Mike O’Hearn and Ed Coan Talk Motivation Vs. Passion

Episode 15 of 'The Mike O'Hearn Show.'

The 15th episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show was published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Sept. 16, 2022. In it, the show’s namesake spoke to legendary powerlifter Ed Coan. The 59-year-old Coan has set dozens and dozens of powerlifting records over his multiple-decades-long career.

O’Hearn opened their conversation by pressing Coan to explain how he differentiates motivation from passion. Coan isolated the former as something intellectual and the latter as something emotional.

Motivation is in your brain. Passion is in your heart.

Check out the entire conversation in the video below:

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Coan suggested that, while both are important, passion is ultimately more valuable than motivation. He believes motivation can come and go, but passion remains steadfast. O’Hearn took that notion one step further by saying motivation effectively has no value without passion — that passion is the fuel motivation requires.

Without the desire to achieve greatness, the motivation quality could also stumble. The intensity or frequency with which one trains in the gym could be affected by that motivation — which, in Coan’s opinion, is generated by passion.


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An ongoing theme of The Mike O’Hearn Show is longevity. That theme tied in with Coan — but rather than longevity regarding health, he frames longevity as having the passion for continuing training and competing for three decades. Coan suggests that passion can also influence the quality of one’s motivation.

Yeah, you were motivated to go to the gym, but did you do anything to make yourself better?

When calibrating what it means to become “great,” Coan, in his early days, never considered the numbers he was hitting in terms of weight on the barbell. He simply sought to get better — he had the passion that drove him to do so. It resulted in him being considered a legend in the sport. Make sure to watch the full interview to hear all of Coan’s opinions on how motivation and passion influence behavior in and out of the gym.

Featured image: @eddycoan on Instagram