A mistake I often make: Confusing passion with drive

Recently I finished a book that inspired me and I believe has directly influenced some of my opinion on a few projects going forward with Buffer.

The book is titled “The Monk and the Riddle”.  It’s a brilliant book that I felt bridges the gap between 2 very different worlds I’ve recently ventured into: Startups and Buddhism (with a particular focus on mindfulness).

One quote that stood out particularly to me was the following:

Passion and drive are not the same at all. Passion pulls you toward something you cannot resist. Drive pushes you toward something you feel compelled or obligated to do.

Why is it so easy to confuse the two?

I believe that the reason it’s so easy for me to get caught up in confusion between to the two, comes from how I approach working. What tends to come easy to me is to churn through a number of tasks and be fulfilled by having them done.

It means, it doesn’t matter what kind of task is at hand. As long as it’s on the list and I can push through it, to eventually tick it off, I feel good.  What counts is that my to do list is empty and all the stuff got done. What “stuff” it was, might not be so much in the center of my attention.

What I’ve learnt to better separate passion from drive

The key for me over the past few months to help me to better separate passion from drive is reflection. Reflection in itself is something that I’ve struggled with for as long as I could remember.

In more detail, the way I managed to achieve a tiny bit of a better sense of reflection so far is through meditation. After I meditate for just a few minutes, my brain has slowed down. So naturally, it’s in a more reflective state to think things through on a higher level.

So it is this slowness, that lets me see through things much better. I can much easier filter the: “oh, I want to get on with this, because I love doing it and it’s important” – tasks out from the “it’s on the list, so let’s get it done” – tasks.

The fact that this happens amazes me, especially as Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite Buddhist authors often says that “meditation means looking deeply”, which is the very definition of reflection I believe.

Granted, I think I’m at the very beginning of improving my reflective mindset, and sure enough I’m still not very good at it. And yet I’m very excited by how fast you can change your outlook this way.

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