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  • Writer's pictureBen Milne

Perils of too much passion..

Deeply ingrained among the most audacious of human ambitions lies a double-edged sword! We use this weapon at will, for it comes a lot of the time without prior notification, but equally goes without the sound of a whisper. Inspiring, mesmerizing, and culminating in helping us achieve exactly what we dreamt of attaining. Though also being the blockage to greater successes along the way. Deep seeded passion is as crucial for the soul’s diet, as air is for the lungs. Though when passion transmutes to obsession, the all important visual conception becomes all but lost. We’re often taught to pursue relentlessly with passion, allowing it to guide us like a beacon through the darkest of nights. Yet, what if too much passion could be a perilous precipice? Blindly leading us dangerously close to the edge, entrapped between obsession and burnout? If not harnessed correctly, and reined in somewhat, in time? We tend not to understand in full, particular heightened moments in life, until after they’ve passed. Once the senses have settled, and innate systems are calm. Usually with a cost, that’s surely wished away looking back in reflection. Embarking on a journey through the labyrinth of the human psyche, and choosing to explore why too much passion can be detrimental, can be unsettling for some. Particular triggers may present themselves, which can often be unconscious too. Though understanding how to recognize when enough is enough — just like anything that is being relied upon too much in this life. We can navigate this heightened emotion with the greatest of poise, even through moments of intense participation. Allowing breathing space for a flow of optimal well rehearsed patterns, ensuring everything required is delivered harmoniously balanced.

Personally I love passion! I love passionate people, and enjoy hearing others speak of their pursuits with passion. For when there is no passion prevalent, there is no life force either.

Imagine though a lone sailor adrift in a wide open ocean, sails billowing with the winds of fervor. At first, it’s the passion that fuels the journey of the unknown, propelling the sailor forward with unwavering determination. Solely having sights locked in on a new found destination. But as time wears on, winds grow stronger, (as they do in the seasons of our life) changing direction without any human intervention. Waves become tumultuous, rocking the ship with waters that are foreign to even the most experienced voyager. Think of these signs as trigger warnings, red flags, no go zones! However when one is caught up in their own rocky seas due to their own zeal, and too much passion. Anyone can become susceptible to the looming tempest on the horizon. Regardless of how unpredictable and unsettling the conditions have escalated to, from the creation of their own environments.

In the realm of psychology, this phenomenon can be caused by a condition known as “hyperfocus,” a state in which one becomes excessively fixated on a single goal or interest to the detriment of all else. Not only to the detriment of the individual, but also those surrounding. If left unattended, and unnoticed.

Like a moth drawn to a naked flame, individuals consumed by hyperfocus find themselves unable to tear their gaze away from the point of where too much passion lies, and allocating intention on what else also requires equal time, and nurturing. Their passion becomes overriding, even as it consumes them from within too. Unfortunately at time’s shaping a new identity, resulting in many behavioural changes.

But how does this concerning descent into obsession occur? To understand this, we must first delve into the intricate workings of our brain. At the heart of the matter lies the commonly known neurotransmitter dopamine, often hailed as the “pleasure chemical.” When we engage in activities that bring us immense joy or fulfilment, in the pursuit of a reward. Dopamine floods our brain, reinforcing the behaviour and compelling us to seek more, and more. Good or bad. Dopamine addiction is a dangerous downward spiral that has the ability to cause insurmountable problems.

With any intoxicating elixir, too much can feel like never enough. Which is where the danger exists, as the pursuit can become a relentless quest for ever-greater highs, driving us to push ourselves beyond our limits in chasing an elusive euphoria. Pair this with overriding unnoticed passion, we risk losing sight of the very things that once brought us true joy — real happiness, and much needed connections in our lives. As our life can become consumed by a single-minded obsession.

So, how can we avoid falling prey to producing excessive passion? The answer lies in cultivating a delicate balance between ambition and restraint, harnessing the power of our passion without allowing it to consume us whole. I like to refer to this process as blissful satisfaction. “Knowing I’ve given everything I could into achieving whichever endeavour it is I’m pursuing”. But knowing every day’s performance is going to fluctuate, due to an extensive range of circumstances. Some that are controllable, and others that aren’t. Which is entirely natural and sits just fine. As tomorrow is only a day away, if the need to reset with a modified approach presents itself.

Many fall victim here though to an identity crisis of sorts. When one can’t establish the difference between knowing what they’re doing, isn’t who they are 24/7. Yes, it’s pivotal to frame a persona that represents the ultimate version of the person, or version of self that’s “all in” in pursuit of a great achievement. Though boundaries are imperative in knowing when and where to clock off during this entire process.

One technique in mindfulness is to cultivate awareness of our thoughts and emotions without intense self judgment, or overthinking the perceived judgements that may, or very well may not even be present from others. By staying present in the moment, documenting progress in a healthy manner. Introducing small rewards for each milestone reached, we can recognize our true progress better, and understand when our passion begins to veer into dangerous territory. Think about this process as an anchor to stabilize the ship, in the rocky waters.

Being open in self appraisal, focusing very much on the positives, addressing — but not dwelling on the areas that need to be worked on. We can then focus on slow incremental shifts in improved performance that will present more balance across the board. This is a key foundation in growth — having patience, gratitude, and immense self awareness always apparent. Providing an allowance to course-correct before it’s too late, if needed.

Finally, we must learn to embrace imperfection, understanding that failure is not a sign of weakness but rather an essential part of the journey. By relinquishing our need for perfection, we free ourselves from the shackles of self-doubt and fear, allowing our passion to blossom organically without fear of judgment or reprisal. Keeping proceedings fun, and enjoyable where possible.

If this article resonates in ways that made you feel compelled to investigate further, or it hit home on something you’ve done, where you’d like further guidance in understanding why? Head over to Where you can join my wellbeing community and access live weekly mentoring I conduct, inside Ben Milne Coaching.


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