Most of us have had this experience: we are stubbornly pushing forward with a decision or toward a goal based on a gut feeling, ignoring the advice and warnings of concerned others and discounting any evidence that doesn’t support our desires. Then, when things go wrong, we don’t want to think or talk about it – we’d rather put it out of our minds like it never happened.
In American culture, we value passion and persistence. We love stories of people who charge single-mindedly toward their goals, never giving up, come what may. Some of our favorite movies are the ones in which the hero beats the odds and achieves the dream despite the cards stacked against them.
However, passion is a strong emotion and feelings are not facts. So when we act on strong emotion, our behavior is often not wisdom based. Mike Rowe of the television show Dirty Jobs is quoted as saying:
“Follow your passion is routinely dispensed as though its wisdom were both incontrovertible and equally applicable to all. Its not… Staying the course only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction. Because passion and persistence – while most often associated with success – are also essential ingredients of futility.”
Let us consider another type of hero. In the movie The Matrix, the protagonist Neo is given a choice.
red pill = truth, authenticity, reality, wisdom, unknown, risk, doubt, questions
blue pill = fantasy, known, safety, familiarity, ignorance, denial, obscuration