When I was a fair bit younger and had recently gotten into the movie business, I worked on a movie called “Face Off”. The movie starred John Travolta and Nicholas Cage.
Now, this was not the John Travolta of today. The one who has endured a few justly deserved, and not so justly deserved, embarrassments and humiliations.
I had never met John, and remember the first time I saw him on set. You have to remember, that this was around 1997. He was in the midst of an amazing comeback that included” get Shorty” and” Pulp fiction”. I am not easily star struck, but having grown up with his presence on television and in films, I noticed the easy charisma that he possessed.
As I watched him walk through the set, I wondered,” is he who and where he is because of this charisma, or does he possess this charisma because this is what he has become?
20 years later, I think I figured it out. The charisma he developed was not something he was necessarily born with, nor was it a product of what he had become. It was a byproduct of the mindset that helped him achieve success in the first place, as well as the success of his comeback.
That mindset was that he had a true and a devoted mission in life. The mission to succeed in the first place, and the mission to succeed in his comeback.
And now I have a better understanding of how this quality, of having a mission, affects the charisma and magnetism of individuals. And also, as is the case with some, why further into their career, this quality diminishes.
This is also something I have observed in some of the Rock bands I have enjoyed through the years. They burst onto the scene with power, energy and charisma only to fall into obscurity after a few hit records.
And let us make no mistake about it. There is a great difference between a mission and an aspiration, desire or interest. The mission is all consuming.
So, what are the traits, with having this purpose or mission in life, that generate this charisma and magnetism? Here are few;
- They don’t have time for the distractions of petty drama and time wasting bullshit, and are willing to ignore or evict people who bring that into their life. The focus of their mission does not have space for such trivial pursuits.
- They are not emotionally needy when it comes to other people. The needs and demands of accomplishing their mission excludes constant dependence on other people. This is not to say that they won’t have a need of others in the pursuit of their mission. However, these interactions should be conducted with discipline and intellect, not emotional dependency.
- They are not needy financially. Being needy financially, too often, puts people in a position of subservience and compromise. There is no room for these qualities in the person working towards great outcomes. This is not to say you need to be financially independent. It means that the source of your income is reliable, not highly stressful, and leaves time and opportunity to pursue the mission.
- They don’t care about the opinion of others. There is an old saying, “Lions never lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.” You will never please everyone, and usually when you piss off, or offend someone, it is more about their shortcomings, and insecurities than yours.
These qualities, obviously, create a mystique in these people that makes them attractive to others. Without consciously trying, they project, to the world, a lack of interest in the mundane preoccupations of most people.
It is a strange paradox, in life, that people are often attracted to people whom they find interesting, but who have no interest in them. This is not to say that people with a mission have a license to be a dick or abusive to others. Their indifference is just a byproduct of their preoccupation with the task at hand.
It seems this attraction to the unattainable as apparent in the fixation on celebrity. People see celebrities, who have wealth, fame, and talent. Because of media and constant spotlight on all they do, the people feel that they actually know them on a personal level. And yet the celebrities, whom they feel they have a connection to, have no knowledge or connection to them and are completely beyond their reach.
And many fans become obsessively attached. Now, of course, if the fan had an actual mission of their own, they would not have the time or interest in such a pathetic endeavor.
Lastly, while not related to personal traits is a quality that separates a more mundane or common aspiration from one with more far-reaching effects. And that is;
- The size of the mission’s Impact.
Let’s have a look at parenthood. There are many mothers, out there, who would read this and say ”of course I have a mission and that is to raise my child to be the best person that they can be.” This is a very valuable and necessary aspiration.
The problem is, with over 7 billion humans on this earth, the impact of their mission is not particularly unusual or far-reaching. This is not to say that it is not a highly important and necessary aspiration. It is just to say that outside of your family or possibly close circle of friends it has no effect or interest to most or even a few people.
Finding cures for disease, creating beneficial technology, starting a business or writing a best-selling novel, creating a hit song or an amazing app would have far greater impact on a far greater number of people.
Ultimately, for many people, when the success of the mission has been realized the qualities possessed during the pursuit of mission fade away. This often has to do with how opened ended the Mission was to begin with.
If the end game, of the mission, is definite and well-defined and success is achieved it is natural for the person to relax and become comfortable in their success. This is as it should be. The Intensity required in pursuing an all-consuming mission is not an easy thing to sustain.
It is at this point many fall into enjoying their success and have time to reengage with the more superficial aspects of life. This of course diminishes the charismatic and focused personality traits which they possessed in their original pursuits.
This is noticeable when we see some celebrities and artists who, when they achieve success, somehow appear more complacent, more common, and less fascinating. I’m not saying one is right or one is wrong. I am, also, not saying that all-consuming mission is necessary to a complete or happy life.
But I can say, from personal experience, that during periods of my life that I have had an all-consuming mission it has had an interesting effect on how I’ve viewed or was effected by life events. Drama involving family and friends, affairs of the heart, or work issues just seem less intense and bothersome.
At times, I was accused of being cold, detached or unemotional. That was not the case at all. I was really just preoccupied.
There is a bottom line and possible action to all this and here it is;
If the more common events of life are causing you distress, anxiety or depression maybe what you need, rather than therapy, antidepressants, or complaining to your friends, is a bad ass mission of your own…
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