I read an interesting post on Daniel Pink’s blog today about a new book from cartoonist and creative genius Hugh MacLeod. The book is called Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination.
The excerpt tells about a night MacLeod spent in a bar listening to an Irish rock band perform for an audience of Texas cowboys. He writes,
“The lead singer, Tara—a tiny, skinny girl around five-two—would get off the stage in the middle of a number and walk around the crowd, singing full-blast into her mike, with these broad-shouldered cowboys wearing handlebar mustaches, ten-gallon hats, spurs, and boots, towering above her. Like I said, fearless. So even if the music was a bit alien compared with what people were normally used to, they still got a lot of people whoopin’ and a’hollerin’ that night. It was a great show. Months later, people were still talking about it.”
What got people talking was, of course, not the music. It was the passion, the fearlessness. Those are the qualities that inspire people. In fact, seeing this band perform caused MacLeod to wonder: “Would you be willing to put in that kind of effort and commitment to make your Evil Plan a success? How willing to ‘sleep rough’ are you? Are you that brave? Am I?”
That’s really the big question, isn’t it?
For me, however, the answer is less interesting than how we arrived at the question in the first place. MacLeod is talking about passion and facing your fears because he saw those qualities in someone else, and it made him think: Am I willing to be that brave?
This is why, when PSCS is recruiting volunteers, we’re not necessarily looking for people to teach a particular academic discipline. We’re looking for people to be role models for kids. We’re looking for people of high character who are excited about life. We want to surround kids with people who pursue things they love, who step outside their comfort zone, and who take their passion and DO something with it.
We want kids to look at our volunteers and think, Am I willing to be that brave?
This was taught to me by PSCS founder Andy Smallman. Here’s a short video of him explaining this concept better than I can.