If you’re new to hosting a website, or planning to start one, chances are that you’ve asked the following question: “Is starting something new with the goal of passive income a recipe for disappointment?” The answer is more complicated than you’d expect.
Being a blogger can be (very) frustrating at times. You’d love to have that dream job where you can travel the world and live off the proceeds of your website. But new research reveals that the passion for a passive income might be misplaced. It could be that you’re building a website for the wrong reasons – or the wrong mentality.
Doing it for the Wrong Reasons
Harvard researchers have divided entrepreneurial passion into two fields. Harmonious passion is the more wholesome kind. It means that you’re someone who is motivated to work because it brings you satisfaction, and is an important part of your identity. The flip side of this is Obsessive passion. This means that you’re only in it because of the status, money, or other rewards that the job would bring. Think of it as doing what you love, versus doing something just because it pays the bills. Building a website for the feared ‘wrong reasons’ puts you into the obsessive passion group – and here’s why you need to watch out.
While the job may not have been what the researched entrepreneurs loved, the consequences had another side-effect. The entrepreneurs who reported being obsessively passionate felt higher concerns about social acceptance, status, or money. They reported being good at what they do, fitting well into the job, but also felt as though they were neglecting other aspects of their life – such as family or friends. As a results, these entrepreneurs were the ones more likely to experience a burnout.
Chasing your Obsession
It might seem like a good thing to chase your passion, especially when beginning on a new endeavor. After all, you need commitment if you ever want to get your project off the ground. Psychology Today’s Scott Kaufman disagrees:
The positive emotions and intrinsic joy that is associated with harmonious passion is what propels one to greatness, not the negative emotions, compulsions, and unstable ego that is associated with obsessive passion.
Obsessive entrepreneurs were reported to have a negative image of themselves, being quicker to pair the word “unpleasant” with “self” than their harmonious counterparts – suggesting an unstable ego. There’s a big difference between the leader who’s passionate about their business, and the one who is emotionally over-invested. While stories have come out due to an obsessive focus on a task while neglecting everything else (quote 50 cent, ‘Get rich or die trying’), the Harvard research suggests that this may be a myth. Those experiencing obsessive passion persist even when it doesn’t make sense to. An article by HBR suggests that “this may explain why so many child prodigies fizzle out later in life…by being obsessively attached to their domain, they are increasing their chances of burning out.”
On the other hand, harmonious passion is correlated with flow – being intertwined with your work, and being present and fully immersed in your work. Obsessive passion lacks this – instead, projects are driven by short-term impulses. For instance, building a website with the sole goal of it being a source of monetary income doesn’t count as harmonious, but rather an impulse that might have negative consequences further down the line. While it could be considered a ‘wrong reason’, there are a few steps to reduce the obsessive, and increase the harmonious.
Learning Before a Burnout
While Scott Kaufman suggest these 4 steps towards avoiding obsessive passion:
- Scheduling real breaks. Blocking out certain parts of the day to spend some personal time goes a long way in clearing your head space. Have lunch with a friend, hit the gym. Take a breath. We’ve written before on why it’s important to take time off (read: Facebook Depression).
- Don’t bring work home. While difficult for those who work at home, Scott suggests that after certain hours, it’s time to call it quits. Make it impossible to access your work once you’re finished. It’s a habit, and habits can be broken.
- Change your thought patterns. As suggested by Harvard’s research, obsessive entrepreneurs are more likely to use negative tones when speaking. Converting words such as ‘must’ and ‘need’ to ‘want’ and ‘desire’ can change your mindset.
- Committing to a new hobby. Investing entirely in just one thing can show signs of negative core self. Diversifying your activities helps clear your mind, and will be more positive.
Interested in seeing where you fit on the obsessive – harmonious scale? Take DiscoverThought‘s questionnaire to see how you rank. Let us know in the comments if you’ve been building a website for the wrong reasons, or it’s your passion.
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