The Passion Paradox
A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life
The coauthors of the bestselling Peak Performance dive into the fascinating science behind passion, showing how it can lead to a rich and meaningful life while also illuminating the ways in which it is a double-edged sword. Here’s how to cultivate a passion that will take you to great heights—while minimizing the risk of an equally great fall.
Common advice is to find and follow your passion. A life of passion is a good life, or so we are told. But it's not that simple. Rarely is passion something that you just stumble upon, and the same drive that fuels breakthroughs—whether they're athletic, scientific, entrepreneurial, or artistic—can be every bit as destructive as it is productive. Yes, passion can be a wonderful gift, but only if you know how to channel it. If you're not careful, passion can become an awful curse, leading to endless seeking, suffering, and burnout.
Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness once again team up, this time to demystify passion, showing readers how they can find and cultivate their passion, sustainably harness its power, and avoid its dangers. They ultimately argue that passion and balance--that other virtue touted by our culture--are incompatible, and that to find your passion, you must lose balance. And that's not always a bad thing. They show readers how to develop the right kind of passion, the kind that lets you achieve great things without ruining your life. Swift, compact, and powerful, this thought-provoking book combines captivating stories of extraordinarily passionate individuals with the latest science on the biological and psychological factors that give rise to—and every bit as important, sustain—passion.
Journalist Stulberg and long-distance running coach Magness (Peak Performance) team up again for a valuable volume about finding and embracing passion, avoiding burnout, and carefully navigating an unbalanced life. They first outline how to determine the level of commitment required to go all-in on a passion, asking readers to think deeply about what responsibilities and other goals they will have to give up. Then, they attack the illusion of balance, writing that passion and balance are antithetical. For the authors, self-awareness is more important that living a balanced life. "Self-awareness which, paradoxically comes from distancing your self' is the only force strong enough to counter passion's overwhelming inertia," they counsel. As long as passion is harmonious and an individual is aware of what he or she is sacrificing, there is no wrong choice, they write; the only danger comes from a passion controlling an individual. By including short profiles of those they believe successfully navigate the passion paradox, particularly Warren Buffett and his unbalanced yet altruistic motivations, the authors outline the rewards of investing time, attention, and energy to achieve excellence. Motivational "Passion Practices," such as "adopt the mind-set of a super champion" and "don't become overly discouraged or saddened by failure," are included at the end of each chapter. Readers looking for direction on how to better cultivate their passions will want to give this a look.