Passion, should we wear it on our sleeves?

Passion for work is generated by the value of that work - not by a mindless "passion" gene or character trait.

“Powerful, intense, and overwhelming enthusiasm” precisely explain passion hence when we are passionate we certainly feel fire, zeal and fervor in our belly. It is a self-driven behavior modification process. 
The passion dictates the desired behavior on one's own part. The trick is not just to feel passionately about your job, but to act passionately too. If you act passionately, you won't sit passively through another boring meeting. You can't. You will share that passion with the others in the meeting. Your energy can lift all of them. Even if it doesn't, you will feel better knowing you are doing something to advance the cause in which you believe passionately.

At some point in my career, one of the leader asked me, "Raj, I do not find you passionate enough"

"It is reflected through the work I have done so far. Frankly speaking, I do not like wearing it on my sleeves". I said.

I do remember when Indian Cricketer Sreesanth hit a six in one of the match, he danced down to the 22 yards. Similarly, we have found Bhajji also demonstrating his passion on the field. However, we have people like Rahul Dravid also who have scored 10,000 + runs and demonstrates dogged determination without showing off his emotion on his countenance and demeanor. It is imperative that we as Leadership Team understand the passion in its true sense.

I believe that while organization environment plays a critical role, however, a person passionate at job can be consistent in his job by his own drive and when situations are bad he continues to work with the same vigor or maybe more.

To consistently deliver and excel, it is imperative that we keep Sharpening the Axe. Let me share a brief story :

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asks for a job from a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees down."Congratulations," the boss said. "Go on that way!" Very motivated by the boss’ words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he only could bring down 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring down 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing down less and less trees.

"I must be losing my strength", the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on. "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" the boss asked.  "Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees..."

To get optimal results it is imperative that we sharpen our skills consistently. I do remember few lines from a poem "An Award" talking about work as "stimuli" which I scribbled long time back.

"Thy put every ounce of thy energy & ability,
In each of the job enshrined to thee, 
Thy kept thy enthusiasm, Everytime it plunged, 
Thy made an extra efforts & caught hold of it.
Thy worked with determination,
To come upto the trust & expectation bestowed upon thee.
Thy took every work with interest
And it worked not as work, But as "stimuli",
Thy continue feeding thy interests,
And they resulted in feeding thee...."


  1. Nikunj Thakkar11:15:00 AM

    I appreciate and feel good to read precise definition of passion. Good article to boost the belief of passionates about being righteous of their belief making them more confident. I would applaud, your spontaneous powerful response statement to your senior. Rahul Dravid and Woodcutter examples were good connect.

  2. your blog is too good. Cool in looks informative in Material...Thanks For sharing Information with Us.

    mba india

  3. Rajeev Nangia8:01:00 PM

    Dear Raj

    I am a strong believer of working with passion but I strongly oppose working with hearts. Passion is working both with hearts and mind.

    I like the topic very much.

    Best Regards
    Rajeev Nangia

  4. Raj, good is like wearing or not wearing aggression....Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar are the greatest examples of being aggressive without wearing it.In Viv's words it is the intensity...many wrote that his swagger was representative body language of his aggression and intimidation, he just said that it was natural and he never needed to put it on...passion is similar - you can exude naturally and not wesr it..

    but the only addition I would like to make to the discussion here is "...passion is a much needed ingredient for leadership and anything you do" make sure you have it not necessary to wear it conspicuously..


  5. Very nice article Raj

  6. Raj, true passion and intensity comes from deep down within. You can't pick and choose how and when to wear it or show it. You either have it or you don't. How much it rises to the surface depends on the individual and their personality. Leaders have it in spades, and are born with it. It's part of their DNA, it's who they are...
    Cheers, Jon Field

  7. Hi Raj, very good read & excellent examples. But reality, very often in professional life is, that no matter how passionate you passionately you act / react...and however much you sharpen your axe, it finally depends on whether your boss likes YOU or not...and you need to give into a dirty word called 'politics'!!

    Maybe if you think about the Saurav Ganguly & Greg Chappell episode, you will know what I mean!

    Best regards, Ina

  8. If somebody is passionate about his work ( I will not say 'Job') and work passionately he will get the real satisfaction at the same time he will enhance his skills day by day. Politics may be a short time friction in his path but ultimately he will gain by his attitude. Sharpening Axe whenever required will enhance the efficiency and one will get what he really needs.

  9. A good piece. Acting passionately is worth noting.


  10. Is passion the precursor to persistence? Because persistence is the one common thread behind all successful outcomes... Unless you happen to get lucky however who wants to rely on luck!!

  11. Dear Sir,

    It was nice to read this crisp meaningful article.
    This reading helped me to remind myself of passion with perseverence.

    Best Regards,

  12. Great article! Both examples- Rahul Dravid& woodcutter are great.
    however, the second example reminds me of STephen Covey's SHARPEN THE SAW funda. a briiliant thought!