You might be aware of some of the things you are passionate about. But chances are very high that you have other strong “hot buttons” that you aren’t aware of. You must discover your passions because these “invisible passions” can derail you if you let them.
If I didn’t already know this, I got a good reminder of it over the weekend.
On Saturday, my guest post appeared at GetRichSlowly.org. I wrote about the benefits of being in business for yourself and I encouraged people to consider doing it. I also gave a few ideas on how people might try to open up their own business without taking a huge risk in doing so.
96% of the comments were appreciative and affirming. Most of the readers liked what they read. More important, they chimed in on their own experiences and how to make your business successful. They shared how they did it. They talked about what worked, what was important and what pitfalls to avoid. All in all, it was a great conversation. Even though I learned a lot by writing the article, I learned more from the comments and the ideas that the readers shared. This is almost always the case, so I wasn’t surprised. Most everyone was sharing their passion and I loved it.
While several folks pointed out ideas I hadn’t considered, most were nice about it. One wasn’t so friendly. When I first read the comments he made, I was startled by my own reaction and fear of criticism.
I thought this person misunderstood what I was trying to say. Moreover, based on his comments, it seemed to me that he was just trying to pick a fight. I still think he was. This upset me and I tried to craft a response that would allow him to see “the error of his ways.” He was making me look bad and I didn’t like it.
As we exchanged responses I could feel my body temperature rising and little beads of sweat rolling off my tightly clenched fists (slight exaggeration here for poetic effect…).
I became passionate about convincing this person I was right.
The ridiculous thing is that I knew I was being ridiculous – but it was difficult to stop. While I spent time crafting my response to this person, I was very aware that 50 other people had loved what I wrote. Why was I focused on this one person? Why do our eyes go to the one flaw in a picture rather than see the beauty in the remainder of the work?
Why should you care about this?
Because you might do this too. Maybe you don’t have the same hot button that I do, but you might have a hot button that comes out and bites you at the worst possible time. And if you do, it can cost you plenty. We both need to live our passions but control our “invisible” passions. I needed to understand that my invisible passion had taken over. Once I realized this I was able to let it go and get back to business.
I wanted to share how much I love being self-employed and I wanted to help others do so if they were so inclined. But my invisible hot button sidetracked me from my mission. That’s why the invisible passions are so important to contain.
Can you think of an example where your invisible passion got in the way of your true passions? This is often expressed as the choice we make between being happy and being right. Put another way, is every fight worth fighting? Of course the answer is no.
But it’s not so simple. These struggles sneak up on us inch by inch. Before you know it, you’re in the middle of the Octagon tearing someone limb from limb over a parking space. Yep…invisible passions are costly and dangerous.
I do want to share a few tools that I was lucky enough to have that really helped me get back on the right track rather quickly:
1. I asked for help.
I knew something was off. I was getting too much pleasure crafting mean responses to the person (and of course deleting them before I posted them). I sent out a message on Twitter asking my friends if they thought I was off or not.
2. I was willing to take direction.
When you are in the middle of a smackdown, it’s really hard to listen to your coach in the corner – but you have to. Some buddies told me to cool it so I did. I didn’t want to…but I did.
3. I remembered why I was there.
The purpose of my guest post was to help others – not to prove how smart or right I am. Once I remembered that, I was able to “wake up.”
Your invisible hot buttons can create huge arguments with your spouse, boss and/or children. They can cost you dearly. What are your hot buttons? Have you wrangled with these challenges too? How did you overcome these problems?
Thanks for sharing Kirk. Carneige’s books have been crucial for me too.
My all time fav is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. He deals with this issue in that book as well.
Sounds like you took direct and massive action to address this character defect and it’s paid off. Nicely done….
Kirk Kinder says
I use to argue often with others to “prove” my point. It didn’t really matter what the topic was – who the best quarterback was, political ideas, finance topics, anything.
Of all the arguments, I never changed anybody’s mind. If it was a fact, that I got correct I started to feel bad at being right.
I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and it helped me modify my behavior. I usually acknowledge others views verbally and then give a reason why I have my view. I don’t belabor any points. And, if the contention is a fact, I usually say something like, “I may be wrong, I often am, but I heard that….”. Then if I am right, it helps the other save face or not feel as if I am rubbing in their face.
This has helped me keep my hotbuttons in check.