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  • Mark Dickinson

Zealous Passivity

Now here is a challenging thought:


Be Zealous and Passive simultaneously.


Zeal - defined as great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

Passive - accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance


These two words are opposed. The first is great energy to pursue something and passive is about accepting or allowing things to happen without response or resistance.


Somewhere you may be thinking: paradox.


I think not.


Our zeal gets us all fired up, we elevate, our emotional state rises and we get really involved in whatever strikes us as important. Our objectivity diminishes by virtue of the rise in emotions. We are now focused on a goal that we have absolute convictions about. Convictions being an unshakable belief. How do we get to zeal?


We begin with an idea. Something passing in a conversation, a movie, an experience, and our imagination fires off. We take that idea and we play with it. We extract this idea out of our 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day and give it importance. As we do this, so we think about it. The idea begins to take shape.


We share our idea with others and now we gather opinions of people that we trust and respect. We listen carefully to what they say and this influences our opinion. We now have sufficient information to form a belief.


Now the belief grows. Most beliefs start off weak and fledgling. We are not completely sure of what we believe so we search for more information to help us either discard it or solidify it. Then as the belief grows it begins to move towards being a conviction.


A conviction is virtually rooted into our minds and our consciousness and then into our subconsciousness. We function according to our convictions and we are willing to increasingly commit to what we are convinced of.


Now we are at the point of zeal. We have a firmly founded belief that we are willing to take action on. Powerful stuff.


On the other side we have passivity. A rock on a mountain side is passive. It just sits there. Nothing moves it. The rain comes and goes, night passes to day and so on to night. The rock sits there. The sun shines, it gets hot, the snow comes it gets cold, and still, the rock sits there.


It is completely passive. It does nothing no matter what is happening around it. It just sits there.


You could bring a sound system, set up a party right on top of the rock and it will not react. It just continues sitting there. You could strike the rock and even break it, but it will not react. It is passive.


Now we combine these two together.


Zealousness, the desire to do great deeds, or to act and passivity, the ability to be at total rest, and what do we get?


Now we have a thing of wonder.


The Zealously Passive can be excited and filled with energy and power, and yet they are restrained, waiting and observing, watching. They absorb everything that is going on around them and it fuels their zeal, yet they do not act, for they are passive.


Only once they have reached their conclusions, and determined a great course of action will they release themselves and begin to move. When they move, they are filled with conviction and are like the rock in their purpose, immovable in their belief, and unstoppable in their actions.


Zealous Passivity is reserved for those who have a constant need to do to prove that they exist. In fact, they do not, to prove that they exist.


By passive observation, listening, studying, learning and not reacting, we grow in wisdom and our effectiveness multiplies.


I advocate the power of Zealous Passivity.


How to practice it:

  1. Create strong rituals to ensure your personal growth.

  2. Take time to sit out of the rush of life and study life, mainly your own

  3. When you feel you should take action, do nothing. Wait and think.

  4. Once you have deeply considered, and are compelled to action, wait and think.

  5. Act with confidence and decisiveness, quickly and effectively, executing a well thought out plan

  6. Return to being a rock. Passively evaluate all that you did, the outcomes and the areas to grow and improve.

  7. Practice it in solitude and keep your thoughts a secret!




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©2020 by Mark Dickinson