Passion or Intellect?

February 20, 2024

We are often told to live our life with passion. “The only thing that matters in life is finding your passion.” “Attack everything you do with passion, and you will be fine.” These sentiments and admonitions are fine as far as they go but there is a downside to this methodology.

I ran into this the other day for myself. As you know I am quite passionate about posture, exercise, and pain relief. I was reading another person’s approach to these issues that were quite different from the way I do things. My first response was, “That won’t work. It’s the wrong way of doing things!” I turned the page and moved on. A little later I started thinking about what that person had said. I put my passion in my methods and successes to the side and considered what she had said. I decided that there was some value in what she had said. I did some movement based on her thoughts. In certain situations, with certain clients, I now have another technique to help people in pain.

All of us have things we are passionate about. We have techniques or methods that we like and find powerful and useful. With them when other methods pop up, we tend to ignore, run over, or belittle them. Passion unleashed can be dangerous and counterproductive. Passion is unruly and tends to want its on way. We like passion because there is so much energy in it. The issue is directing that energy productively. It is so strong and seductive that it can be destructive.

So how to cope with this dichotomy? On the one hand the positive energy of our desire and on the other hand its tendency to override all discretion when in action. The only way to handle this is to realize that the energy is a good, but it needs to be controlled by the will and the intellect. There are strictures that need to be adhered to such as ethics, goals that uplift, rejection of greed and avarice, and rejection of violence that only serves your goal. This means that passion must serve the intellect. There is always an overarching good that we are striving for no matter our passion for what we do. There is no either or in the intellect vs passion debate. They must work in tandem with each other. Look for your passion but remember that it is necessary to control it unless your passion destroys you.

To a balance life,

Cliff


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