Since the gist of Oliver Segovia’s Harvard Business Journal article “To Find Happiness, Forget About Passion” conflicts with my beliefs on thriving, I was interested in this brainiac’s (HBS ’10) ideas. He argues we have to be solutionists – find a problem and solve it in order to be happy.
Putting problems at the center of our decision-making changes everything. It’s not about the self anymore. It’s about what you can do and how you can be a valuable contributor. People working on the biggest problems are compensated in the biggest ways. I don’t mean this in a strict financial sense, but in a deeply human sense.
What he fails to mention is that we aren’t going to be effective or even enjoy solving problems that we aren’t passionate about. I’ll use myself as an example. Fracking is a big deal right now in El Paso County. It’s has been linked to water pollution and earthquakes. But it offers opportunity to reduce unemployment and increase school budgets. According to Segovia, I should be eager to get educated on the local issue of fracking since it deals with two areas I care about: the environment and economic opportunity. So why doesn’t fracking push my happiness button?
Grant Crowell answers my question in his comment, “Segovia is short-sighted when he says for happiness, we should not rely on passion and instead focus on solving problems.” Crowell instead offers 5 P’s to focus our efforts in thriving:
1) Passion: the emotional drive and sense of self
2) Purpose: our need to be connected to something bigger than ourselves
3) Profit: because we need reward for motivation
4) People: because our network and relationship skills make us truly powerful
5) Push: giving as much as we have even when no one but us is paying attention
Fracking issues don’t fulfill the Ps for me: I’m ambivalent because I don’t see tangible or intangible reward to finding solutions – I have neither the network nor skill set to effect positive change. Thus, I can’t push myself to get going on the solutions. To thrive, I must focus in areas where I have the 5P’s.
What about you? Does your work fulfill the 5P’s?