encouraging passion


2004-11-2

It appears to be a cultural thing. Do we teach our children how to be passionate about things? Do we give of good examples? Do we encourage passion?

Well, I think we all have a lot to learn there. First off, we need to learn to 'celebrate' our passion for a topic. We need to really go into it. Go through some pain to achieve things that are of interest for us.

When we want to know more about a certain topic. What do we do? Today we might google it read a few websites... but how much effort do we really put into it? Do we bother to look up some books? What do we do if those are not available easily through amazon for example? I know I won't make a trip to the library if I can help it.

How much time do we devote to learning a new topic that we are 'passionate' about? Yes, we all have less and less time for these kinds of things...

So, where's the passion in it then? Where's the devotion?

And next, do we encourage passion?

How often have you heard your environment say: 'Please, could we drop that topic now? You have been going on about that for the whole day!'

Okay... reality-check: is that encouraging passion? How do you react if someone keeps on about the same topic in your presence, a topic you find boring or don't understand?

Isn't that a lack of tolerance or rather lack if nurturing? In our society I think that is a common thing. We have the need to find an environment that does share the passion for a given topic. A peer-group. The internet helps a lot, it's what makes blogs and forums such a strong theme for many enthusiasts.

But I think we need also to learn - as a society - to nurture other peoples passion for things. It's one thing to be with ones peers. But ultimatly such peer-groups tend to inbreed. After a while the social dynamics of such a group are far more important than the actual topic. In German we have a term 'Vereinsmeierei' to describe it. It's something I have seen in many peer-groups. The actual topic of passion steps back and the group dynamics take over... this is also so very true for the transition from start-up to corporation...

Ultimatly rewarding - at least to me - is to share one's passion not with peers alone. That a lot like preaching to the converted. The best sharing of passion occurs when I talk to people who do not (yet) share my passion. Inspiring interest and maybe even also passion in those is a rewarding experience not to be had with peers.

I think the sharing of passion is a very important social skill. With sharing I don't mean taking up that passion also. But to be able to tune in on someones passionate telling of her/his interests. This is a very important skill for parents if we want to teach our children to be passionate about what they do. But is also a very important skill for friends, spouses and collegues.

And one more thought: by learning to share other people's passions I am sure we can also learn to be more passionate ourselves about what we are doing!

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