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Is it a good thing to be super "driven" and productive? What's the difference between workaholism, obsession, and passion?

This is a really nice, short piece by @oliverburkeman. Essential reading, I think.

A few additional thoughts (thread).

I definitely place myself in the "driven" category. When I wanted to figure this drive out (i.e., Why am I wired this way? What does it mean?) the way I did it was to literally write a book—ironic, I know.

Anyways, here's some stuff I learned that's been helpful...
Drive is part nature, part nurture.

-Some people are insensitive to dopamine, the neurochemical associated with striving. They need more of it to feel good (so they strive more).
-Everyone can become hooked on the cycle of doing/achieving, especially if rewarded in childhood.
Drive (and passion) CAN be wonderful! If it's born out of flow, or that state of full immersion, being totally in the zone, then drive is generally associated with life satisfaction/peace. Flow has a lot in common with love: complete caring for someone or something, loss of self.
Drive (and passion) can also be about fear of death. We endlessly "do" stuff to escape the reality that we are mortal (which can be pretty horrifying, especially if we are used to resisting it by working). This kind of doing/drive isn't always so good and is closer to addiction.
Drive (and passion) can also be about insecurities in this life right now. We think that if we can do just one more thing, sell one more book, get one more promotion, THEN we'll be truly loved, fit-in, feel good about the way we look, etc., etc. Never works and also not so great.
Most everyone who is driven and passionate has a bit of all of this fueling them:

At different times, in different contexts these levers may contribute disproportionately. Best is when it's flow for most things most of the time.
For the times (both acute and longer-term) when drive IS about flow, it's usually OK (if not great) to keep it going, so long as you're self-aware enough to realize tradeoffs, what you're sacrificing in other areas of your life. (Note: this kind of self-awareness is *not* easy.)
When it's fear or insecurity fueling the drive (what @oliverburkeman calls "demons") two options, non-exclusive:

1) Work on underlying problem (e.g., therapy, meditation, sharing in a community)
2) Say f*ck it and point the drive in ways that are aligned with your core values
#1 (above) is a long-term path to more freedom (and flow) but it's hard for any normal human (like me) to fully overcome fear and insecurity so #2 has its place too.
The key is to realize what's driving you and where you point your drive (writing books, helping people, doing surgery versus scoring a hit, belittling people, etc.)

AND, to work on the underlying stuff too, so you control your passion instead of your passion controlling you.
None of this is easy, but, I think, a worthwhile endeavor. People want things to be simple, black or white. This stuff is grey, often paradoxical. It can also can be uncomfortable to confront. But it's important! It's a path to freedom. (I hope, anyways!!)
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