Go beyond passion to peaceful purposefulness

David Allen
I have been attempting to understand why it bugs me to hear professional motivators talk about the necessity for “passion” to be successful. Perhaps I’m just getting too old and lazy to be interested in jacking up my emotions about anything. (Getting passionate about something usually seems to me like hard work.) Or perhaps it’s the fact that jacked-up emotional states are not something you need or even want, to be successful.

Emotions seem much too unsteady to be associated with anything or anyone I consider truly successful. As fast as they go up, they can come crashing down. Just try to hold only a single feeling for any extended period.

I think I know what the motivators are referring to. There is a quality of intensity of commitment that resides with successful people. But rather than “passion” I would suggest the word “identification.” When you really identify with something, whether it is some intended outcome or some internal standard about your reality, it creates a true motivational energy to make it happen. But that does not at all mean a hyperemotional state. There can be joy, to be sure. And identification will create incredibly focused energy when that energy is required. But most often it will manifest as calm and deliberate thinking and action. Heart and passion are different things.

How do you create identification? Consistent focus on whatever you want to identify with. Running five miles in forty minutes. Having a nurturing work environment. A positive cash flow with a growing healthy reserve. Quality time with your family.

Continual refocusing on desired outcomes is the master key to success. So, beyond passion, try peaceful purposefulness.

For much more content like this in video, audio, and text formats, get a free 14-day membership in GTD Connect, our online community and content library.

Join the Conversation


  1. I like this very much. Emotions are exhausting. Calm, deliberate thinking and action, and peaceful purposefulness are much more attractive.

  2. I also believe this to be true. Some initial passion or intensity of purpose at the beginning of an idea is nice for a spark. But, it quickly fades out. Strong emotions in the initial phase of any project help to launch the enterprise. To propel momentum. It is similar to those huge canisters strapped to a rocket filled with fuel just with the intention of placing the tip of the rocket into outer space and then onto a long silent voyage. We, visual artists, are familiar with this model very well. We begin a new painting with a lot of power, but once the first brushstrokes are on the rest is a slow quiet process that eventually culminates in a successful piece. The economy of energy, the economy of thoughts, and the economy of efforts; all contribute to the solid and joyful culmination of any project.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.