Anger, Passion, and Pragmatism

Anger is a negative emotion with a positive side. It makes you vulnerable, but it reveals passion. It can result from a deep sense of justice and honesty. The best way to reduce anger is to become pragmatic and practical. But pragmatism kills passion. I wonder where we’d be today if Churchill had been a pragmatist instead of a stubborn visionary.

I’ve never had a lot of time for pragmatism.

To me, Pragmatism means – doing what works instead of doing the right thing. The problem with a pragmatic approach to life… is…

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL WORK AND WHAT WON’T, UNTIL YOU TRY!

If you fail, so what? Get up, modify your plan, and try again.

In general, the only reason something is impossible is because someone has decided it is impossible.

Pragmatism is a common tactic to dismiss dreams, to stifle innovation, and to crush creativity.

“But we can’t do that! It isn’t practical!”

Phooey!

7 thoughts on “Anger, Passion, and Pragmatism”

  1. Really interesting, Steve… it’s funny, I always thought of pragmatism as the best option for trying new things.

    If I get stuck in what *has* worked, I never grow. So if growth, doing things better (however we define that), learning… whatever the objective is, is the goal, the most pragmatic thing I can do is try something new.

    Maybe I just need a new dictionary. :) Thanks for the post.

  2. Lyman, thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s good to still see you here after all these years. About pragmatism, here’s how I see it… definitions…

    Pragmatism:
    a practical approach to problems and affairs

    Practical:
    capable of being put to use

    I don’t have a problem with action and result and trial and error… it is the person that tells me what actions are possible and what the results will be before the action is taken and the results are measured… “It isn’t practical” is the cry of pragmatism before any attempt has been made…

    When Bill Gates said he wanted to put a computer on every desk in America many pragmatists said that just wasn’t practical, few people had a use for a computer.

    Pragmatism can be the enemy of dreams and the enemy of growth, but clearly we have to be intelligent with our actions and our goals.

    Am I making any sense?

  3. Hi, Steve!
    I have to admit you have a very interesting blog. I have read a few of your essays and I happen to agree with a lot of your values. I can see in you a person who went through a hard life and came out of all that distress as a winner.
    You should know I have a shortcut access of your Website on my desktop.
    Now, regarding being pragmatic, I think it is very important to know how to deal with real life situations in a practical way and that doesn’t in any way contradict the goals that make your life meaningful or your drive to innovate. I’m not sure to understand why the word “pragmatism” bothers you.
    Take care,
    Rafael

  4. Rafael,
    I wrote this post while frustrated with some folks who stubbornly took the position that something couldn’t be done for practical/pragmatic reasons.

    My position is, great ideas are watered-down or scrapped altogether, because people decide they can’t be done or they refuse to open their minds to the possibilities. Too often, I find myself and others using pragmatism as an excuse to do things incorrectly or take half-measures.

    That being said, being reasonable and pragmatic is a social skill. You can’t force people to accept your point of view, so sometimes compromises must be made just to make progress. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  5. Love this! The best distinction between the two that I’ve ever read. Sometimes, I believe that people confuse being pragmatic with practical and it blurs the original intention. Thanks for sharing this thought…
    K

  6. Even Churchill was a pragmatist… In his oft-quoted and famous quote to a London boy’s school as they stood alone against a conquered Europe, he said that they would “never, never’ never” give up…except in the face of good sense.

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