First posted Friday, October 16, 2015
Passion – any
(definitions sourced from dictionary.com – each word has multiple definitions, the above are a selection of examples)
The world we live in is changing. On the one hand news stories and social media feeds are filled with stories of destruction, hatred, war, loss, prejudice…. the list goes on. On the other hand, and sometimes harder to find are the stories of hope, creation, innovation, acceptance, development…. again the list can go on. The general flow of information from news sites and an increasing amount of what shows up in my newsfeed on social media has negative overtones, is ‘bad news’, and often provokes strong reactions, which in turn compound the flow of negativity, continue the destructive cycles, and add further to a sense of despair.
Undoubtedly many of us would like to see the world population live in peace and harmony, with no one starving, dying of horrific diseases, an eradication of fighting over religion, race, gender, sexuality. Achieving this is an immense challenge, many would say too great a challenge. It’s not something I am going to debate here.
Nearly every thing that happens, every event, positive or negative, has been driven by pride and passion, whether individual, or collective. A war will be waged on the basis of passionate belief in a cause or ideology; a charitable organisation will deliver benefits on the basis of a passionate belief that a difference can be made. In both cases those involved will almost certainly have pride in what they are doing.
It’s all too easy to view the global picture and feel overwhelmed, the wish to see things change soon drowned by the feeling of being alone in wanting to make a difference. The same can apply locally, within our own communities, towns and villages.
The nature of our society at times seems to veer towards an abdication of personal responsibility, replaced by an expectation that someone, somewhere, will ‘deal with it’, or provide the solution/cash/reward without the individual having to make much effort first. A cycle of laziness and complaint is created and persists, with blame quickly placed at someone else’s door. This is a sweeping statement, and there of course circumstances where through no fault of their own someone has found themselves in a less than ideal situation, but the difference arises when that person takes responsibility, takes pride in themselves and has a passionate wish to change things, to realise their potential.
In response to my previous post on this theme, I received a tweeted image with the following phrase contained in it: “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”. These are powerful questions. “I don’t know” isn’t the answer. Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference. What’s more it’s often the small changes, small differences that kickstart the momentum to create big changes and big differences.
Pembrokeshire, and indeed Wales faces many challenges in the coming months and years, both on the back of reduced spending in the public sector and the broader effects of the continuing uncertainty in the national economic climate. With challenges however come opportunities. Decisions have and are being taken that have the potential to disrupt things as we know them, change the way we work and live, and some of these changes may be difficult to swallow. We have a choice – we can protest and complain and allow a low level resentment and bitterness to creep in, or we can take the passion that is inflamed and make constructive use of it to seek alternative ways to do things, create positive change and be innovative in delivering new ways of working and living.
Pembrokeshire is a county full of pride and passion, within its small local communities, the towns and villages and within the wider area. There is enormous potential to do great things here, through strengthening what we already have, and being brave and bold enough to stand up and get involved. No one has the definitive answer to any of the difficult questions, it may well be that such an answer doesn’t exist, but by working together, sharing ideas, goals, aspirations, we can strengthen and broaden the pride already evident here, demonstrate the passion held and make it a force for good, and find some answers that enable potential to be realised, for individuals, for communities, for the county as a whole.
“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”