Documentary screening guides audiences to find their passions

chip-and-alexis-barnDirectors of the documentary “The Dream Share Project” Chip Hiden (left) and Alexis Irvin (right) traveled across America to learn about people’s passions. A screening of the documentary will be held on at George Mason University’s Fairfax campus on Wednesday, Feb. 6 followed by a Q&A with the directors (Photo courtesy of

Many people would love to know the secret to success. However, this elusive secret is not what most people would like to hear.

“You are going to fail,” says Todd Kashdan.

A professor of psychology at George Mason University, Kashdan is featured in the documentary “The Dream Share Project”  which will host a screening on campus in partnership with the Center for Consciousness and Transformation, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and University Career Services.

Kashdan was asked to be apart of the documentary based on his research on positive psychology, happiness and well-being. He has spent more than a decade teaching courses about the science of happiness.


George Mason University professor of psychology Todd Kashdan (Photo courtesy of George Mason University).

Before he began conducting reaseach and teaching, Kashdan had a career on Wall Street. Soon becoming bored with his lifestyle, he began volunteering at a research lab. There he found his passion in researching positivity and well-being. It was this research that caught the attention of two directors of “The Dream Share Project” who asked him to be apart of their documentary.

Screening this Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Johnson Center cinema from 12 to 1pm, “The Dream Share Project” focuses on two recent college graduates who traveled across America interviewing successful people about finding and following your passion.
The documentary aims to instill in viewers the age-old cliché that anything is possible no matter what the circumstances are.

“It’s perfect for undergrad students or anyone under 80,” said Kashdan. “There is no age for having high aspirational pursuits.”

What students, particularly soon to be college graduates, can take away from “The Dream Share Project” is that there is no single career path. “Life isn’t linear” Kashdan says.

One of the great aspects of college is that it is a great opportunity for students to discover their passion.

“What books do you read in your free time? That’s where your interest lies,” Kashdan said about how people can find their own passions.

Kashdan argues that the real learning in college is done not necessarily in the classroom but between the lines. Real learning is done when you are not in the classroom. That’s also where you can find your passions.

Of course there will be anxiety as students discover their passions but Kashdan says, “You want to have anxiety. If you don’t feel anxious about anything you’re doing it means you’re not doing anything meaningful.”

Life is about being able to tolerate distress and being vulnerable. In that vulnerability comes the strength to discover oneself. The key to success might be the ability to deal with failure, heartbreak, and discomfort. In this ability lies the skill to lead a transformational life.

“The only way to grow as a person is to challenge yourself,” Kashdan said when he talked about dealing with anxiety. “The number one thing you can work on is the ability to tolerate distress.”

Kashdan suggests that people ask themselves “what gets you hot and bothered” The answer to that question could possibly lead to new possibilities.

Following the screening of “The Dream Share Project” there will be a 30-minute question and answer session with the directors, Chip Hiden and Alexis Irvin.

** This post was originally published on Connect2Mason (


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