You know when you look at a crowd of people, perhaps at a match or something, and you just see a load of random beings. Then, you decide to look for the ones wearing red tops and, the more you look, the more they seem to spring out at you. Then you change to looking for the ones in yellow shirts and suddenly the yellow shirted fellows are jumping out towards your eyes all over the show.
Or when you take notice of a particular car and within a few days you spot these cars on every road and it seems as if one in every three drivers owns one of these (obviously for women this
doesn't apply, perhaps recipes or a particular species of cat may suit). Well the fact is that usually these phenomenons are merely our mind seeking and making connections. It's pretty obvious really, just because I decide to look for red tops doesn't mean more people are wearing them. Or cats, I wouldn't want you to think of me as a cattist.
But I've noticed something recently, something that I think is not just me making a connection, something that I'm sure is real, that maybe you'll start to look at after reading this post, then send me messages praising my fantastic observational skills.
PASSIONATE. Read it, it's the new enemy, that's why I typed it in capitals. You know me, I rarely type a word in capitals, I'm not one to make a shouty statement at the best of times, but this needs one.
Everywhere I go, every way I turn I seem to come across a person or a company telling me how passionate they are about this or that. It's become a cheap and easy way of convincing your fellow man that you're good at something.
Want to make out that you're a great photographer? Simple, just say on your website or stationery that "we're passionate about photography". That'll do the job. And many people are passionate about photography. It's an arty thing, it's something that one can easily imagine a chap being passionate about.
But then we go to the mundane and non creative end of the spectrum and that's where it gets extremely muddy and cliched. When your cleaning company boasts of its passion for cleaning and your dog food manufacturer, your car hire company and your local cinema jump on the passion wagon too then there must be something going drastically wrong.
Of course I blame this mostly on the Americans, all of them, well except drummers. EQ, being in touch with our emotions and our creative side is all well and good. A few years ago when the first few companies used the passion idea as their USP (unique selling point) it sounded powerful and different. It sounded as if, not only was the company or person pretty good at what they do, but they also loved it, they lived and dreamed it.
These days we're led to believe that, unless someone says the dreaded P word, they're disinterested in their craft and not up to the level of the other passionate types. All the specialness and excitement that we used to associate with people who really were passionate about their vocations has diminished.
The musicians, the artistes, the writers and the inspirational leaders. The eccentric inventors, the mad scientists and the tireless nurses who genuinely worked with a passion have been replaced by regular people, not that there's anything wrong with them, who we're told do everything with passion. There are sandwich makers so we're told, who are passionate about what they do. Really?
Are they busily bunging egg and cress into a sandwich and dreaming of the next tasty recipe they can introduce to the marketplace? Is my office cleaner really thinking about the new innovative way he can clean my office? Not bloody likely, though the sandwich person might well be working on a new way of cleaning that he's come up with and the cleaner might just be dreaming of a dhal and rice sandwich and wondering if it would sell. (of course it would!)
Now I've mentioned this I'm hoping you'll be out there and will notice the "passionate" issue everywhere. Or you might spot red and yellow shirts on every other person and blame me for that.
Bring back the passion I say, the real and true passion, not that passion that the copywriters have decided we all need.
Let's start a movement, let's attempt to tell others how much we enjoy doing things, how good we are at them and how much we love them. Let's do all that and do it without using the word "passionate".