Successful, mediocre and failing people all have something in common; they’re busy. Every person I know is busy. The difference amongst them is what they’re busy about. The most successful people I’ve met are busy with things that they’re passionate about AND are showing good progress in.
The question of passion vs. progress is a simple one: do you like the thing (passion), and are you getting results in it (progress)? Oftentimes we find one or the other, loving the thing we’re doing but not seeing the results we want, or hating the thing we’re doing and knocking the results out of the park. Here’s what you can do to bring balance to that duality.
In their latest book, Living Forward, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy coin the term “Life Accounts” and describe different areas of life as a ledger, something you can have a positive or negative balance in. They outline nine basic Life Accounts as a starting point for you to consider.
- Vocational (work)
- Avocational (hobbies)
Not everyone will have the same Life Account list, but this is a good place to start. You can make it your own, just remember that there are many interdependent aspects of your life.
Passion vs. Progress
Passion is about enthusiasm. Do you love your spouse? Do you find enjoyment in the work you do? Do you enjoy cooking and eating healthy food, or exercising?
Progress is about the results you are getting. Maybe you and your spouse have a very efficient relationship, but have lost your connection with one another. Maybe you’re launching new products successfully at work, but find the job monotonous and repetitive. Or you might be following a strict diet and maintaining your weight, but have lost all enjoyment in eating a meal.
In each Life Account, consider what level of passion and progress you have. The descriptions below use examples to raise a point, but the concepts apply whether you’re talking about your marriage, your career, your finances, whatever.
4 Combinations of Passion and Progress
No Passion and No Progress
When you don’t have passion or progress, you’re in a sad situation. You’re likely disappointed with your lot in life, angry at the world around you, and always on the verge of giving up. Something has to change in this situation before it becomes self-destructive. Learn something new to rekindle your passion or try a new approach to get better results.
Having Passion without Progress
With passion comes enthusiasm and excitement, but without results it won’t last. The excitement will fade unless you find a way to improve progress. Try learning a new skill or adapting your strategy – experiment until you get results.
Having Progress without Passion
This is probably the most common situation for people. When we’re doing well at something, but have lost our enthusiasm for it, we begin to dread doing it. Maybe it’s your work? Your exercise routine? Your healthy meals? Find a way to bring the passion back to what you’re doing. Remind yourself of the importance this area of your life holds (unless it isn’t important, then just stop putting energy into it). Hyatt writes “focus on rekindling your passion, becoming fascinated with something you haven’t noticed before…”
Having Progress AND Passion
The obvious place to be is here, with progress AND passion. When you’re in this place you find so much fulfillment, appreciation and dedication to what you’re doing. Take some time to reflect on how you got to this point in any respective area of your life and see what strategies you can leverage in another area. For example, if you discovered that exercising with a friend boosted your passion for going to the gym, then maybe partnering with someone new on your next project will spark some enthusiasm in your work.
No one is perfect in all areas of their life, but those busy successful people I mentioned earlier, you can bet they’ve prioritized their Life Accounts and are actively pursuing new ways to rekindle the passion or improve progress in each one. A fulfilling life is about more than just liking the things you’re involved in, it’s about seeing them have an impact. A fulfilling life is also about more than just getting results, you have to find some enjoyment in what you invest yourself in.