SHOW US YOUR PASSION—WE’LL GIVE YOU THE WORLD
I first saw him on Sixty Minutes—lawyer Bryan Stevenson in an abbreviated version of his appearance on the TV program, TED. It seems that Stevenson’s 18-minute talk on legal injustice inspired TED viewers to contribute over a million dollars to his Equal Justice Initiative. Yet Stevenson’s talk was not a plea for money—it was a passionate description of legal inequality in America, especially among blacks. He said, “The opposite of poverty is not wealth. It’s justice.”
Stevenson’s appearance on TED was no accident. One of the producers said, “If we’re thinking about doing a story on somebody, we talk to them, and we try to look at a video of them to see if they have passion.” As the show evolved, the producers realized that yes . . . they wanted the personal stories—PLUS the big idea.
Passion is obvious in Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg, when he speaks of “a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” or Jack Kennedy’s plea for Americans to “think what you can do for your country,” or Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” all words replayed constantly.
But think of THIS YEAR—when Dan Price, owner of Gravity Payments in Seattle, spoke about the passion of his employees . . . and after sleepless nights decided to reduce his salary 90% and the company profits, too, so he could significantly raise all his employees. His decision made a new kind of history. But more important, it brought Dan Price a special kind of happiness. He has since heard from 100 other CEOs who applaud his move.
Or consider Nick Hanauer, among the richest businessmen in America, who said, “The pitchforks are coming . . . The idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base . . . When workers have more money, businesses have more customers.” On the back of his beliefs, he campaigned for a $15.00 minimum wage in Washington State. To his amazement, a year later it happened.
My intention was to write about what happens when I’m passionate. Here is a story so mundane it shouldn’t be included--but I’ll tell it anyway. I’ve gotten only three traffic tickets in my life. Each time I believed I was right and the policeman was wrong. (This is not to say I’ve never deserved a ticket. I have. Just not these.)
Each time, I went to court to plead my case. As I sat watching other drivers turned down by various judges I wondered why I’d made the effort. Yet three times I believed so strongly in my own circumstances that—even with the policeman sitting right there—the judge ruled in my favor.
Over the years, passion has served me well. But this riff isn’t about me. It’s about how, in the end, passion carries the day. If you REALLY care about something, tell others. Tell the world. One passionate person is worth a thousand who don’t care enough to make a squeak.
All my books are available on Maralys.com. (Or on Amazon). I'm pretty passionate about most of them.