WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
Calm and Cool Doesn’t Produce. Passion Does.
Recently, I listened carefully to opinions on disposition and their value regarding a discussion between two people that held opposing views. One was passionate, one was calm and cool.
Afterward, there was a lot of post-discussion debate about which demeanor held more value. The consensus left me scratching my head. They opted for cool and collected, the least emotional of the two people being debated.
I thought just the opposite. The one who spoke with passion infused what he said with purpose and vision. He clearly felt deep convictions about what he was saying. This was acknowledged in the group discussion, and yet they gravitated to calm.
I love calm as much as the next person. I seek it and go to great lengths to preserve it. But calm doesn’t bring out the best of us or encourage us to dig deeper, to play like Einstein or Ben Franklin and do that experiment for the thousandth time or the two-thousandth time–whatever it takes.
Calm doesn’t inspire us, or infuse us with the determination required to excel. It doesn’t give us the drive we need to forget what is possible and dive into impossibility–and discover that what we deemed impossible was only thought to be impossible. It is possible–now.
Calm is a place of rest. A place to coast. A place to rejuvenate and recover after we’ve expended extreme effort to push through the status quo, glass ceilings, falling for the old “do this because it’s what we’ve always done.”
We need passion. Passion inspires, infuses, encourages us to be better, to do better than we’ve done–than anyone has done previously. Passion doesn’t settle because settling is easier or expedient. Passion infused with purpose creates opportunities, blazes trails, generates luck. Passion infused with purpose accomplishes.
It’s why we have cars. Computers. Food. It’s why we have blood transfusions and MRIs and Domestic Violence Safe Houses. It’s why we have the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, why we open our wallets and hearts to feed the hungry, care for the sick, help the poor. Passion and purpose is what builds our better mousetraps in all facets of our lives.
Very often we consider calm an asset and passion a liability. But passion is typically the result of something we’ve experienced that hammers into us a desire to make something better. To fix something broken. To help correct a wrong. To help ourselves and others. To made bad situations better. Needs lacking fulfilled.
I remember when my mother was in the hospital and got a bad infection in ICU that also impacted others. This infection went untreated for for 21 days–until I got passionate and found in her records that the infection was there in her lab test results and it had gone untreated because it had been missed.
Calm waited that twenty days for her to get better. Passion to make her better struck on day 21 and on day 21 she began getting the medicine she needed. Passion and purpose changed things. Calm didn’t.
That’s one example, and I’m sure looking into your own life, you see many occasions when your passion for purpose surged and as a result of it, you took action that changed something.
These aren’t always big things, but we know that small things can have big consequences. I recall once many years ago, a music TV show was brand new. My kids, young and impressionable, wanted to watch it. I had reservations. So I said I’d watch with them. If I approved, they could watch. If not, they couldn’t watch it, and the subject would be closed.
Now this seems like a small thing, right? Well, it wasn’t.
We watched the show and in the first (today it’d be video), a man had a woman chained to the wall and was beating her. I turned it off and the station was banned forevermore in my home. It still is.
My kids and I discussed the reasons and exchanged a lot of good dialogue about it and other related subjects. It was productive. I was passionate and, heaven knows, it was passion for purpose. I didn’t want my kids exposed to that type of twisted behavior and I certainly didn’t want them indoctrinated into thinking it was normal. It proved to me many things, not the least of which was that passion with purpose is an asset and not a liability.
Calm has its place, too. We need that respite and refuge to rest and heal from the bruises and wounds we get in actually doing what we must do.
This seemed like such a practical, clear and common-sensical matter to me. I’m no brain surgeon, and I’m baffled about why the group didn’t get it. Maybe you have to be a mom, or one who has been responsible for protecting and preserving and guiding others through countless attempts to twist their thinking and undermine the use of common sense to understand it. Or maybe our different wiring makes things like this clear to some and muddy to others. I don’t know. I’ve tried, but I can’t figure it out. Maybe you can.
I don’t know why the view of passion with and for purpose was seen as a bad thing.
What I do know is calm is no substitute for passion and purpose for getting things done.