Let’s face it: in the absence of passion, our relationships, our work, and our personal endeavors lose momentum. Without at least a spark of passion, commitment and dedication will fizzle out, and simple contentment – although wonderful – may slide into apathy or complacency. Passion is what gives us the emotional energy to apply ourselves, risk rejection, connect deeply with others, and ultimately impact the world.
Although most of us welcome passion into our lives, it will fade if it isn’t fed and nurtured. Through the process of hedonic adaptation, things that once thrilled us can become old hat. An impassioned love affair might lose its luster. A dream career can turn into a daily grind. Hobbies that were once an obsession may now gather dust in the corner.
When passions fade, we might have to move on and accept that a chapter of our lives is closing. But at other times we need to reinvigorate our passion so that we don’t lose something – or someone – deeply important to us. By learning about how different personality types generate enthusiasm, motivation, and meaning, we can strategize how best to keep our passions alive.
In this article, we’ll explore ways to recover from burnout, kick complacency, and resuscitate the passions that enrich our lives. So what can the study of personality types teach us about restoring passion? Let’s find out.
Rational to the core, Analyst personality types find their passion in exploring systems and engaging with big-picture questions. They enjoy accumulating knowledge, spotting unexpected patterns and connections, and using their insights to achieve a better – well, anything. For Analysts, burnout occurs when there is nothing left to discover and when their intellectual freedom is curtailed. Given their pioneering spirit, these personalities need the latitude to pursue their interests on their own terms.
When Analysts experience burnout, it is time for them to step back and look at the big picture of their efforts. What grand challenge can they tackle at work? How can their efforts disrupt current paradigms and usher in positive change? What new mysteries can they explore with their romantic partners? By reframing their daily activities and interactions in terms of intellectual and personal discovery, Analysts can renew their appreciation of their work and their relationships.
Analyst passion question: How can this task or relationship contribute to a big-picture discovery?
Even typically passionate Diplomat personalities can lose their spark. The everyday and the ordinary won’t sustain their passion – whether in a job that feels repetitive or in an intimate relationship that has lost its romantic flourish. Diplomats crave novelty and growth, and they will feel disconnected or stagnant if their work and relationships don’t leave room for dreaming and creativity. As with Analysts – their fellow Intuitive personality types – Diplomats lose steam unless they can honor their powerful imaginations, expanding old visions and embarking on new ones.
Diplomats need to “renew their vows” often – both with their professions and with their relationships. When these personality types feel stuck or burnt out, they should write mission statements, create vision boards, and compose love letters that create a vision for the future.
Perhaps more than any other Role, Diplomats need to regain their spark on an emotional level, not just a practical level. Discipline, productivity, plans, and schedules can only carry them so far. These personalities are reformers, and whether they prioritize personal growth or social activism, they need to honor their idealistic fire in order to maintain their passion.
Diplomat passion question: How can I connect this pursuit to my personal mission of creating a better future?
Passionate about order and accomplishing what they set out to do, Sentinel personality types can be zealous even about work that most of us would consider tedious – as long as they believe there is a purpose to it. In fact, the ordinary world can be quite a comfort to people with this Role. Sentinels connect to their passion by serving as a stabilizing influence, both at work and at home. Driven by loyalty rather than praise, they are unlikely to seek the acclaim of others, but they still want to be noticed for what they do. If these personalities sense they are being taken for granted, they are at risk of losing their enthusiasm.
Sentinels can restore their passion by reaffirming their place in the grand scheme of things. It might help them to imagine themselves as the lead in the film It’s a Wonderful Life. What would their world be like without them? How would the people in their lives be affected? What social groups would crumble without them, and what projects at work would fall apart?
Like George Bailey in the film, Sentinels bind together the people in their lives, and the world would be a colder, more chaotic place if they didn’t exist. By appreciating the meaningful influence they have in their personal and professional spheres, Sentinel personality types can spark their inner fires again.
Sentinel passion question: How am I essential to the world around me?
Explorers live to take action, and they love making and fixing things. Passion, for many of them, involves swooping in and saving the day with their skills. These personality types enjoy few things better than showing the results of their handiwork, but they rarely sit on their laurels. After the first rush of pleasure that they get from a hard-won accomplishment, Explorers feel the urge to move on and experience more. If they feel stuck, confined, or controlled by others, their passion will be stifled. Even pleasant routines can become trying for Explorers, whose worst nightmare is to experience the same thing over and over again.
As you might have guessed from their name, Explorer personalities reinvigorate their passion by exploring. They need to discover new challenges to tackle, new sensations to experience, and new ways to master their skills. In relationships, they should regularly identify new ways to connect with the person they care about. This may entail taking on new activities, traveling to new places, or creating new memories together.
Keeping a relationship fresh is important for everyone, but perhaps even more for Explorer personality types than for other Roles. Above all, Explorers’ enthusiasm will be bolstered if they know that they can freely head out in new directions and chart new waters – whether on their own or with the person they love.
Explorer passion question: What new terrain can I explore from this vantage point?
Extraverts and Introverts
Passion is emotional energy, and its role in your life will also be influenced by your degree of Extraversion or Introversion. Extraverted personality types gain energy by turning outward and engaging with other people. As a result, an Extravert is more likely to bolster their passion by experiencing strong external stimuli and interacting with others. Their passion may even be triggered by a group effort, such as a team event, a party, or a fundraiser.
On the other hand, Introverts get energy by turning inward and attuning to their own counsel. When they’ve lost interest in the things that matter to them, these personalities may want to retreat on their own or spend time with a few trusted people. The key to reinvigorating their passion will likely lie in something they discover within themselves.
Extravert passion question: What event, experience, or social interaction would refresh my energy?
Introvert passion question: When can I carve out time to reflect on the situation at hand and clarify my priorities?
When we need to reinvigorate our passion, our personality type can guide us where to look. In short, Analysts should cultivate a sense of discovery, Diplomats should chart a course toward a better future, Sentinels should appreciate the ways they serve as pillars of their communities, and Explorers should scout for new terrain. Introverts should create time and space for reflection, and Extraverted personalities should seek out conversations and experiences that will reinvigorate them.
Of course, we don’t always need to experience passion. In fact, it would be unrealistic to expect to feel impassioned all of the time. That said, sometimes our work, our personal projects, or our relationships need a kickstart. Fortunately, when we need to restart our engines, we can turn to insights from the study of personality types to get back into gear.