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Bill Bennett


Passion is a cliché – give it a rest, say something new

You see plenty of passion if you spend time online.

Today someone “passionate about search engine optimisation” followed me on Twitter. I’ve come across people passionate about real estate, online marketing and customer service management.

They are either liars, deluded or insane.

I don’t know which is worse.

Passion or unhealthy obsession?

Sorry. Nobody is passionate about search engine optimisation. I shudder at the thought.

People might enjoy working in the field. They may enjoy it a lot and be excited by the money it pays. They may even get a buzz from the problem solving their work involves.

But they are not passionate. Not if they are mentally healthy.

Passion has become a meaningless word. Tired. A cliché. It tells me the person using it is an unimaginative idiot. Or lazy about language.

Be original, make that your goal

If you want to say you like something a lot, think up a new way of expressing the idea and we might listen.

And while we’re on the subject, the same applies to sexy.

Computers are not sexy. Pieces of software engineering are not sexy.

Or perhaps people have odd ideas about sex. It’s a little kinky if you ask me.



8 thoughts on “Passion is a cliché – give it a rest, say something new

  1. Blast. I’m passionate about sexy computers, where does that leave me?

  2. I agree that the word is over-used, however people have some crazy passions in this world. What word would you rather see in the place of ‘passionate’?

  3. @stuartm – there’s a wealth of words which could be used instead of passionate depending on the meaning someone was trying to convey before they dipped into the cliché drawer.

    For example:

    – we love search engine optimisation
    – we’re excited to sell you real estate
    – our hearts are irrigated with glee at the thought of providing first class CRM

    But seriously, I’d reach for the thesaurus and choose a word you haven’t already seen one hundred thousand times

  4. I get your point, and you’re probably right.

    However I once enjoyed a wonderful evening with a (now) friend who owns a company that makes spoons in the north of England. When we first met the idea of the evening was less than exciting, having spent a couple of hours with him I can truly say he is passionate about the topic to the point of being inspiring.

    Since then I’ve had an “each to their own” attitude towards people’s passions.

    You never know, there may well be somebody out there somewhere who is genuinely passionate about search engine optimisation.

  5. I realised that I’d missed your point a little as I hit post, but it was 3am here in Sydney and I was just finding excuses to stay awake as I listened in on a less than inspiring conference call.

    Back to your point, I completely agree with you, and it is a real shame. Passion for me has always been a term that has differentiated one person from another. I would much rather work alongside somebody with real passion for their subject than somebody who “knows their stuff”. It is upsetting to see it get diluted.

    I guess part of it is the genius of social media, there were probably always hundreds of people out there claiming to be passionate about things they don’t really care about. The difference now is that they can connect directly with you.

  6. The only people that are “passionate” are the ones that perpetuated the expression into our current society– the Tony Robbins- esque motivational speaker type– and they’re passionate about taking your money. Buyer be passionately aware—

  7. Another that is used way too much for describing things is ‘sleek’ as is ‘shiny’. I am also well and truly over ‘actually’ and ‘absolutely’ plus people who use Full. Stops. To. Make. A. Statement.

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