top of page

T.E.A.M. Tuesday Articles 

Passion or Distraction

By Justin Simmons - Nov 21, 2023

Idea Brain.jpg

“Art is something in which you are never an expert at any point of time. It's something you hone all the time and something which is elusive all the time.” - Film Maker, Mani Ratnam

In our efforts to create and perfect the things we find so authentically beautiful, we can become intoxicated by that which captivates us. There is value in these emotions but the question then becomes, how much value?

When identifying why something may catch our attention, this value proposition can be hard to navigate. Shiny and new ideas present plenty of excitement, at least initially. Once the initial allure wears off, it may be difficult to find the same spark or gratification.

Here we face the dilemma between finding a true passion versus simply stumbling upon the latest distraction. At face value, both can present quite similarly, and for creative individuals, this occurrence may be more prevalent than for others. In either case, we stand to make decisions that may compromise our most valued resource, time. This is where it becomes imperative to do a cost analysis and identify if there is a true passion to be explored or just another marginal interest to be acknowledged.

The things we tend to describe as ‘good’ rather than ‘great’ are a subtle distinction worth noting within the context of our expressed delivery. Considering the immense value of our time spent on any activity, the more goods we can replace with greats should yield higher returns. Trimming of lower-hanging fruit from our agenda will organically focus us on items and ideas of elevated interest.

The efforts we’re willing to invest in our passionate endeavors will be telling of their worth as well. Increased planning, research, and sacrifice will be required but won’t feel the same as typical tasks. The desire to communicate the topic and share it with others may also take on a new form. Eagerness to discuss but hesitance to share too much is a key indicator of strategic thinking. Suddenly superficial elements such as bragging lose their intrigue. This is natural for the process as our mind begins to hold us accountable to deliver more than boast of hypotheticals. Like any object of value, we become prideful of its importance and protective of its wellbeing. Simply stated, we care too much about the goal to worry about what others think.

The act of caring ignites our brain in a highly potent manner and is driven by our Limbic System. Here we have several parts that control emotional and behavioral responses. The hippocampus for example is the portion that consolidates information for both short and long-term memory. This is an important factor for our passions to stay relevant as we will need to recall why we had the impulse to proceed in the first place. If we can’t call upon long-lasting emotions, the chances of staying motivated diminish greatly.

Evaluating risk and reward will also become a relentless process we must get accustomed to enduring. The portion of the brain that helps navigate these decisions is called the Ventral Striatum, a cluster of interconnected nuclei responsible for processing how we view reward.

The rewards we earn through following our passions will be long-term but also include short-term milestones. As we follow our plan and set the expectations necessary to appreciate the commitments we make each day, we must also remember why we deserve to recognize ourselves along the way.

Pride is built by doing and our accomplishments are the reward for these efforts. Receiving accolades from others is a wonderful gesture and will feel invigorating but it’s only a byproduct of our doing, not the driving force.

Imagine for a moment something you do solely for the acknowledgment of others. This is not a passion, in fact, it most likely falls under the category of distraction. If what you do gains attention, this will be a measure of success for your performance but nothing more. The work you do will speak for itself and your satisfaction will be the hardest to achieve.

This is the defining lesson, a way to qualify that which we embark upon. The value of what we truly seek is not in the eyes and acceptance of others, it's within ourselves. When we find our purpose, it will speak to us from within. We won’t need the shouting of external approvals or praise. Such things will serve as positive reinforcement and certainly be appreciated but everything we hope to achieve will be just that, our hopes and dreams for the future.

Passion is contagious, we can expect others to embrace our positive energy and wish to join in. This only happens, however, upon our decision to initiate action and of course, signs of success. There will be plenty of naysayers as well, not to worry, it won’t be all bandwagons.  The start of anything worth starting is where we need to first believe in it ourselves. This is the challenge, knowing when to act or pass.

Excitement isn’t enough on its own, take the time to think deeper and allow your brain to process the information for what it's worth. The value of what you wish to accomplish will prove evident as you formulate a plan of action. In doing so the eventual gains should outweigh the inevitable challenges. Then it’s up to you, solely your discretion to decide how much you’re willing to bear and at what cost.

Finding our passions or proving endeavors to be nothing more than a distraction are both equally important steps toward long-term growth. In either case, our attention is focused on maintaining forward progress and guided by inner direction. Taking charge of this internal process will help to ensure we never settle for just the applause of the crowd. We should strive to someday applaud our own creations in celebration of that which only we can bring to life. There is passion inside us all just waiting for the ignition key to be engaged. Are you ready to discover the power of your mindset?

bottom of page