Why does passion matter?

Episode 8 of Part 1 of our Introduction series: Setting the stage for success.

Habits:  Know thyself | Be curious

Skills:  Passion | Self-awareness

Description:  This episode introduces the importance of discovering your passions. We begin by giving a definition to what we mean by passion, then investigate some popular thinking that outlines the benefit of finding your passion. We then outline an exercise to help you begin to discover your passions by noticing the things that you enjoy spending your time on. 

How this lesson might be discussed with your child

The aim of this episode is encourage students to think about the importance of passion in relation to future success, and to demonstrate why passion for something helps to push them to work harder, while still enjoying the process.

The ongoing exercise 'My Emotions & Activities Journal', which repeats for the remainder of the Introduction Series, is a way to help students start to build a picture of the things they are most passionate about. This is not intended as a form of career advice or guidance, but rather an ongoing process of helping students to get to know themselves a bit better, so they can make more informed decisions in the future.

Possible discussion questions include:

  • Do you think that finding your passions is important? Why/Why not?

  • Do you worry about whether you'll find your passions, or that you might not have anything you're passionate about? (It's important here to emphasise that most people struggle with this, and that it's not something to worry over... but that taking the small steps of working through the Passion Arena exercises will help them to get to know themselves better)

  • Among your family or friends, who can you think of that is the most passionate about what they do?

  • How does being passionate help them?

  • Did today's episode make you feel like finding your passions was going to be achievable for you?

  • Did today's episode help you to think of areas where you might already be passionate?

Some specific discussion points

Discussion of any literary works, historical figures, or current events featuring prominent individuals offers an opportunity to discuss levels of passion. For example, given the Steve Jobs quote in this episode, you might want to start a discussion around whether we would have iPods or iPhones if Steve Jobs wasn't as passionate about his work as he obviously was.

Some possible questions may include:

  • What products, services, charities or organisations do think have been created as a direct result of a passionate individual or team of passionate people?

  • Was the passion about the product or organisation or something else?

  • How can passion about one thing, result in the creation of something seemingly different? (For example, the founders of Passion Arena are passionate about helping people be happy and compassionate to one another – so why would they create education videos that teach you how to be successful?)

  • Who are the most passionate people that you can think of?

  • What makes you think of these people as particularly passionate?

  • How has their passion helped them?

  • Has their passion had any negative effects?

Discussing the quote from this episode:

"I'd rather be a failure at something I love, than a success at something I hate." — George Burns

Possible areas of discussion may include:

  • Do you agree with this comment? Why/Why not?

  • Why do you think it would be better to be a failure at something you love?

  • If you truly loved something, do you think you'd stay a failure at it very long?

  • If you really hated something, how long do you think you'd remain successful at it?

  • Can you think of anyone who is successful at something they hate?

Further information on this topic

If you'd like to dive a bit deeper on this topic, you might be interested in watching:


Steve Jobs – How to Live Before You Die. 
Stanford University Commencement Address, 2005.


Or you might like to read:

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica, 2009.