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Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

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It's All About Passion » Chapter 8 - Passion 7: Synergies

Chapter 8 - Passion 7: Synergies

You will notice that passionate people attract other passionate people!

Passion 7: Synergies

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom”

  • Vincent van Gogh, painter

Passionate people attract passionate people

No. This chapter is not about being attracted to an opposite sex and falling with them in a passionate love. It’s about sharing your passion with others and how your passion attracts and inspires other passionate people.

People who are passionate about something want to share their passion with others. This gives them great energy to be passionate even more. And the best of all is if they share their passion with someone who’s also passionate about something. Anything. These can be totally different passions. It doesn’t matter. Where there is passion involved, there is love and love is all we need and are supposed to share, right?

Passion has no boundaries

When there is passion involved, the conventional status symbols don’t matter. A passionate billionaire will be happier talking to a passionate poor man met on the street than being forced to a conversation on a fancy cocktail party with another billionaire who only cares about money. Passion is an amazing connector.

Passion is contagious

When you share passion with others and they share theirs with you, your horizons stretch and your happiness grows. These are the moments you forget time exists and you get the passion virus from that other person and are inclined to share it with others, too. It’s like a virus and it’s a very happy one. What happens when I meet passionate people is an amazing experience for me every time. I’m always in for a treat and I can never wait to meet a person passionate about their stuff.

Passionate people need each other

People love to share and if they are passionate about something, they want to share it with as many people as possible. Badly. The “passion virus” needs to be spread and does everything it can to contaminate others.

Passionate people will be happy to talk to you. All you need to ask them is what they do, what they love… or more precise: what they are passionate about. And, boy, they will tell you. Remember, they need to share their passion and you want to listen. Believe me, you do. Listening to someone talking about their passion and observing their feelings is the best thing… and it pumps up your emotions and helps you uncover your passion within.

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“Go ahead and be original, because it’s the people with passion, guts, and daring that will win. Not just because going through life with passion and guts beats the alternative (which it does), but also because it’s the only way to be successful. Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable.”

  • Seth Godin, author, blogger

Meet the crazy

I work from home. I love my work. I’m passionate about it and every now and then I need to share my passion and make sure I’m not the only weird and crazy out there. Everyone needs this kind of validation and a little bit of social support. And as mentioned earlier - if you’re passionate about something, you want to share it.

That’s why when I moved to a new city I started searching for meet-ups of people who are alike. Of people who’d share my passion and who’d understand me. I needed a reason to leave my home office and spend some time with folks as weird as me. I found and attended these kinds of meet-ups. And I had a blast each time.

Later when I moved again and couldn’t find similar events, I went ahead and found conferences in my industry across Europe and started going there every now and then. Again, meeting the same passionate weirdos like myself helped and pumped me even more. And I learned a lot from other passionate guys and gals and these stories proved to be the much-needed fuel for me to get going even more.

“We all have amazing things we care about, are passionate about. The people that make a difference are the ones who put their hands up in weird situations”

  • Alexis Ohanian, author of “Without Their Permission”

Ask questions, discover passions and grow

Attending meet-ups or conferences required me to learn to listen. I’m a very talkative person and I often find myself talking about me way too much. It’s understandable, I’m passionate about my stuff so I can talk about it for hours. That’s why I needed to learn to actively ask questions like: and what about you? What do you do? What are you passionate about? What do you love about your work? Why are you pursuing this solution?

These questions proved invaluable as they triggered the other party to speak up and share their passion. It also triggered my interest and helped me receive the “passion virus” the other person was dying to spread.

When you dig deeper in such conversations you quickly realize the person in front of you, though may sometimes look uninteresting at first, is a fantastic, passionate, driven individual who’s definitely worth getting to know a lot better.

Thanks to meeting them I learned new things, gained new perspectives and grew emotionally and intellectually. When you meet passionate people you grow.

“Starting a company is lonely, thankless and costly. It will test the deepest fibers of your being. The only thing that melts these obstacles away, leaves you raring for more, is passion. You can’t fake passion. It lights up your eyes and charges your voice when you talk about what you love. If you have a great idea, and you want to bring it to life, find someone who is passionate about your vision.”

  • Mike McDerment, co-founder of FreshBooks

When sharing a passion, people will go extra mile

Sharing the same passion is even cooler. People will help you out, will want to work with you and support your passion. When I started the Productive! Magazine I asked my fellow productivity bloggers for help and they gladly submitted their articles to me. Even better, when I shipped the first issue of the magazine, many readers pointed out there were typos and mistakes in the magazine and offered their help. Two of them are now regular editors and proof-readers of the mag and they do it for free. When the magazine became popular, French- and Spanish- speaking readers wanted to get involved and help translate the magazine. The amount of support I got was amazing. It keeps on blowing my mind until this very day.

“Passion doesn’t just bring happiness to the person who enjoys that passion – it also brings a vicarious pleasure to onlookers.”

  • Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project”

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“Creating and conveying a vision relies on passion. If a vision doesn’t engage people emotionally, it won’t be a powerful motivator…”

  • Stever Robbins, podcaster as “The Get-It-Done Guy”

Even the “big fish” will talk to you

This struck me on one of my trips to Japan. My application was gaining traction there and I wanted to visit this country to get to know the people, meet my customers and make new friends. I didn’t realize as much that these fantastic Japanese folks wanted to meet me as badly.

Having so many users of my app I can’t possibly know them all personally. The day has this limit of 24 hours and even a zen-shao-lin monk can’t bend it. That’s why very often I just don’t realize who is using my tool. And these are also executives from really big companies. They are passionate about productivity, “Getting Things Done” and my tool fits their bill.

When these people are passionate about the company they are building or managing, they also can see from the blog I’m writing and the magazine I’m editing, that I’m truly passionate about productivity. Much to my surprise they wanted to meet me in person. Seriously. Guys managing gigantic multi-national companies wanted to meet me, a bloke running a productivity tool with a small team of ~10 passionate folks and no real physical office.

I was amazed, surprised and very humbled. And I wanted to meet them too. These meetings were truly amazing and opened my mind even more. Until then I thought the “big fish” hang out with other “big fish” and that’s it. Until you’re big, too, you don’t belong to the club. That’s not true. It’s the “passionate fish” who hang out with other “passionate fish” and the size and shape of the fish doesn’t really matter.

Nobody told me this before and that’s why I’m sharing this with you. I assumed that until I was big I wouldn’t have a change to talk to big guys. Now I know I can talk to anyone and what’s even better - they want to talk to me, too.

For this reason I stopped being so judgmental about myself and never again hesitated to reach out to big fish to exchange ideas, have a conversation or just connect to share our passions. Sometimes it’s still hard to really get to know some of these folks but many times they want to talk to you as much as they need to share their passion with someone passionate. They need it as much as you do. Go, get to know them and spread the virus.

Passion attraction can get really surprising

The law of attraction is even stronger with passion. There are a few things that totally surprised me here. And these were really nice surprises.

  1. Surprised what kind of passionate people you’ll get to meet

    When you’re passionate about your stuff, share the passion - don’t be shy - and you’ll be surprised how other passionate people will seek you out to get to know you.

  2. Surprised that passionate people are everywhere

    Whenever I’m attending a meet up or conference I make sure I’m asking lots of questions when talking to people. Sometimes a bloke down the bar happened to be a shy guy running a great company and doing amazing stuff… and thanks to asking him questions, I learned a lot from him as he was sharing his passion with me.

  3. Surprised at how passion connects people from different environments

    Passionate people attract other passionate people and the status, boundaries, cultures won’t stand in a way between them. The so-called “big fish” will talk to you because they are passionate about their stuff and they want to share their passion to funnel their energy into you and to get some energy from you.

    I found that when passion is shared, new ideas come and people are driven even more to do great things. That’s why it’s so crucial to meet passionate folks and inspire one another. And when you do, you’ll be surprised how this works out for you.

Now that we’ve got all 7 types of passion…

… it’s time to wrap it up. Let me inspire you to live and work with more passion in the last chapter of this book.