Passion Unveiled | Passion + Love + The Brain


Steven Spielberg was rejected from his dream school, the University of Southern California, three times. Marilyn Monroe’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. R.H. Macy had a history failing businesses, including a dud Macy’s in New York City, N.Y. After Sidney Poitier’s first audition, the casting director instructed him to just stop wasting everyone’s time and ‘get a job as a dishwasher or something. Albert Einstein didn’t speak until age four and didn’t read until age seven. His teachers labelled him ‘slow’ and ‘mentally handicapped.’ But Einstein just had a different way of thinking. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen. Henry Ford’s first auto company went out of business. He abandoned a second because of a fight and a third went downhill because of declining sales.

Seven different people. Seven different circumstances of adversity. Have you ever wondered why many of the greats were able to press through so much? Or why they were able to stand up against the odds and choose to keep going? Or were humiliated but never allowed that to stop them? One word: Passion!

You may find it surprising that the brain of a person who is passionate fires and responds remarkably similar to the brain of someone in love. And contrary to popular beliefs, love doesn’t happen in the heart. It happens in the brain.


It is often believed that when you are in love, most regions of your brain activate, though this is partially true, many areas of your brain actually deactivate. Areas such as the amygdala; associated with fear and aversion to risk. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that before someone falls in love they’re afraid to get hurt and they see all these risks. But the moment they fall in love, many times the risks are no longer at the forefront? Keep in mind that the risks are still present, but it is no longer the focus. And this is because the area in the brain responsible for fear and aversion to risk fires less. The same applies to the the person who is passionate. It is easy to identify someone who lacks passion because they are the ones who are afraid to pursue. They are the ones who lean more towards the risks of a venture than the benefits. But the passionate person can acknowledge the risk, but continue to press onward, not because they have a strength not known to the other, but because specific areas in their brain that controls this function deactivates.

So back to the original question; Have you ever wondered why many of the greats were able to press through so much? Or why they were able to stand up against the odds and choose to keep going? Or were humiliated but never allowed that to stop them?

It is because passion, like love, causes pain centers in the brain to fire less. So the person who is passionate is able press through adversity easier (not easily) than someone who is is not. And this is why when we watch the television show Dragons Den, and see passionate entrepreneurs put everything on the line, finance from their mortgage, sell their homes and downsize to use the money, take out loans, use up their personal savings, borrow from friends.Just to have Kevin O’leary say “this is a stupid idea, and you will never see success’


We wonder how they can walk out being completely embarrassed on National Television, but say in their closing remarks that ‘I’m not going to give up on this, because I believe in it.’, while even we sit at home and say ‘this guys crazy’. It’s because those pain centers aren’t firing the same as they do in someone who is not passionate.

People need to understand that passion is more than just another stream of revenue. It’s so much more than something we can turn into a profession. Passion is a resource we are given to bring us to greatness. Try and imagine anything great accomplished on this planet without passion. This is why many of us will continue to live mediocre lives and never once tap into what it means to be great, because we lack the very thing that we need to get there. When passion converges with the human experience, it gives birth to a different you. It creates a more productive you, a more resilient you and a more focused you.

To Be Continued….


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