I just saw the movie “Alice in Wonderland.” I went primarily because I enjoy Johnny Depp portraying eccentric roles in stories. From Edward Scissorshands to Willie Wonka to Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, he is always fun to watch.
In “Alice,” Depp plays the Mad Hatter and says something to Alice that could be said to many of us today. Seeing her after many years of absence, he notes that she is not much of what she used to be. In fact, he says to her: “You have lost your much-ness.”
Immediately, I thought of the areas in my life where I used to be “much.” Much involved, much passion, much commitment, much more magnetic because I wasn’t bland or mediocre about issues — I was much. As I have aged, I hate to admit that sometimes my “much-ness” has faded, just like Alice.
My interpretation of much-ness is that it is almost synonymous with passion. Passion is life in a laser form. Passion doesn’t have to be loud or even call attention to itself, but it is impossible to ignore when someone has it. There is such a thing as quiet passion or intense passion but never bland or beige passion. Passion makes up for what people may lack in resources. It turns your “have to dos” into “want to dos.” It moves people to act. Every great leader operates from passion.
At Growing Leaders, we are developing an online assessment tool that will help students (and adults for that matter) identify their true passions. In fact, it will help them measure their top three passions in relationship to each other. It will furnish a realistic report distinguishing what is an area of “passion” and what’s merely an area of interest or curiosity. It will also allow people who share the same passions to connect online.
This will be an instrument that people can take to help them determine where to invest time; it will help students choose a major and it will help schools develop relevant programming. We plan to have it ready by the Fall of 2010.
So, I am asking you to help me. We want to begin a list of causes, issues or needs that might represent an area of “passion” for young people. Obvious ones might be: clean water in Africa, or the fight to stop sex trafficking or child slavery. It could be the war on AIDS or the pursuit to provide shoes to kids in underprivileged countries. We want an exhaustive list, so I thought I’d start with you.
Can you weigh in? Just reply back and let me know the passions you see people pursue, and help me build this list.