Recent psychological research suggests that some forms of passion may be detrimental, writes Scott Barry Kaufman of New York University in a Harvard Business Review article. He refers to two “flavours” of passion: harmonious and obsessive, and how it relates to the work place.
Those with obsessive passion have an “uncontrollable urge to engage in their work”, which often leads to them feeling conflict between work and other areas of their life.
On the other hand, harmonious passion is reported to lead to physical health, psychological well-being, self-esteem, positive emotions, creativity, concentration, work satisfaction and, of course, flow.
Harmonious passion allows increased integration between work and other activities in one’s life.
Kaufman says that people with harmonious passion can “actively disengage from work and experience other parts of their lives, they report general positive affect over time.” They maintain sense of being on top of their responsibility and are good at tuning out of work so that they can enjoy non-work-related activities. As a result they remain more engaged in their work and do not suffer from burn-out.