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The Rules of Genius #35: Fuel your passion

Creativity doesn’t respond to time management so much as passion management. Passion—the deep excitement you feel about your subject, your project, your profession—is the engine of creative genius. While you only get a certain amount of time in each day, you can expand your passion nearly without limit. You can pump it up, stretch it out, increase its intensity—all with a bit of management.

The key to passion is to treat it as a resource, like a savings account or a kitchen garden. If you want to maintain a bank account, you need to make deposits. If you want to keep a vegetable garden, you need to tend your plants. If you want to feed your passion, you need to invest in your projects, your learning, and your inspiration. The investment can come in the form of reading, seminars, workshops, internships, pro bono work, time off, or simply doing projects you love. The goal is to return to work refreshed and renewed.

But where does passion come from? Do some people have more than others? Is the game somehow rigged? The best answer is that each of us is born with a certain capacity for it, and then we develop it according to our abilities and desires.

You may be the kind of person that falls deeply in love with a subject overnight, but has trouble maintaining interest for more than a few months. Or maybe you’re the opposite: a person who takes a long time to develop an interest, but then stays with it for decades. There are some people with so many interests they can’t seem to focus on one, and others who grapple with periodic depression, unable to stay excited about anything at all.

While everyone’s situation is different, the principle is the same: Passion drives creativity. Fuel it, protect it, tend it, grow it. Manage it as the renewable resource it is.

Next week: Develop an authentic style.
Style comes from limitations, not strengths

The Rules of Genius is now a book with a bonus section called “How can I matter?” that includes 10 essential rules.  Buy here.

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