At any given time, I’m working on at least one passion project on the side.
As a dabblist, this comes very naturally to me. I’m constantly feeling inspired by new ideas, creative methods, and materials I want to get my hands on. But our society generally undervalues this concept of passion projects.
It’s often seen as not being serious or appearing like you have your head in the clouds or that it’s a waste of precious energy that should be focused on more important tasks. We live in a culture where we often wear busy and stress as a badge of honor to show that we are hard-working, so it can be difficult for people to embrace their dreams passion projects for fear of appearing less serious or hardworking in their professional lives.
I think that’s such a shame.
As healthy, normal humans, we crave breaks from our work. We need time to rest and recover so our brains can keep working.
But, for some reason, much of our society chooses passive activities to escape the everyday strains and pressures like drinking in front of hours of Netflix (guilty) instead of more meaningful leisure activities for their own growth and development.
These passive activities often lead to boredom, which usually turn into apathy and depression. It’s not actually helping the brain recover and get back to work feeling refreshed and anew. In my experience, it’s contributed to an increase in workplace malaise and frustration.
Passion projects make you a more successful, balanced, and healthy human - in your work, in your relationships, and in your aspirations.
This is backed up by research, guys.
A 2014 study by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that creative hobbies help employees recover from the demands of their job and show up feeling more fresh and focused on their work projects. They call it creative recovery.
We all need creative recovery in our lives. Whether it’s from a demanding office job, juggling a full family schedule, or from crushing it everyday building your own business. I am taking a stand for passion projects, saying we need a resurgence of them in modern society, starting with you.
We need your passion projects.
In doing research for this piece, I came across a post on Medium by Hiut Denim Co talking about the 3 rules (I prefer to use the term guidelines) to apply to your passion project:
- It’s Low Risk. It doesn’t require you to make a living off of it, or put food on your table.
- It’s Low Pressure. It doesn’t have a deadline, so there’s no time pressure for you to finish it and make it another thing on your to-do list. This also makes it so you can try new things, experiment, and take risks.
- It’s a Labor of Love. It’s something you want to keep coming back to and naturally want to finish, because it brings you so much joy.
Some of my most meaningful work started as a passion project.
Take this blog, for instance.
Almost 5 years ago, I felt compelled to create things with my hands, take photos of them, and share them on the internet. I had no plan for making the blog into anything beyond what it was - a creative passion project that filled me with much-needed joy and inspiration.
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