Is it Passion or a Seasonal Obsession?

Beware: There’s a difference.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

My ADHD used to play tricks on me. I would find a project and become hyper focused on it for months. I was all-in, whether it was starting a new business, running for office, or creating an app.

One year my brother-in law called to ask me if I had heard of a franchise called Coffee News. He was looking into it as a side-hustle. Me? I bought the franchise. It lasted a year.

What’s a seasonal obsession?

A seasonal obsession is something that takes over your life for a season. Three to six months sounds about right.

Whether you have ADHD or not, we all become victim to the seasonal obsession: designing a new kitchen — only to realize you don’t have the budget. Starting a meditation routine — then remembering you hate the silence and stillness it requires. Or writing a book.

My first book, Ten Days With Dad: finding purpose, passion, and peace during the darkest days of Alzheimer’s and Covid-19, launches in March. I’m going to sell 2,500 copies in 50 days and 7,500 more over the next eighteen months.

This is not, however, a seasonal obsession.

Finding your passion

Obsessions and passions have many similarities.

Both dominate your attention for long periods of time and are usually the last thing you think about at night and first in the morning.

Both foster Imposter Syndrome, which appears at the most inappropriate times, such as when you’re explaining the idea to your spouse.

And both will make you do crazy things — like buy something expensive that you might need, but probably won’t for some time.

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

But here are four essential elements required for something to fall under the passion category.

  1. You’re ok with the playing the long game. Meaning, you know your idea or project is going to take some time to implement or experience success — and you’re ok with that.
  2. You’re ok asking those closest to you for their opinions — or help even! With obsession projects, this is seldom the case, in my experience.
  3. Regardless of the outcome, you’re going to be proud of your effort, energy, and focus — and will celebrate those wins.
  4. And finally — and most importantly — failure is not an option.

That’s right, failure is not an option.

I’m not saying you can’t go back to your day job if it doesn’t work out. Of course, you can. But when you find your passion — writing in my case, and specifically writing novels — you will do almost anything to stay on this path.

Obsessions are fun, but always end poorly.

I was obsessed with my first crush in high school. After she broke up with me, I didn’t date anyone else, because I believed there was a chance we might get back together. I wasted two years waiting for her.

We never got back together.

When obsessions don’t work out, dreams get shattered. Confidence gets decimated. And pride, well, poor pride takes an unwanted vacation — until the next obsession arises.

Where does passion come from?

I believe, in most cases, the passion we seek is already within us.

I wanted to be a writer since fifth grade, because of Mrs. Blake, my fifth-grade English teacher, and her kind words during a Parent-Teacher conference with my dad. She told him I was a talented writer and should consider writing outside my required classwork. When Mrs. Blake shared their conversation with me the following day, I was hooked on writing.

I’m not sure if it was because of her kindness and encouragement or something else, but writing, especially creative writing, meant something to me. Whether it was for my high school newspaper or personal journal, I was never happier than attempting to transfer stories or poems in my head to paper.

Unfortunately, my writing passion only reappeared when my dad got Alzheimer’s and I needed an outlet to express my grief and frustration.

Author owned Image. Mark Resnick on left. Barry Resnick on right.

My ADHD still plays tricks on me. After my last visit to Hawaii, I nearly put the deposit down on a luxury condo. Only this time, it was my wife who reminded me that we didn’t have the budget.

As for my passion, regardless of the success of my book, I’m never going to stop writing again.

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