Passion Is Not Enough To Be Successful

Man on a mountain top

“You have to be passionate about it to be successful.”

How many times have you heard this? It’s everywhere, everyone is saying it, and everyone believes it. The problem with this statement is that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. It is really a  disservice to tell someone that passion breeds success. You can’t make an apple pie if you only have apples. Success has many ingredients, and passion is only one of them.


Patience is an enormous part of success. It takes time to build success. Sometimes it happens quickly, but the majority of the time overnight successes took several years to happen. In these instances, people see the concert but fail to grasp the magnitude of labor put in to plan and execute that concert.

Passion will help you be patient, but it wears off from time to time. Especially when you fail, fail, and then fail some more. It becomes tedious. You begin watching the clock or the calendar. The time slows down and you begin to lose passion as your patience begins to disappear. This is when you need to be determined to get through the tough times.


Without determination, passion would be nothing but a word. Pursuing your passion, professionally or personally, takes time and effort. Most likely you will fail the first time around, even the second or the third. But the determination to be successful will help you keep going, it is your little engine that keeps pounding away. It is the will to defy the odds that fuel that passion.


You got your engine to drive you forward and you’re willing to wait, but the road trip is not complete without the commitment to stay on track. This is where most dreams and ideas fail to be executed. You are not committed to the success, not the dream or the idea, but to the success itself. Maybe you’re even afraid of commitment, that happens too. Just like a relationship, passion won’t fix lack or fear of commitment. It is up to you to commit to success and stay on track.

Flipping The Coin

On the other side, I came to realize, that success can breed passion. My personal example is event planning. Not once did I consider an event planning to be part of my future. When I got involved with event planning, helping organize an annual convention for a non-profit I never thought that it will grow on me and I will develop a passion for it. But I did.

Planning and executing successful conventions for the organization spurred an emotional appeal and desire for event planning. I was good at it and I really enjoyed it. This brings me to my last point, knowing when you stop.


Entrepreneurs have a hard time letting go of something they are passionate about. If it’s not making you money, it’s not a business it’s a hobby. We know it. But we fail to accept it. Most of us can’t afford to pursue a passion without a return on that investment. We’re not millionaires, and if we were, we’d know better than to pursue something that is not profitable. To make hobbies profitable, you have to be good at it. That’s where we paint a really nice picture for others, full of false hopes. This is why people can’t accept it. We fail to mention that you have to be good at it to make it work and be profitable.

This is especially true when you’re trying to turn a hobby into a profession. You have to be good at it. If you’re bad or mediocre, business won’t be that good. Plus, if you’re like me, you would hate producing anything below good. Even good makes me shiver and pushes me to GREAT!

If you’re patient, determined, committed, and passionate about something you’re doing you have to realize that there will be a point in the near future where you will have to decide: go or no-go.

This is not giving up or quitting! Not at all. You’ve done it and it didn’t work out. You’ve failed. Congratulations! Now you can learn what worked and didn’t work, ACCEPT IT, and redirect your efforts to something new. Take that knowledge, experience, and connections to a whole new level; to the whole new project.

My ordeal

Photography was my life and it was supposed to be my future. But mediocre results don’t really agree with me. I’ve been photographing since 2006; and even quit U.S. Navy to pursue a career in photography (photojournalism, to be specific). That’s what I’m doing right now, finishing up my BA in Photojournalism. 20 (or so) credits away from being done!

I’m passionate about photography, I love it and always will. But, I think I’m at the point where I finally realized that photography is my hobby and will never be a profession. I’m at the point of “no-go.”

When you put in time, effort, and try to do your best – and yet, you still produce mediocre results you have to ask yourself “Is this really what I should be doing?”

In my case, it turns out that I’m more successful as an event planner, businessman, and marketer. As much as I love photography, it seems to be something that I’ll never be able to produce GREAT results constantly. Occasionally it does happen, but occasionally won’t pay the bills and put food on the table.

It seems like all the elements are there to be successful, now I just got to keep driving forward with my current business endeavors, which one of them is (now

Using my knowledge and experience in photography will give me a far better creative edge than what my competition might have. Combining verticals drives innovation!

To recap. Yes, you do need passion to be successful but passion alone won’t do it. You need patience, determination, commitment, acceptance, and worthy results to be successful. The crap doesn’t cut it anymore. Cutting your unsuccessful passion loss can be one of the greatest moments in your life, far greater than the one when you decided to pursue it.

Do you think I’m missing something? What do you think helps people succeed? Tweet me.

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Viktor Nagornyy

Viktor Nagornyy

For the past 14 years, Viktor has worked with businesses of all sizes, helping them generate more leads and sales through an effective inbound marketing strategy and conversion-optimized websites while increasing marketing efficiency with marketing automation tools and tactics. Follow on Mastodon: