Passion is Developed, Not Discovered

Author Angela Duckworth shares that passion isn’t discovered, it’s really developed.

What’s the difference?

If passion is just sitting in the wings waiting to be discovered, we don’t have much control over it. It’s there, we just have to find it somehow. But what if real passion, the kind that lasts, the kind that you build a life’s work on – what if that kind of passion isn’t discovered, it’s developed?

Maybe that passion isn’t waiting in the wings, but better yet, we’ve had control over it all along from the very start. What if we control it with our hard work, our determination, our gritty grit that drives us to persevere? How much more could we accomplish if we shifted our belief that passion is out of our control to a mindset that the deepest, most long-lasting passion is completely in our control? What more could we do? And what if we as teachers shared this simple shift with our students?

How can you encourage others to develop their passion instead of discovering it?

Praise others for heading where you want them to go or what you’d like to see them do. Not just as a reaction to something they’ve already done. Why does that matter? Focusing praise on where you want someone to go gives them a sense of hope and control. No one can control past mistakes, but they can learn from them and turn them into future success with the right coaching and guidance.

Praise others for things they have control over. Some people may not know they can grow their brains and “control” how smart they are, so saying things like “you’re smart” can be counterproductive. Instead, praise them for something they did. Why does this work? The focus isn’t on the right answer or being smart, the focus is on the work they had control over to get to the answer or draw their conclusion.

Centering praise in this way focuses on the control we each have of our own future. Instead of hearing messages about our future being something we discover, we hear messages that we control our future. Instead of sharing messages with others that their future is not something they decide, the message is that you can develop your passion.

What passion are you developing? What passions have you already discovered that you can keep developing? Share in the comments. We’d love to know!

3 comments on “Passion is Developed, Not Discovered

  1. Nicole Chica

    I have discovered a profound passion for languages, especially romance languages, and ever since I was in middle school, I have made sure I continued to keep a daily practice of French to continue to develop my skills. I hope I can one day travel to a French-speaking country and put my skills in practice.

  2. Juan

    Through my childhood I have been working in musical instruments and it sure did take me years to learn from it and be to where I am at being successful at it.

  3. Jonati Tukai Ulaicake

    Indeed !
    Passion is developed.
    No one was born with passion.
    Passion is the ingrain drive in the human being waiting to be utilized.
    Passion is powerful.

    The late Dr Myles Munroe defines it this way. Passion is a desire that is stronger than death.


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