Monday, December 6, 2010

Charisma, Products and Passion

The difference between a star and a genuine charismatic personality hinges on the star’s willingness to merely be a product and the charismatic personality’s need and desire to lead a crusade. To go a step further, it is the difference between a movie star and an artist/actor. The movie star makes movies to be popular, while an artist builds a body of work demonstrating the range and variations of his talent. A movie star may have a body of work, but it is like a high school student who joins organizations to enhance his resume for college consideration compared to a student who campaigns for student government, because he is preparing for a future in politics. The two individuals may very well become successful, but the future politician engenders something much greater than the “resume builder.” The student government official, artist and charismatic personality all have one thing in common---passion. Each is driven by a goal that begins with incremental steps leading to a grand design. It is the difference between Matthew McConaughey and Johnny Depp; Jerry Springer and Ted Koppel and Cornell West and Stephen Hawking. One group panders to the low brow in the theater of the absurd, while the other passionately and carefully considers each step to a compelling goal. Depp, Koppel and Hawking can provide a cogent, consistent reason for their work that has not deviated from the first time they opted towards their medium of expression. The difference between the two schools of thought is largely philosophical based on a specific worldview. The product driven individual sees the world as a business where fame and popularity can be traded. The passionate creator believes the body of work done properly and carefully can be profitable without having to look outside the medium for expression. To be sure, both parties realize the economic realities of the world, but choose to go about it differently. A disparity in the human will for excellence emerges when the goal of the individual is not to master a craft, but leverage it “half developed” for pure profitability.

Too many individuals are opting to take the product driven route without a balance towards the creation of excellence through disciplined passion. To rest future ingenuity and innovation in an environment of mediocrity and apathy is the cessation of what has made civilization great and sparked imaginations beyond our wildest dreams.

Invariably, charisma is a rare trait within any individual no matter what vocation he might participate. But, there is one thing that any individual can embrace under the charisma marquee, the ability and willingness to consider and care for the long term affects of one’s body of work. Passion is only one component of the charismatic personality. However, this one trait can ascend to the highest heights of possibilities when excellence is the goal.

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