Passionate or frustrated? – how to improve your mood and gain more time

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Research shows that (not)having passion allows you to predict employees’ behaviour and engagement. Be interested in your people, hire passionate persons – there will be fewer complaints and you will be surprised how much time you will gain. However, remember that there is a dark side of passion.

Promised in previous issue …

Business is about money. Employees are the most valuable asset of any business. If they cannot develop themselves and feel the sense of impact, they will leave. For an experienced manager, these sentences are characteristic cliché. My experience shows that a large group of executives complain about lack of time and low involvement of employees. So how to strengthen the involvement of both your team and yourself? How to stop wasting time resources? And where are the additional sources of energy? The answer is simple: stop at the activities you and your people like, that you consider important, and in which you engage your time and energy, also outside of work. There are many answers to questions about the causes of both success and failure.


Harmony or compensation – the whole truth about the passionate people

Nowadays, when we are constantly encountering new methods and techniques of motivation, when it is not appropriate to admit that something didn’t work out, or simply we don’t know how to do something, it is worth looking at yourself and your employees more holistically, more humanly. In previous episodes, I have already referred to Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan’s theory of auto-determination, whereby a man strives to fulfil three basic needs: autonomy, competence, and relationships with loved ones. As grown-ups, we are extremely lucky to consciously choose the kind of activity that eases satisfying those needs. Some of these activities may be of particular importance, give an exceptional pleasure, and occupy more and more space in our experience. They come into the sense of identity, giving it additional qualities by which we define ourselves – the passionate ones talk about themselves: I am a triathlonist, I am a musician.

I have among my friends many triathlonists, marathons and cycling fans. I am of the opinion that sport is one of the fastest methods not only for improving our mood, but also raising self-esteem and self-appraisal. But in which moment the passion becomes an obsession? This question I asked myself while watching the faces of tens of triathlonists during one of the Polish edition of IronMan. Some of them showed joy, authentic fulfilment and pride. On the others, fatigue, doubt, absolute lack of contact with their own achievement. However, one particular man shocked me, he was looking only at the finish line, he pushed aside his daughter, who was frankly impatient, leaping and clapping with a grin as she watched her father. I decided to explore the topic of passion.


Obsession and perfectionism – the dark side of passion

Scientific literature on passion is quite extensive. Robert Vallerand of the University of Quebec in Montreal, author of the dualistic passion model, claims that it arises from the choice of activity, its value, and its internalisation in the sense of identity. The dualistic passion model assumes that there are two types of passion: harmonious and obsessive. Both types are different in terms of motivation, which prompts to engage in the activity, the sensations they experience, but also the consequences they bring. Harmonious people, who are passionate about something, even though their passion gives a lot of positive vibes and emotions, are able to control the time spent on doing it, and in addition, they remain in harmony with the rest of their life. They experience positive sensations and satisfaction, as opposed to those with obsessive passion who can experience negative emotions both during and after participation in a given activity. Obsessive passion is motivated by the result of the activity consciously and in controlled way internalized – I choose a given activity as a result of the pressure resulting from the association with the opportunities that a given activity can bring, such as acceptance or self-esteem. People with obsessive passion cannot control the experiences they passed through while participating in a given activity. They may experience internal compulsion to participate in activities they consider important and which provide benefits. Passion like this controls human behaviour, takes up more and more space in his experience, and leads to conflicts with other aspects of life. Running, cycling, undeniably healthy for our body, changes into murderous workouts, compulsive forms of diffusing tension. The assumed pleasure changes into an obsessive aiming at perfection without any joy about the progress.


All this self esteem…

Taking actions by each of us related to satisfying our needs, depends on how much we are aware of them, but also on our self-esteem. Already in the 1970s, psychologist Abraham K. Korman pointed out that self-esteem of an individual influences motivation and behavior at work. Persons with high level of self-awareness and high self-esteem, striving for their own satisfaction, are more likely to seek and make changes in their working environment. Psychology mentions about two human realities: explicit – in other words conscious and implicit – unconscious, which are the trace of many experiences, mostly from childhood. Satisfaction in the early years of life’s basic needs not only affects self-esteem, but also it determines all other human needs. The discrepancies in explicit and implicit self-esteem that is between what I say about myself, and what unconscious beliefs I have about myself affect not only behavior but also attitudes towards other people. Individuals with at the same time high explicit and implicit self-esteem feel safe and everyday challenges do not cause instability and do not affect the self-image. On the other hand, people with high explicit self-esteem and low implicit self-esteem show higher level of narcissism, but also higher level of prejudice and tendency to compensate for unmet needs.


What is the conclusion

I decided to check the issues regarding the impact of self-evaluation on the character of passion personally. Its high level certainly makes it easier to accomplish plans and achieve goals. But what about people who, as a result of different experiences, did not develop self-confidence? To see if the passion is some sort of solution, I conducted a study on almost two hundred randomly selected people with different passions, such as: sports, music, automotive and on those who declared no particular interest or only minor hobbies. The results confirmed my hypothesis. First of all, people with a passion had a higher self-esteem than ones without any passion. Passionate people also occupied higher positions or run their own businesses. As many studies show, in case people strive to enhance their self-esteem, by trying to succeed in areas that are important to them, then having passion has an impact on having a higher self-esteem. So if you have in your environment, or in your team people with harmonious passion, you can safely assume that they are aware of their values.


How to use this knowledge?

In my unbridled optimism, I believed that joy and fulfillment was stronger than the need for compensation. This also was confirmed by the results of my study – the intensity of the harmonious passion turned out to be higher than the intensity of the obsessive passion. Thus, in all studied groups of people, the assumption, that human behaviors are strongly determined by intrinsic motivation and the need to experience pleasure, was confirmed.

For that reason:

  • Grow, and if you do not have it, find your passion – being proud and relaxed will help you build relationships and engage people
  • Know your employees’ interests – showing interest will reinforce their motivation and curiosity, also sharing your passion will increase their creativity.
  • Employ passionate people – they will complain less and thanks to that they will strengthen the morale of the team
  • Find the causes of fatigue of yourself and your staff – you are tired like Alfa Romeo with a worn out engine – you will not go far in this way.


More slack, more time

Abraham K. Korman, already mentioned that rigid social systems do not serve the development of high self-esteem. In the context of organizations, this means high level of control, rigid hierarchy, centralization and formal procedures. As a consequence of such characteristics of organizational culture, employees may feel incompetent and unnecessary in the organization. Probably there is no need to explain about which passion is closer to such control. In that case, build relaxed atmosphere and treat the people’s work individually. If, however, you belong to those who stubbornly claim that there is no time for personal approach and realization of passion, then remember that time can be the best excuse, but never true. Remember, it’s not about having more time, but about stopping wasting it.


Monika Reszko

Co-Founder of Corporate Differently

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