Damasio found that while ’emotions and feelings can cause havoc in the processes of reasoning…the absence of emotion and feeling is no less damaging’; was led to ‘the counter-intuitive position that feelings are typically indispensable for rational decisions’.
The passions, he concluded, ‘have a say on how the rest of the brain and cognition go about their business.
There are different reasons individuals are motivated for an occupation. One of these includes the passion for the occupation. When a person is passionate about his work he tends to be less obsessive about his behaviors, and the result is greater work and extra-work satisfaction. Also, the same person has higher levels of well-being. When a person genuinely enjoys his profession and is motivated by passion, he tends to be more satisfied with his work and more psychologically healthy.
When one is unsatisfied with his profession he can also be dissatisfied with family relationships and suffer psychological distress. Some individuals believe one should not work extreme hours, many prefer it because of how passionate they are about the occupation. This puts a strain on family relationships and friendships. The balance of the two is something that is hard to achieve and it is always hard to satisfy both parties.
The recent concerns of emotional intelligence have been to find a synthesis of the two forces—something that turns the old understanding of the tension between reason and feeling on its head: it is not that we want to do away with emotion and put reason in its place but instead find the intelligent balance of the two.
While opposed, one can’t exist without the other. The trick may be to get them both in harmony, not to reason the life out of one’s passion nor to abandon reason to fulfill one’s desires.
A working mother might be faced with a choice of spending a sunny afternoon with her child or completing a project for work. Reason might tell her to complete the project, her passion is to spend the afternoon with the child. She might consider the time she has left to finish the project and seeing that she can schedule in the amount of time available before the work is due then decide that she can indeed enjoy the afternoon with her child.
At another level, the mother might consider that she wants to spend more time with her children before they are old enough to start school. The reasoning might extend to the possibilities of stopping, reducing or changing work so that this could be achieved with the implications on the family budget.
Questions for Self Reflection
The following questions might be useful to support self-reflection:
- If you look at decisions that you are making, how would you rate the balance between reason and passion in %?
- What does this balance tell you?
- How would you like the balance to be?
- What actions can you think of to get the balance right for you?
- What will you do to make the balance right for you?
- Who will be able to provide support when you need it?#
- Is that in your mind or heart?
- What are you passionate about?
- What is your biggest dream?
- Is it achievable?
- Are you able and willing to consider a shift in your perspective?
- Could it be that underlying beliefs are holding you back from achieving balance?
- How would it be if you considered this from the other point of view?
- Have you had a similar situation before, which approach did you take and what was the outcome?
- What would be the consequences of your action?
- What can you do to enable yourself to achieve balance?
It is essential for the coach to also question his own balance between reason and passion. The coach may be passionate about coaching but must apply reason in his work. In a situation, for instance, where passion has gone beyond reason, the coach could in an effort to help the client, try to take on the client’s problems. This would then be counter-productive and the coach would ultimately be less able to help the client.
The coach might also ask himself the same questions that he would ask the client.
- What technique(s) or skills would you use to support a client in increasing his self-awareness around his balance reason-passion?
- How would you support a client who wants to include more passion into his decision making / choices?How would you support a client who feels to impulsive in his choices?
- Can you demonstrate empathy and still remain objective?
- How you can keep a balance between your reason and passion?
- How can you maintain awareness?
We need to attach a reason to our emotional states. At the high end of the emotional spectrum, we believe that true joy is an effect rather than a cause. Because of this deep-seated belief, we spend most of our lives chasing whatever we think causes the effect of joy — it may be a perfect relationship, lots of money, fame, the perfect place to live, even our God. – Richard Rudd
If you would like to become a coach, start by joining a free coach training course or speak to an enrolment consultant.