This week I'm discovering the downside to dancing to the passion drummer. We all have times in our lives when we have obligations and tasks that are not enjoyable, but they are often pressing matters that must be done, however unpleasant. For those listening to the goal-oriented drummer, this becomes something you don't pay much attention to, because you learn to stay focused on your goals and you learn that you have to fight for the things you want and that accomplishing your goals often takes discipline and self-sacrifice. For those dancing to the passion drummer, the effects of doing something that isn't in alignment with a passion isn't something that can be as easily dealt with. I became intimately aware of this fact the past few weeks.
I happened to find my passion drummer on the week lull after completing midterm exams for my last two college courses to complete my college degree. Now that school is back in session, and I'm having to read assigned textbook chapters, study, complete homework, write reports and participate in online class discussions, I am experiencing a new type of "ugly." Why? Because I have come to the realization that completing my computer science degree is not in alignment with any of my passions, and, beside that, it has not been required for me professionally up to now, so it's likely that not having it not holding me back in discernible anyway. On top of that, neither Natural Science nor Macroeconomics are my cup'o'tea which is why I hadn't taken these two required courses until the very end.
I only had 6 weeks of class left to complete my degree requirements when I came to this realization that I didn't need a degree to be happy and fulfilled. As anyone in their right mind would tell you, it would be silly for me to withdraw from class at this point, even if I now dance to a drummer that clearly shows me this college degree is not relevant to my new way of valuated my investments in time/money/effort. I'm just too close to the goal line to walk away.
I now only have 4 weeks of class left and each consecutive week has become more of a burden, more challenging, and I even have found myself becoming resentful for how much time this homework is taking from my day. Try as I might, I cannot find any passion in this endeavor. I find myself becoming more unhappy with each night of studies. Now, after dancing with the passion drummer, knowing what it feels like to have days and days of effortless happiness, I REALLY don't like this dark feeling and I think somehow I am failing in my quest to dance to the passion drummer because I am becoming so unhappy due to school.
So I go to Roger and Jason today and I ask them what I'm doing wrong. Both of them told me that these types of tasks (Quadrant 1 tasks in Covey's Quadrants - Urgent and Important) that are not in alignment with passion, will require effort on my part to complete (tasks that are in alignment with passion never feel so much like effort as they do just plain having fun) and that joy will not be something likely to be experienced in the process. Both agreed that these tasks can be viewed as "necessary evils".
So, today, I came to understand that if you are doing something that you find no enjoyment in (not in alignment with any of your passions) and it's anything time consuming (something that can't be accomplished quickly), and you are truly dancing to your passion drummer, it is likely you will experience some degree of unhappiness, and perhaps even resentment for it taking you away from the passions in your life. This is normal.
The upside to this is that it completely reinforces your decision making to only pursue things that are in alignment with your vector of focus (passion) when dancing to the passion drummer. On the downside, when life gets in the way, and you have to do something that isn't a passion, the longer that task takes the more unhappiness you will experience. You just do it, and get it done so you move on to something more enjoyable.
Considering that I've always been an A student, and I used to love the accomplishment of getting good grades and learning pretty much anything, I still am coming to grips with this one. Roger points out that part of my problem is that I'm still investing the time necessary in my studies to get a high grade and that I could spend much less effort and still pass the course. Why I'm not compelled to slack a bit on my studies and take a lower grade so that I have more time to play with my passions is likely a remnant of the goal-oriented drummer (any job worth doing is worth doing well). The ROI isn't the same now, but I'm not entirely convinced that this remnant is a bad thing. I do understand now the new challenges I'll have in life dancing to the passion drummer are of a different nature than what I originally anticipated. There is no way of rationalizing your feelings away when dancing to the passion drummer. It just doesn't work that way like it does listening to the goal-oriented drummer.