Is Following Your Passion Really the Best Way to Find Love?

Dilbert creator Scott Adams blogged about passion a couple of weeks ago.

"You often hear advice from successful people that you should "Follow your passion." That sounds about right. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right?"

Well, as you know from reading this space, there's a downside to passion, too. Passion allows you to pursue something (or someone) that may not be good for you in the long run. But at least you have your PASSION, right?

That's what I told myself when I was a struggling screenwriter in my 20's. That's what Adams concludes as well.

"It's easy to be passionate about things that are working out, and that distorts our impression of the importance of passion. I've been involved in several dozen business ventures over the course of my life and each one made me excited at the start. You might even call it passion. The ones that didn't work out - and that would be most of them - slowly drained my passion as they failed. The few that worked became more exciting as they succeeded. As a result, it looks as if the projects I was most passionate about were also the ones that worked. But objectively, the passion evolved at the same rate as the success. Success caused passion more than passion caused success."

Every blue moon, I'll get an email from a reader who "just knew" that her man was her "soulmate" because they had "electric chemistry" and "immediately slept together", and here they are, 35 years later, and they're still just as "passionate as they were the day they met".

Sometimes giving up on your original passion is the key to opening up to true happiness.

This becomes the argument for following your passion. While littered at the side of the road are the THOUSANDS of people whose passionate relationships ended in tears, devastation, confusion, and frustration, causing years and years of heartbreak.

I, for one, am THRILLED that I gave up my "passion" of being a Hollywood comedy writer, and "compromised" into my current career, which, while not as lucrative or titillating as being Judd Apatow, provides me with a consistent income, no office politics, the ability to set my own hours, no commute, and the ability to make a genuine difference in people's lives.

In other words, sometimes giving up on your original passion is the key to opening up to true happiness.

Read Adams' blog entry here and share your thoughts on the power of passion below.

Join our conversation (63 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Theresa Haupl

     
     
    No, thank you.  I am one of those believers in passion who did follow her artistic passion and became successful at it…and also held out for the right man–my type, my head-over-heels–and found him as well.  Just because things are difficult and sometimes very difficult does not mean one gives up –the rewards are too immense

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Theresa, you’ve written three comments – all negative, telling me how wrong, silly or ridiculous I am. Why don’t you frequent a blog where you like and agree with the blogger? Your negativity gets me down. Besides, with your passionate career and partner, you don’t need any dating advice anyway.

      1. 1.1.1
        Malissa

        Evan, that was an awesome response!

  2. 2
    Julia

    Has anyone ever heard of a crime of passion? Passion isn’t always a good thing and can lead us into some seriously questionable situations. I know my last relationship was a crime of passion I committed against myself. Allowing myself to be miserable, controlled and put down just because the fleeting passion of the first 6 months. Never again. The best advice you’ve given me is to ditch the desire for passion and watch how a man treats me.

    1. 2.1
      girl

      I cant imagine being intimate with a man, who i dont feel any chemistry/passion with. Been there, felt like raping myself, although i liked a guys character very much. True, its very hard to find a good character and chemistry in one persone. And where is only passion you end up heartbroken. Only passion or only good character – both is a disaster acording to my experience.

  3. 3
    Ruby

    Passion that isn’t tempered by reason won’t work. Even if you embark on a career you’re passionate about, it won’t succeed if people don’t want to buy what you produce or sell. You need the judgement to know when to call it quits if it isn’t becoming successful.
     
    Romantically, the importance of passion can depend on where you are in life. If you’re 22, a passionate relationship may be at the top of your list, and if you’re very lucky, and have mature judgement, it just might work out. I know a few couples who’ve had that and are still together after many years, although not without their share of ups and downs. However, if you’re 40, and longing to get married and have kids, a passionate relationship probably shouldn’t be uppermost on your list; you’d be looking for stability first. If you’re 60 and divorced, passion also might not be at the top of your list, because you have less energy (and fewer options) than a 22 year old, and a more complicated life to focus on at this stage.

    1. 3.1
      Lily

      Let’s not presume that 60-year-old divorcees are not passionate. Many people who divorce in their 50s and 60s have come out of marriages with no passion at all and very much want to experience it again or for the first time. The gray-haired, mild-mannered accountant that you see at the grocery store may be helping his 60-year-old girlfriend experience wild, passionate sex on a regular basis which is actually quite a healthy thing.

  4. 4
    Joe

    “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”
    — Lao Tzu

  5. 5
    Helen

    Evan, I don’t think Theresa’s comment stated that you were wrong, silly, or ridiculous. She was explaining that the above wasn’t true in her circumstance. It’s the kind of answer I would have given if I had not read Adams’ article.
     
    Toward the end of his article, Adams acknowledges that passion does play a role in success, because people have passion for those things for which they possess some degree of natural talent. Hence, he feels passion for (and has success in) tennis, but not in sales.  I have passion for a particular area of biological sciences and have succeeded in it. But as Adams and I both acknowledge, it isn’t only passion that leads to success. It’s not PC to talk about one’s intelligence, however – more acceptable to discuss hard work and desire and determination.
     
    So my thoughts on this: passion does play an important role, both in determining one’s initial interest in something or someone and the energy with which s/he pursues it, but it’s not everything.

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Theresa’s comment, since deleted, used the words silly, unattractive and juvenile. I see no reason to allow personal insults to see the light of day. And I see no reason for people who don’t like my advice to read my blog. It would be like watching a TV show that you hate. What’s the point? To yell at the TV and tell it how much it sucks?

  6. 6
    Helen

    Ah, okay.  Thankfully none of us saw those comments about your being silly, unattractive, and juvenile.  That is completely inappropriate.
     
    Evan, you might be surprised at how many people do yell at TV programs and say how much they suck. 🙂  Not everything people say and do is about reason…

  7. 7
    Jackie H.

    Passion is important but it has pros and cons like everything else…If you can afford the cons, go with passion…but if not, the middle ground is not always so bad…

  8. 8
    Goldie

    One thing I can say is, if Scott Adams was a total non-believer in following one’s passion, he’d still be in that desk job at Pacific Bell. How come he quit it and doesn’t plan on going back? I’m not saying that what you do for a living has to give you orgasms every day you do it, for 8 hours a day, but not hating your job really helps. Enjoying what you do helps even more. Every one of my colleagues who’s had any level of success in their careers, enjoy what they’re doing. Same thing in relationships. You don’t have to be head over heels for a guy, but liking him really helps. Plus, from my experience, the guy seems to prefer it that you like him, and tends to break up with you if he thinks you don’t. Can’t say I blame him.

  9. 9
    Rose

    I love this post and feel in agreement on so many levels here.

  10. 10
    Monica

     
    I agree with the first poster—passion is extremely important, perhaps the most important thing in life.  And one learns that it must be tempered with reason.
     
    I think it is quite wrong of EMK to delete what criticisms people may have of his advice.  One cannot have a blog and be sensitive about disagreement.
     

     

  11. 11
    Holly

    Monica…Evan doesn’t delete comments of those people who disagree with him respectfully. Personal attacks/insults are against the rules as he has clearly stated on his blog, and I believe he deletes these inappropriate comments whether they are directed towards him or another commentor.
    A lot of bloggers delete these type of comments, and I for one am thankful. There is no reason to personally attack another person and/or their character.

  12. 12
    Helen

    Monica 12: it would depend on the type of criticism commenters made against Evan, no? If it is constructive criticism, and focuses on the content rather than making ad hominem attacks against Evan, I’m certain he usually if not always lets it through. But calling someone silly, unattractive, and juvenile (as it seems was done here) is inappropriate, and serves no good purpose either to Evan or to the readers.

  13. 13
    marymary

    Monica, 12
    I disagree.  This blog is one of the liveliest I’ve come across, with all kinds of opinions and Evans allows lots of dissenting comments. Insults aren’t permitted and that’s absolutely right.  It’s not a free for all.  A blog isn’t an open invitation to be insulted anonymously.  Think of it like a houseparty.  If you don’t like the host, don’t respect his wife,  hate the music, are allergic to the food, and loathe the other guests you can always go home.  Or set up your own blog. If you have one, can we all come over and insult you?
    Helen, 8
    I do yell at the tv but evidently they can’t hear me
    Regarding passion, when I met my current boyfriend he made no impression on me. I didn’t instantly know he was the one.  No sizzling chemistry.  He grew on me and I now love him and find him very desirable.  I wouldn’t trade him for any of my previous high octane encounters. I enjoy being with him and he says he is always happy when he is with me.  Settling’s not so bad. Rather,  I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. I think he’s a better person than me to be honest.
    No one is saying date someone you don’t like who bores you, but give that man or woman who seems a decent person but not amazing, and not your usual type, a chance. Not for their benefit, for ours.  
     

  14. 14
    Rose

    “You often hear advice from successful people that you should “Follow your passion.” That sounds about right. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right?”
    Well, as you know from reading this space, there’s a downside to passion, too. Passion allows you to pursue something (or someone) that may not be good for you in the long run. But at least you have your PASSION, right?”
    I love what you have to say here and really want to explore this. I totally agree with this for me though being pedantic the I’m not sure about the word passion I totally agree and get what  you are saying to me the word obsession comes to mind The first coming from the place of a strong sense of identity and the latter coming from a weak sense of identity.
    “Every blue moon, I’ll get an email from a reader who “just knew” that her man was her “soulmate” because they had “electric chemistry” and “immediately slept together”, and here they are, 35 years later, and they’re still just as “passionate as they were the day they met”.
    This is great how wonderful but so very rare and this to me is for people who’s electric chemistry is working properly. Properly tuned in. Coming from a fully conscious place.
    Sadly for most of us this just isn’t the case.
    Which brings me again to totally agreeing with what you wrote below.
     

    “Sometimes giving up on your original passion is the key to opening up to true happiness.” If I replace the word passion for obsession.

     
    “This becomes the argument for following your passion. While littered at the side of the road are the THOUSANDS of people whose passionate relationships ended in tears, devastation, confusion, and frustration, causing years and years of heartbreak.”
    Again totally agree and it makes me feel sad in my heart that this is happening. I don’t think they are sad when I say this, I feel sad for these peoples real suffering  it feels awful.
    And this I believe is because their electric chemistry  is broken. They believe this suffering is love, it is not real love like in the e mail you get once in a blue moon. it is pain. They have love and pain mixed up. This is when people stay with someone who is not good for them and call it love This is like stocknome syndrome.
     For the people who rely on this who it hasn’t worked for they are different. this immediate  ‘chemistry’ is not working for them hasn’t worked for them  If it had they would not be here Evan.
    I think it is great when you say dump them if they are unhappy.Sadly for most they are truly not able to do that until they have had some help to get to a conscious state to be able to do that rather than acting in a subconscious way and staying in an unhappy relationship Like an alcoholic in most cases is not just able to STOP drinking and first has to realize there is a problem, secondly have the desire to want to stop and then get the help to enable them. Which would be AA.
    With the people with faulty electric chemistry which is most of us I believe to get help to be able to consciously chose something different and better for us 12 step co dependency helps, along with other help and support . Like the alcohol is an addiction this electric chemistry and obsession (passion) is an addiction and neither do us any good.
     
    “In other words, sometimes giving up on your original passion is the key to opening up to true happiness.”
    I agree.
     
     

  15. 15
    Henriette

    Well, dear Evan, you asked in a recent blog that those of us who agree with you speak up more often so here I am, shouting YES to this post.  
     
    Passion:

    is a wonderful basis for love songs and romance novels but has little to do with whether a man has what it takes to create and maintain happy, healthy and ’til-death-do-us-part relationship with me.  
    makes me want to run in the other direction bc I know it messes with both my head and heart.   I generally have sound instincts but passion jams my radar and I find myself suddenly unable to get an accurate “read” on a person or situation. 
    might or (far less likely) mightn’t fade but character, basic compatibility and strong communication skills tend to remain stable over time.  

     
    The only issue I have with this is is that there seem to be many men looking for a romance that combines a Leonard Cohen song with The Notebook with a Shakespeare sonnet (why is it that women are the sex which gets saddled with reputation for silly romanticism?)  I’m losing hope that I’ll find a guy who believes as we do about the relative unimportance of passion.
     
     
     

  16. 16
    Gina

    Every now and then I will pop in and read this blog. As usual, Evan’s comments are very enlightening. Ever since I can remember, I have heard people talk about how  following one’s passion will lead to success. In reality, I have known people who have followed their passion (of the moment) and it lead them to financial (or emotional) ruin.
    Keep up the good work Evan.

  17. 17
    Rose

    “In other words, sometimes giving up on your original passion is the key to opening up to true happiness.”
    mean’t to say“In other words, sometimes giving up on your original passion is the key to opening up to true happiness.”

    If I replace the word passion with obsession.
    I agree.
    Real true healthy passion that comes from within and is driven from a place of joy and a want of leaving the world a better place is great.
    Unhealthy misguided passion i.e obsession that comes from a desire to be admired and adored is not so great and will not bring inner peace joy and happiness.

  18. 18
    morgan

    What an excellent means to demonstrate a great truth of relationships.  Clever Evan. Clever Scott.
    Helen @12 ‘ad hominem’ I do love a dash of Latin, nice one. Had to look it up though.

  19. 19
    sarahrahrah!

    @ EMK
     
    If it makes you feel any better, you appear to be better looking than Judd Apatow.  🙂
     
     
    @ Henriette – 17
     
    Love the analogy of jamming your radar! When I find that happening to me, I remember that scene in the musical Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye asks Golda “Do You Love Me?” and she answers him indirectly by naming all the things she does for him.  When I saw this scene when I was young, I thought she didn’t love him. When I saw it as a teen, I thought she was very unromantic.  Now, as an adult, I think that she had a great sense of humor!  Anyway… I think about this in relationships where the passion is high.  Where is the evidence of his love?  If it is love, there will be evidence.  If not, maybe it’s just passion.

  20. 20
    Casey

    It’s ironic how Theresa’s comment perfectly demonstrates what Evan wrote about … the person who believes that because something was true for her, it must be true universally.
    I don’t think passion is unimportant in love or marriage.  In fact, I think it’s a necessity.  However, I believe there are two kinds of passion: the dangerous kind, which causes people to do nonsensical things without thinking through the potential consequences, and the kind that is developed for a relationship or a pursuit that adds value to one’s life.  The latter, in my humble opinion, is the one that is necessary for a successful marriage, career, or any other lifelong process.
    Sure, there are lucky people who experience love at first sight with someone who is a great practical match for them, as well.  But I don’t think that’s how “happily ever after” begins for most couples.  The day-to-day of marriage is more pragmatic than romantic, so it makes sense that a person would follow a more reasoned approach to finding and choosing a spouse than assuming that it’s not meant to be if you don’t completely lose your head over someone right away.

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