Is Passion Overrated?

I shot this a few weeks ago. It’s kind of a rant, it’s kind of fiery, but it’s a topic I’m hot about right now and that I think you’ll get a lot out of.

(For more on my Retreat programs, click here.)

Let me tell you why passion is overrated.

To clarify this: INITIAL passion is what I’m talking about here.

In my professional life I used to find myself interviewing people who were incredibly passionate about a possible job opportunity in my organisation.

The most passionate people of all would say things like, “I’ve always wanted to be a part of something like this” and “I’ll give it my all, I’ll work day and night to make this a success”.

In the beginning I’d think, ‘Wow this person really wants it. I’m going to bring this person on board’.

But the problem was that their passion was UNEARNED.

That person didn’t necessarily even know what the day-to-day of their job would be, and very often when things got tough that same person would come back to me to say, “there’s this other thing I’m really passionate about that I have to pursue. I love working with you, but there’s this thing I really have to go for.”

They’d get passionate about the next thing that came along in the same unearned way.

Passion when it’s unearned tends to be the number one quality of the dabbler.

You see it everywhere. You see people getting crazy exciting about something… and then five minutes later? They’re onto the next shiny thing having realised it’s not ‘perfect’, that it does get hard, and that they’re not going to enjoy every single minute of the day.

I’ve learned to be sceptical of initial passion.

I’ve learned that it’s much easier to find someone who can start something that it is to find someone who can finish something. People who can finish things are a lot more rare.

It takes real passion to be able to finish something; it takes a novelty to start something.

The people who are really passionate about something have a RELATIONSHIP with that thing.

If they’re passionate about a career path, they have a relationship with that career. If they’re passionate about a sport, they have a relationship with that sport. If they’re passionate about that person, they have a relationship with that person.

This is very different from showing interest in something. A relationship has ups and downs, it’s every minute of the day, and it’s something that you suffer for.

Passion comes from the Latin verb ‘pati’, meaning to suffer or endure.

That’s what passion really is. Not doing something for the sake of it or because someone else told you to, but because deep inside you have a relationship with the thing you have to endure.

The number one way women get hurt in relationships is by overvaluing initial passion, instead of valuing investment from a guy.

You know what it’s like when a guy comes up to you to tell you that you’re ‘the most incredible thing on the planet’ and that you’re ‘so beautiful and elegant’ and that he ‘must spend time with you’.

When you feel that, you know it’s unearned. How could he be so excited about you already? You see this and you’re rightly sceptical.

Carry this mentality into all of your interactions.

Start looking out for those rare moments where you find people who really give over the long-term.

When you find something you really want to do, invest in it over the long-term.

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I’m in Florida having just finished two of my Lifestyle Retreat programs. We’re going to try and get a video recorded out here to show you what it looks like. If you want to find out more about the program in the meantime, check out the main Retreat page here.

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71 Replies to “Is Passion Overrated?”

  1. Very insightful information!
    excellent perspective on investment…
    I really love this one.
    Sharing it with my precious teen girl

  2. Good morning, Matt!

    Yes, this is something I’ve heard you mention many times but I wish I had more clarity on it. I do think initial passion can burn itself out. But I don’t necessarily think it’s because the person is flaky or just likes to be passionate about many things and hops around indiscriminately. It’s just it takes time to really know a person or a job or an interest to really know if you WANT to suffer for it. It’s not something you can know on Day 1 or Day 15 or Day 45. So for that early time, all you’ve got is that initial spark until you do know. I think it’s wise to not ignore passion and yet to expect it to peter out until you find the people, jobs, interests, etc that are right for you.

    What do you do until then, though? Until you know? That’s the thing. Say it’s a guy. You’ve got initial passion. You don’t know if he’s worth it for the long-term, but for now you’ve got to manage that passion. Only thing to do is not commit too soon. Like many jobs have a three-month probationary period. Not a bad idea.

    Lastly, I think you have to have initial passion. Some spark. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but some spark has to be there. So we shouldn’t overrate it as the end all and be all, but we shouldn’t underrate it, either. The thing is? I’ll speak for myself. Sometimes it feels like I’m not passionate about many things much anymore. So when I do feel it, it’s so exciting and so unmistakable and so . . . real. It’s a real feeling that’s better than feeling absolutely nothing. That’s why we love it. :-)

    Through your programs I’m learning to still be passionate but to link it to investment. What am I getting back from the thing or person? When they invest in me, I let myself feel more passionate about them. It’s a hard thing to learn because it takes more time and is a bit more murky because you actually have to . . . wait and see how things play out.

    So yeah, passion is great and I think there is nothing wrong with going with it, as long as you can keep some perspective and ask yourself: is the thing I’m passionate about investing and giving back to me?

    That’s what I’ve learned to ask. Difficult, but I’m practicing it. :-) Thanks, Matt.

    -A

  3. I have never trusted the initial passion in man so I couldn´t agree more.

    Passion is great but people thing is just about beeing in a nice mood every minute when it´s not like that. Passion is sacriface too, as you have said.

  4. Great piece. Thank you. Fits perfectly with what I’m thinkin about right now. Like how you make these relevant to love AND life. Your arms were completely distracting from what you were saying, but You Go, Matt!! <3 "Being passionate about something means having a relationship." Great stuff.

  5. Wow Matt, this one really struck a chord with me both in terms of relationships and life goals but also about who I am as a person.

    There are things that I am extremely passionate about and you’re right, my true passions such as painting, aren’t always a pleasure. When I paint, I feel compelled to do it but it’s hard work and sometimes exceptionally frustrating but I can’t give it up, no matter what. It’s a big part of who I am and I can’t begin to describe the pride and satisfaction I feel once my work is complete.

    I have lost my way somewhat over the last few weeks and months, not knowing where I am at this stage in my life with aspirations and relationships but this video has helped put a few things into perspective for me so a massive thank you. You’re truly inspirational.

    Take care

    Jo x

  6. Hi Matt,
    Very nice post. But what if you are on the other side? What if you are the one yourself who is always really passionate about new things, be it new jobs or new hobbies or new people? How do you hold back on that to make sure it is really this one job you want to commit to, or hobby, or person? I feel like I am doing that, and I feel I’m pushing away new people with too much initial passion, and seems like I might be putting of potential employers with it, too, if they see it the same way you do. Any advice on how to change?
    Mir

    1. Invest some time and effort into figuring out how much time and effort the project is actually going to take and be honest with yourself about whether you have it in you to invest that over the long term. Being overly excited about something you’ve never tried generally displays a complete lack of in depth understanding, both about the subject and the amount of time, work and emotional investment it will require in the long term.
      Best of luck.

  7. Thank you for another lesson, Matthew! It seems you can develop thoughts on anything. Can you enlighten us about patience and endurance in relationships as well? How to become perfect. . . ‘almost’ perfect rather.

    1. I mean, you love the guy but he suffers from emotional illness or something like that. To leave is the option, I know, but do we always have to run from a problem? I do believe, it’s possible to heal the person, but oh how much power that requires to accomplish, inhuman power.

  8. Wow this video could not come at a better time!

    I totally agree about the short term excitement am currently a point where I am truly trying to figure out my PASSION in career. Something I won’t get sick of a year later..I have in the past committed to jobs for a good amount of time 2-4 years but there comes a point of Dead end!

    How do you prevent this dead end?

    I understand you need to endure investment but at which point do you figure out that it’s not worth investing in?

    In relationships it’s easier to figure that out because its a two way street and if the other person is not pulling their weight .. You can move on because your needs are not being met –

    But it’s much more difficult in a career when so many factors are involved.

    Wished there was a method :$

    P.s- you look great Matt! Thanks for the continued effort :)

  9. Totally Agree. Passion cannot not last without true commitment to that passion.
    Love the picture on the beach. What a great time on the Retreat. Can’t believe I have been home over a week now.
    Love Rose

  10. I love this video, it was very necessary. I think it’s something we mostly know deep down, but now u put words to it and it makes perfect sense. Thanks Matthew

  11. I do believe intially passion can be overrated especially guys that hover over you because they do have an agenda. Which I tended to avoid.

    I have commented because I think your videos are very inspiring for women. I think personally you have helped me gain a confidence that I truly did not think I ever have. Your videos really put everything into a clear perspective. The videos Matthew posted made me realize why I may have been single and what signals I may have been putting out and what guys I was attracting. So I took some of Matthew’s advice and tested it out without thinking “oh I should try this and that and see what happens”. I did it naturally and there was this one night I met this outstanding guy that I am now in a relationship with. He meets every need that I deserve and I hope I do the same for him.
    I am not posting this because I think Matthew Hussey should take full credit for meeting the right guy but I can say taking Hussey’s advice in account just like friends and family does help just to consider it with an open mind.

    I want to thank Matthew Hussey for his words of advice and reminding me that there are nice guys out there but I needed to be patient and set standards.

    Yes, it’s corny and unlikely for most women but this is my thank you note.

  12. This is very true. Everytime I meet a guy they are full of compliments which I never take seriously. Currently there is a guy in my life who says he works really hard and is so busy but that he wants to try and make time for me. He throws me crumbs to get me excited and tempt me into sticking around until he finds time, but I’ve now faced the fact that he simply doesn’t want to invest in pursuing me; he calls but then disappears for a while and then reappears. We finally met up last weekend but Ive not heard from him since so I guess that’s that lol. I’m fed up of him taking me for granted so I’m now gladly moving on. I don’t need guys in my life who don’t back up their chat – their so called passion about how ‘amazing’ I am always proves empty and meaningless without solid evidence (actual actions that indicate their genuine admiration and interest in me) of their ‘passionate’ comments/attitude. I don’t usually post comments but thus video was just feeling too close to home tonight; it just reinforced my belief that I deserve a guy who genuinely deserve a great guy who genuinely wants to invest me and sticking around waiting for guys who refuse to invest in me in simply tantamount to me saying I’m not worth a guy’s time and I’ll settle for less. Er, no, that’s not me. I am a high value woman and I choose my own validation of myself over than a man who refuses to acknowledge my worth!

    Thanks for the video, Matthew, loved the book and look forward to seeing you in London next Saturday!

    Xx

  13. I was just thinking about how much more I love my male best-friend now, then I did years back when I initially had a huge crush (in love, actually) with him. I was thinking about how much more true and better my friendship is with him now, after several years.
    And now your post is here, as if to confirm my thoughts on the subject.
    Thanks, Matt

  14. I really love and appreciate this video, Matt!! Thank you!! I have always been skeptical of guys that act like that from the beginning, and they usually ended up being jerks. Or dumped me for another girl. I love passion in a guy but it has to take time to be developed. Your advice has helped me in so many ways. I’m definitely sharing this video with my friends!! :)

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