareness). But the choice to turn on the ignition is yours. You turn on the ignition (conscious response).

  • Your fuel tank is full (emotionally motivated).
  • Engine oil is high quality (productive thoughts).
  • The engine is clean (mental health).
  • The body and chassis are in good condition (physical health).
  • The dashboard tells you everything is set (awareness).
  • Destination is 100km away (vision).
A car peels out if the driver isn't giving it gas properly.

A car peels out if the driver isn't giving it gas properly.

Turn On the Ignition

You start driving, navigating through different terrains and curves on the roads (ups and downs). After 30 km your fuel tank is almost empty (discomfort sets in/changes). Do you change your plan and go back home or find a fuel station (focus on vision/destination)? After refueling, you continue with your journey. Remember, you have the freedom to decide how to arrive at the destination (will power).

Imagine you only focus on the dashboard and the fuel you have in your tank. You rely on those two to reach your destination. After 30km, you give up. What’s worse? You are stuck in the middle of nowhere. But you are smart. You decide to refuel (flexibility) because you need to get to your destination (vision).

Setbacks come and go but you (curiosity) maintain your course (focus). What would you do with feelings (dashboard) and emotions (fuel) alone. Nothing much. You use the dashboard and the fuel tank as part of the accessories needed to get to the destination. But the fuel and the efficiency of the engine will not always be constant.

You need to refill the fuel tank and service the engine whenever changes happen. You need to carefully select the quality of oil that goes in your engine and who tags along the journey (network and friends). Bad company can make you late or change your decision and do something trivial or regrettable.

From the analogy, focus is key, passion is a fire that can take on any direction. Emotions and feelings make the trip more convenient and fun. Curiosity will see you through the end because once it’s on fire challenges become learning opportunities for growth. For any activity, focus is critical for progress.

Passion makes you human, curiosity is a force that keeps you moving forward.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Denis Odhoj


Lorna Lamon on August 27, 2019:

This is an interesting article which is well structured. I really like the analogy you used.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 25, 2019:

I had a meeting with an oncology professional just last week. We agreed that we are all just experiments. What works for her today may not tomorrow. What works for Bill may not work for me.

But I cannot remember a person suffering from passion. Although I think I have a narrow view there as I only see passion as love for life and others.

You have done well here. I think I used to be passionate about being a trial lawyer and that was misplaced passion. Thanks dude.

SHREENIDHI from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India on August 25, 2019:

Great article... love the way u have presented it..

Denis Odhoj (author) from Nairobi on August 25, 2019:

Thank you Muhammad.

Muhammad Abdullah on August 25, 2019:

Great article. Hope to read more like this one.

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