They say it’s what you eat.
It’s what eats you.
Not what you consume but what consumes you, not only your off-to-sleep-thoughts at night but what gets you up in the morning, there’s just not going to be much in the way of meaningful and worthwhile action without substantial and persistent passion.
In his book “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make,” Hans Finzel, president and CEO of Worldventure, illustrates this truth during an early-morning run.
“While I was jogging recently in a town away from our home, I could not help but stop in front of a house that had a square marble stone in its front yard. It caught my eye as unusual – a stone marker in a front yard? The house looked a bit eccentric, not your run-of-the-mill suburban home. On the marker were these words: ‘On This Spot in 1897, Nothing Happened.’ I ran off feeling foolish for being taken for a ride. As I jogged on, the truth of that marker hit me. My greatest fear for the future of the organization I lead is that it would be said, ‘after our first 50 years . . . nothing happened.’”
While the number of foods or beverages that may cause heartburn seems endless – coffee, anything carbonated, “vinegar, chocolate, fatty and fried foods, spicy food, mint flavorings, alcohol, and certain fruits and vegetables (e.g. onions, peppers, citrus, tomatoes)” – the list is very short for what causes, for good or evil, the world to turn: namely a heart that burns with persistence and passion.
“Sometimes it is not always easy to anticipate which foods or beverages will cause heartburn; and it is not always predictable,” write the pill-providers for handling the problem.
But the short list, in fact topping the list, and what pales in contrast to everything – if there is anything – else on the list for the principal cause of mediocrity is apathy: the inability to focus interest and effort.
And there are no pills to treat people suffering the malady of apathy.
Apathy is synonymous with “whatever” the most annoying word used by American conversationalists for the fifth year running.
“Like, you know, just sayin’, obviously” – to complete the thought – round out the top five of the most muddle-headed, bird-brained, and half-baked examples of galling and appalling vocabulary at least as voted by those with evidently nothing better to do than to participate in such stupefying, stultifying polls.
It’s like, you know, a mind – or a government – on passion-less, purpose-less auto-pilot which is not unlike a youth sports program where everyone wins, nobody loses. Both – or all – are mindlessly heading for disaster.
Goes without sayin’.
But here’s Philip K. Howard to say it anyway.
“Under current orthodoxy,” writes Howard in his new book, “The Rule of Nobody: Saving America From Dead Laws and Broken Government” as reviewed in “The Daily Beast” by Nick Gillespie, “government runs like a software program: Input the facts and out comes a decision.”
Robots and vending machines can do that.
Regurgitation without much reflection in other words.
And kids who don’t lose in a game – even every game throughout the season – are prepared how to win in life exactly?
Charles Williams, a psychology professor at Drexel University, in chiding a youth sports organization for awarding all participants, regardless of the games’ results, said “in life, everybody doesn’t get a trophy. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win … and that is part of American life.”
And, I would argue, the difference between the two – between actually leading and merely presiding; between ultimately winning and winning because nobody wants to say you lost – is persistence and passion.
Just ask the three little pigs, or the remaining one anyway since he’s the only one available to interview.
The first set out to seek his fortune playing a flute. For him life was a party.
For the second, life was a picnic.
Only the third had been properly prepared by his parents, his mentors, coaches, teachers and principal, with this principle: it is passionate persistence of an obtain-it-or-die-trying-goal – evidenced by perspiration – pursuing a plan by which a pig, or for that matter a player in the real game of life, might prosper.
With the alternative of course being the main course on a wolf’s – and the curves life throws – plate.