Day 1: Composition
What carries people to the top? What makes them take risks, go the extra mile, and do whatever it
takes to achieve their goals? It isn’t talent. It’s passion. Passion is more important than a plan. Pas-
sion creates fire. It provides fuel. I have yet to meet a passionate person who lacked energy. As long
as the passion is there, it doesn’t matter if they fail. It doesn’t matter how many times they fall
down. It doesn’t matter if others are against them or if people say they cannot succeed. They keep
going and make the most of whatever talent they possess. They are talent-plus people and do not
stop until they succeed.
What is your impression of passionate people?
What are some of the traits a passionate person displays?
Why might having passion be more important than having a plan?
YOUR PASSION CAN EMPOWER YOU
Passion can energize every aspect of a person’s life—including his talent. Have you ever known a
person with great passion who lacked the energy to act on what mattered? I doubt it. A passionate
person with limited talent will outperform a passive person who possesses greater talent. Why? Be-
cause passionate people act with boundless enthusiasm, and they just keep on going! Talent plus
Authors Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler cite a study of 1,500 people over twenty years that
shows how passion makes a significant difference in a person’s career:
At the outset of the study, the group was divided into Group A, 83 percent of the sample, who
were embarking on a career chosen for the prospects of making money now in order to do what
they wanted later, and Group B, the other 17 percent of the sample, who had chosen their career
path for the reverse reason, they were going to pursue what they wanted to do now and worry
about the money later.
The data showed some startling revelations:
• At the end of the 20 years, 101 of the 1,500 had become millionaires.
• Of the millionaires, all but one—100 out of 101—were from Group B, the group that had chosen
to pursue what they loved!¹
The old saying is true: “Find something you like to do so much that you’d gladly do it for nothing,
and if you learn to do it well, someday people will be happy to pay you for it.” When that’s the case,
then true are the words of a motto that Dr. Charles Mayo kept on his office wall: “There’s no fun like
What do you enjoying doing most in your life? Describe a task you get excited about when you are
able to participate in it.
What is your reward for participating? How does your participation enrich others?
How could this activity be incorporated into your weekly routine? (Is there a place to volunteer? Is
there a place to practice? Is there another job you qualify for?)
THE POWER OF PASSION
There really is no substitute for passion when it comes to energizing your talent. Take a look at what
passion can do for you:
1. Passion Is the First Step to Achievement
Loving what you do is the key that opens the door for achievement. When you don’t like what you’re
doing, it really shows—no matter how hard you try to pretend it doesn’t. And it’s difficult to achieve
when you don’t have the desire to do so. That’s why passion is so important. The only way you can
achieve anything of significance is to really want it. Passion provides that.
2. Passion Increases Willpower
One of my roles as a motivational teacher is to try to help people reach their potential. For years, I
tried to inspire passion in audiences by going about it the wrong way. I used to tell people about
what made me passionate, what made me want to get out and do my best. But I could see that it
wasn’t having the effect I desired—people just didn’t respond. I couldn’t ignite others’ passion by
sharing my own.
I decided to change my focus. Instead of sharing my passion, I started helping others discover
their passion. To do that, I ask these questions (write out your anwers):
What do you sing about?
What do you cry about?
What do you dream about?
The first two questions speak to what touches you at a deep level today. The third answers what
will bring you fulfillment tomorrow. The answers to these questions can often help people discover
their true passion.
While everybody can possess passion, not everyone takes the time to discover it. And that’s a
shame. Passion is fuel for the will. Passion turns your have-to’s into want-to’s. What we accomplish
in life is based less on what we want and more on how much we want it. The secret to willpower is
what someone once called wantpower. People who want something enough usually find the
willpower to achieve it.
You can’t help people become winners unless they want to win. Champions become champions from within, not from without.
3. Passion Produces Energy
When you have passion, you become energized. You don’t have to produce perseverance; it is natu-
rally present in you. It helps you to enjoy the journey as much as reaching the destination. Without
it, achievement becomes a long and difficult road.
What activities do you happily wake up early or stay up late to participate in?
During a Q-and-A session at a conference, an attendee once asked me, “What is the secret of
your passion?” It took me only a moment to be able to articulate it:
1. I am gifted at what I do (strength zone).
2. What I do makes a difference (results).
3. When I do what I was made to do, I feel most alive (purpose).
Do you identify with these statements? Explain.
I believe all passionate people feel that way. Aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh observed, “It is
the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you’ve wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like
you could fly without the plane.”
Some people say that they feel burned out. The truth is that they probably never were on fire in
the first place. Writer and editor Norman Cousins said, “Death isn’t the greatest loss in life. The
greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.” Without passion, a part of us dies.
Describe the last time you felt burnt out. How passionate were you about what you were doing?
4. Passion Is the Foundation for Excellence
Passion can transform someone from average to excellent. I can tell you that from experience.
When I was in high school, I wasn’t a great student. My priorities were basketball first, friends sec-
ond, and studies a distant third. Why? Because playing basketball and spending time with friends
were things I was passionate about. I studied, but only to please my parents. School held little ap-
peal for me.
Everything changed when I went to college. For the first time I was studying subjects that mat-
tered to me. They were interesting, and they would apply to my future career. My grades went up be-
cause my passion did. In high school I was sometimes on the principal's "list" (which was not a
good thing), but in college I continually made the "dean's list." Passion fired my desire to achieve
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. asserted, "If a man hasn't discovered something that he
will die for, he isn't fit to live." When you find purpose, you find passion. And when you find pas-
sion, it energizes your talent so that you can achieve excellence.
5. Passion Is the Key to Success
People are such that whenever anything fires their souls, impossibilities vanish. Perhaps that’s why
philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Every great and commanding movement in the an-
nals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm.”
I read about two hundred executives who were asked what makes people successful. The number
one quality they cited was enthusiasm, not talent—80 percent of them recognized that there needed
to be a fire within to achieve success.
The most talented people aren’t always the ones who win. If they did, how could anyone explain
the success of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, which was depicted in the movie Miracle, or the
Hall of Fame careers of basketball’s Larry Bird or football’s Joe Montana? It takes more than talent
to create success. It takes passion.
Everything changed when I went to college. For the first time I was studying subjects that mattered to me. They were interesting, and they would apply to my future career. My grades went up
because my passion did. In high school I was sometimes on the principal’s “list” (which was not a
good thing), but in college I continually made the “dean’s list.” Passion fired my desire to achieve
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. asserted, “If a man hasn’t discovered something that he
will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” When you find purpose, you find passion. And when you find pas-
sion, it energizes your talent so that you can achieve excellence.
6. Passion Makes a Person Contagious
Writer and promotional publicist Eleanor Doan remarked, “You cannot kindle a fire in any other
heart until it is burning within your own.” I believe that’s true. One of my favorite subjects is com-
munication. I have studied and taught it for years, and I always enjoy observing great communi-
cators in action. I believe that people are instructed by reason, but they are inspired by passion.
TALENT + PASSION = A TALENT-PLUS PERSON
PUTTING THE TALENT-PLUS FORMULA INTO ACTION
If you don’t possess the energy that you desire, then you need to fire up your passion. Here is
how I suggest you proceed:
1. Prioritize Your Life According to Your Passion
People who have passion but lack priorities are like individuals who find themselves in a lonely log
cabin deep in the woods on a cold snowy night and then light a bunch of small candles and place
them all around the room. They don’t create enough light to help them see, nor do they produce
enough heat to keep them warm. At best, they merely make the room seem a bit more cheerful. On
the other hand, people who possess priorities but no passion are like those who stack wood in the
fireplace of that same cold cabin but never light the fire. But people who have passion with prior-
ities are like those who stack the wood, light the fire, and enjoy the light and heat that it produces.
In the early 1970s, I realized that my talent would be maximized and my potential realized only if I
matched my passion with my priorities. I was spending too much of my time doing tasks for which
I possessed neither talent nor passion. I had to make a change—to align what I felt strongly about
with what I was doing. It made a huge difference in my life. It didn’t eliminate my troubles or re-
move my obstacles, but it empowered me to face them with greater energy and enthusiasm. For
more than thirty years, I have worked to maintain that alignment of priorities and passion. And as I
have, I’ve kept in mind this quote by journalist Tim Redmond, which I put in a prominent place for
a year to keep me on track: “There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few
that catch my heart. It is those I consider to pursue.”
Even a brief review of effective leaders and businesspeople throughout history illustrates that
their passion “caught on” with others. One of my favorites is Winston Churchill.
In the 1930s, Churchill was beginning to fade from view in British politics. But with the rise of
Hitler came a rise in Churchill’s passion. Long before others did, Churchill spoke out against the
Nazis. He had a passion to protect freedom and democracy. And when Hitler declared war and
sought to conquer Europe and crush England, Churchill’s passion for resistance became infused in
the people of Britain and eventually the United States.
Without Churchill, the fate of the free world might have turned out to be quite different.
Prioritizing your life according to your passion can be risky. For most people, it requires a major
realignment in their work and private lives. But you can’t be a talent-plus person and play it safe.
Advertising agency president Richard Edler stated this:
Safe living generally makes for regrets later on. We are all given talents and dreams.
Sometimes the two don’t match. But more often than not, we compromise both before ever
finding out. Later on, as successful as we might be, we find ourselves looking back longingly to
that time when we should have chased our true dreams and our true talents for all they were
worth. Don’t let yourself be pressured into thinking that your dreams or your talents aren’t pru-
dent. They were never meant to be prudent. They were meant to bring joy and fulfillment into
If your priorities are not aligned with your passion, then begin thinking about making changes in
your life. Will change be risky? Probably. But which would you rather live with? The pain of risk or
the pain of regret?
What are the priorities in your life? Think broadly and include the areas of work, family, recreation,
health, and so on. Write them in order of importance.
Compare what you have written about your passions and talents from Chapter 1 and the priority list
you just completed. How do they match up? What could you change to help align them? What price
will you likely pay if you neglect to make changes?
2. Protect Your Passion
If you’ve ever built a fire, then you know this: the natural tendency of fire is to go out. If you want to
keep a fire hot, then you need to feed it, and you need to protect it. Not everyone in your life will
help you do that when it comes to your passion. In truth, there are two kinds of people: firelighters,
who will go out of their way to help you keep your fire hot, and firefighters, who will throw cold water
on the fire of passion that burns within you.
How can you tell the firelighters from the firefighters? Listen to what they say.
Firefighters use phrases like these:
• “It’s not in the budget.”
• “That’s not practical.”
• “We tried that before and it didn’t work.”
• “We’ve never done that before.”
• “Yeah, but . . .”
• “The boss won’t go for it.”
• “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.”
• “That’s not the way we do things around here.”
• “It’ll never work.”
• “But who will do all the extra work?”
• “You’re not __________ [smart, talented, young, old, etc.] enough.”
• “You’re getting too big for your britches.”
• “Who do you think you are?”
If you’ve heard one or more of these phrases coming from people you know, you may want to
create some distance between yourself and them. These firefighters focus on what’s wrong rather
than what’s right. They find the cloud that comes with every silver lining.
They doubt. They resist change. They keep people from reaching their potential by trying to put out
the fire of their passion. Stay away from them. Instead, spend more time with people who see you
not just as you are, but as you could be; people who encourage your dreams, ignite your passion. I
try to schedule a lunch or two with firelighters like these every month. They really fire me up and
energize me to do what I know is best for me.
List the firelighters and firefighters in your life.
How can you limit your time with the firefighters?
How can you show the firelighters your appreciation? How will you make time for these people in
the coming weeks?
3. Pursue Your Passion with Everything You’ve Got
Rudy Ruettiger, upon whose life the movie Rudy was based, observed, “If you really, really believe in
your dream, you’ll get there. But you have to have passion and total commitment to make it hap-
pen. When you have passion and commitment, you don’t need a complex plan. Your plan is your
life is your dream.”
What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? How do you want to focus your energy: on sur-
vival, success, or significance? We live in a time and place with too many opportunities for survival
alone. And there’s more to life than mere success. We need to dream big. We need to adopt the per-
spective of someone like playwright George Bernard Shaw, who wrote,
I am convinced that my life belongs to the whole community; and as long as I live, it is my priv-
ilege to do for it whatever I can, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in the life for its
own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I got hold of for a
moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before turning it over to future
Shaw had passion—for life and his work. Your passion has the potential to provide you energy far
beyond the limitations of your talent. In the end, you will be remembered for your passion. It is
what will energize your talent. It is what will empower you to make your mark,
Describe the environments where and the times when your passion is contagious.
Who can you be a firefighter for? How will you involve and encourage them?
Special Limited Time Offer
Enjoying the free course so far? I am currently offering the full in-depth training course including 4 hours of tutorials for a very special rate.
Click the button below now to enrol you'll get instant access to Day 1 of the course where you'll learn about composition in photography
This special limited-time offer will not last long. Grab my full course and all the resources now and get on the road to your first photography client
Copyright © YourCompany. All Rights Reserved