Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Passion as a Compass

Chapter seven of Bill Strickland's book Make the Impossible Possible is dedicated to harnessing the power of our passions. The entire chapter aims at illustrating that while passions can be irrational or irresponsible, they are the force you should ultimately organize your life around. In fact, Strickland argues, the ability of passion to exist outside of rationality and responsibility contributes to its power as a motivator. Strickland says that genuine passion, "ignores the impossible and gives you the drive you need to do whatever you have to do to make a dream come true, no matter how extreme, or unlikely, or absurd those actions might seem" (Strickland, p. 151). Strickland reinforces his argument about the power of passion by recounting several examples from his own life where his passion has guided his success and personal fulfillment.

Finally, Strickland concludes the chapter by claiming that a meaningful life is a life based on passion (or at least that he has never seen an example to the contrary). It follows that if we are to have meaningful lives, then we must be passionate about something -- a notion I agree with. Strickland implies this is no problem because we all are passionate about something. He says our passions are, "the ideas and hopes and possibilities your mind naturally gravitates to..." (Strickland, p. 170). So if this is something we all possess, then why are we not all content, fulfilled people? Strickland states very explicitly, "The problem is fear" (Strickland, p. 170), but I can't help but wondering if Strickland's own passion for the improvement of the self blinds him to the larger question: Why should we have to be afraid of our passions? Isn't that the real root of the problem?

Inspired by the quote: "[Passion] draws your eyes to opportunities you would otherwise miss" (Strickland, p. 150).

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