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More often you hear in the business world that in order to succeed you need to have passion. Although I agree, I would take it with a grain of salt. In the reality of the business world, passion has its limits. Especially if you cross the fine line between passion and obsession. (Very fine line indeed) – I say passion is the “Fuel”, not the engine.

It will serve you well in the beginning and at some point, it will not be enough. I consider myself a passionate man, at least when it comes to what I do in life, especially in my business, yet I have learned over the years (going from failure to failure) that it takes more than passion to reach a higher level of success. I know many passionate business people that can’t scrape a dollar together if their life depends on it.

If you indulge me for a moment and use the analogy the passion is the “Fuel”, you need to build an engine to put the fuel into. It requires both the engine and the fuel to create motion. You can have all the fuel (passion) in the world, yet if you do not have a powerful engine to put it in, you will go nowhere. You can’t simply “passionate” yourself into success.  So my entrepreneurs, startup founders, before you take your business on the road to try to get it funded, focus your thinking and ingenuity to build an engine to put your “fuel” into, otherwise it is just going to be wasted energy. 

Although passion might be the fuel of success or as I would like to define it: passion holds within the possibility of success, passion alone will not carry you to the finish line or to your promised land. My analogy is simple, passion is fuel, not the engine. If you need to use passion effectively you need to build a powerful engine to put it in.

Passion can’t be a substitute for experience, knowledge, and know-how. It can be a driving force behind it, yet passion alone is useless. At times I hear investors saying; “I like him, he has so much passion”. It is like saying he got the fuel looking for an engine. It is a paradox – a car without fuel is the same as fuel without a car, they exist together. 

  • Use your passion for learning and to a core knowledge
  • Use your passion to apply your learning
  • Use your passion to practice your knowledge
  • Use your passion to strive for excellence, not perfection
  • Use your passion to drive engagement and participation of others.

Passionate people can sometimes be like the Tasmanian Devil running and running and destroying everything in their path. When one combines passion (fule) with knowledge (engine), magic can happen. When operating with passion alone, you might very quickly turn it into obsession without even noticing it. In business, you want to work with passionate people, yet investors tend to turn away from obsessed people.

The bottom line is, use your passion wisely do not let it consume you.

So, are you passionate or just obsessed?