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+1: #990 The Passion Paradox

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

Release Date: 12/21/2019

+1: #1056 How-to-Change-the-World Math show art +1: #1056 How-to-Change-the-World Math

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

In our last +1, we hung out with Ellen Langer, Stephen Covey and Dave Ramsey, having fun with some 1 + 1 math.

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+1: #1050 Galileo on Optimizing show art +1: #1050 Galileo on Optimizing

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been hanging out with Emerson, playing the “I Love You!” game and taking a quick look at the story of our world.

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+1: #1045 What’s 1 + 1? show art +1: #1045 What’s 1 + 1?

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

In our last +1, we had fun with the ultimate riddles of life—from skunks and giraffes to watches and pearls. And… The answer to pretty much all of life’s riddles? Love.

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Optimize Interview: Irresistible with Adam Alter show art Optimize Interview: Irresistible with Adam Alter

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

Irresistible. That’s the perfect word to describe the growing array of addictive technologies that are capturing so much of our attention these days.

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Optimize Interview: The Psychology of Possibility with Ellen Langer show art Optimize Interview: The Psychology of Possibility with Ellen Langer

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

Ellen Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard and one of the world's leading experts on the science of wellbeing, and what she refers to as the "psychology of possibility."

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+1: #1035 Yesterday’s Home Run show art +1: #1035 Yesterday’s Home Run

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

In our last +1, we spent some time with John Maxwell and reflected on his wisdom on the pinnacle of leadership influence: Moral Authority.

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+1: #1030 Want to Make It Stick? show art +1: #1030 Want to Make It Stick?

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

We’re going to consult with Barbara Oakley on this one. Barbara taught one of the most popular classes in history. Nearly 2 million people from 200 countries have taken her Coursera class called Learning How to Learn.

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+1: #1025 Exercise: It’s a Well-Being Tool show art +1: #1025 Exercise: It’s a Well-Being Tool

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

In our last couple +1s, we talked about a key (arguably the #1 key) predictor of our long-term health/morbidity: our visceral fat. 

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+1: #1020 Learning Cycles show art +1: #1020 Learning Cycles

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

Today we’ll step back a bit and put in an AM Intention practice to go with that PM Reflection practice.

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+1: #1015 It’s Day 1 show art +1: #1015 It’s Day 1

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

In our last +1, we had fun chatting about the diploma we give to our Optimize Coaches. It so perfectly captures the underlying purpose of all of our work together that I’d like to share it again. 

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More Episodes
Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness have written a couple great books together. First, they gave us Peak Performance. Then The Passion Paradox.
 
Today we’re going to talk about one of the central themes of The Passion Paradox. (Tomorrow we’ll chat about some goodness from Peak Performance.)
 
So…
 
Passion.
 
It’s AWESOME!
 
Except when it isn’t.
 
Enter: The Passion Paradox.
 
As Brad and Steve put it: “Mindlessly living with a passion can be extremely harmful and destructive. Mindfully living with a passion can be the key to a life well lived.”
 
They tell us that psychologists differentiate two types of passion by calling the unhealthy kind Obsessive Passion” and the healthy kind “Harmonious Passion.”
 
Obsessive Passion is toxic. It has two primary facets: 1. Focusing too much on extrinsic results (like fame, wealth, achievement, etc.); 2. Being too worried about failure.
 
Harmonious Passion, on the other hand, gives us a deep sense of joy. Whereas the toxic passion is focused on the pursuit of extrinsic rewards, the healthy passion is focused on intrinsic drivers.
 
As Brad and Steve put it: Enter harmonious passion: a feeling that emerges when you are wrapped up in something primarily for the joy of the activity, when your engagement is not merely a means to an end but rather an end in itself. Harmonious passion manifests mainly from activities that are freely chosen without contingencies; when you do something because you enjoy it, not because it offers potential rewards, and not to avoid negative repercussions. 
 
Not every moment of harmonious passion is necessarily pleasing, but overall, it is deeply fulfilling. It aligns closely with the ancient Greek notion of eudaimonia, or a kind of happiness that results not from overwhelming pleasure but from striving to meet one’s full potential by engaging in activities that one considers meaningful. 
 
In the 1970s, the late psychologist and humanist philosopher Erich Fromm wrote of something similar, which he called productive activity, where happiness isn’t related to the attainment of possession or rewards but rather to ‘the process of ever growing aliveness . . . for living as fully as one can is so satisfactory that concern for what one might or might not attain has little chance to develop.’ 
 
The great paradox, however, is that although external achievement is never a primary goal of harmonious passion, when you become completely immersed in what you’re doing for the joy of the activity itself, it is often a by-product. Those who focus most on success are least likely to achieve it. Those who focus least on success, and focus on the process of engaging in their craft instead, are most likely to achieve it.”
 
That’s Today’s +1.
 
First: Shout out for eudaimonia. :)
 
Second: Pop quiz: How’s YOUR passion?
 
Here’s to the Harmonious variety in which we seek mastery and experience the joys of mindfully embracing our passion—while letting the outcomes take care of themselves.