Passionate Dispassion

Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong plays for his wife in front of the Sphinx, 1961.

Five years ago, a friend and I created a women's group. Once a month we meet, have dinner, and discuss a topic. This month was, creating habits that enhance happiness. As it often happens, the issue was timely. D and I had just had a conversation in which he was encouraging me to commit to working out, something that I don't do with any regularity. My argument was that I have not found the passion for working out, so therefore I will never be able to fully commit to it. Without passion, it won't become a habit, something that I relate to being second nature. 

One of our focuses was instilling good habits into our children and ourselves. Not everyone agreed that passion was needed to drive something into a habit. Many feel that doing it, drives it into a habit. We hear that a lot, just do it. Whether it is working out, meditating, or eating breakfast, these are all habits that would greatly benefit my life, so why do I find it so hard to do them? 

On Monday, I mentioned

this article

and I wanted to revisit this section on passion that I found interesting.

I have been doubting myself lately about whether I should enter works of art in the way that I do, which is with a lot of emotion, and always looking for a way to personally relate. I remember when I was a freshman in college, in my first literature class, I told my TA that I had trouble writing essays about books I didn’t love. The advice she gave me was to write with “passionate dispassion.” I teach now, and this is one of the most common dilemmas I hear from students: How do you write about something you don’t care about? I usually tell them to find an angle that interests them, or think about why anyone else would care. (But do they even care who cares?) I tell them they can still find something valuable in a book or a work of art, even if they aren’t emotionally moved by it. I’m not yet satisfied with my answer.So if I take the principle of passionate dispassion and apply it to creating an exercise routine, would it work? Could I find an angle that interests me or can I commit to it for my family, to stay healthy and live long? Perhaps. Maybe I am just being stubborn. I only have so many hours in a day to get things done that must be done and after that, I want to do the things I love to do first. And many days, I don't even get to those things. 

Thinking further, I remembered something I read in Inc. magazine about following your passion in business.

The article

says that passion is a side effect of mastery.

Passion is not something you follow, passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work.

Now that's a reversal. Just do it, the passion will come. Is that true? 

I know that good habits are important and something that I value. Maybe I just need to add exercise to the must do list and get over the fact that not every moment is going to be as passionate as Satchmo at the pyramids, right? 

Do you need passion to make something a habit? Do you have any advice for creating healthy habits easily? I could use a bit of advice.