A Coaching Power Tool created by Tim Beckett
(Executive Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)
Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes. – Kahlil Gibran
As with many words, there are a number of different definitions of the words “Reason” and “Passion”.
The purpose of this paper is to examine two opposing definitions and consider them in such a way as to provide the coach with a Power Tool to offer the client alternative approaches to consider in attempting to resolve his problem or dilemma.
Reason or “reasoning” is associated with thinking (Wikipedia entry) cognition (Wikipedia entry) and intellect (Wikipedia entry). Reason, like habit or intuition, is one of the ways by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. For example, it is the means by which rational beings understand themselves to think about cause and effect, truth and falsehood, and what is good or bad.
Reason is defined as:
- a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.
- a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action.
- the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences.
- sound judgment; good sense.
- normal or sound powers of mind; sanity.
- the intellect regarded as a source of knowledge, as contrasted with experience
Reason, in philosophy, is the faculty or process of drawing logical inferences. The term “reason” is also used in several other, narrower senses. Reason is in opposition to sensation, perception, feeling, desire, as the faculty by which fundamental truths are intuitively apprehended. These fundamental truths are the causes or “reasons” of all derivative facts. Encyclopedia Britannica
For the purpose of the Power Tool, the definition to be used is: Sound judgement, good sense.
Ration is now defined as a fixed allowance (of provisions or food, especially during a shortage) or an allotted amount. However it is a word that is recorded back to 1550 meaning Reasoning.
In formal logic the drawing of inferences (frequently called “ratiocination; to use the reasoning faculty”) is classified from Aristotle.
Many of us are afraid to follow our passions, to pursue what we want most because it means taking risks and even facing failure. But to pursue your passion with all your heart and soul is success in itself. The greatest failure is to have never really tried. Robyn Allen:
Passion can mean any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling.
- ardent love or affection
- intense sexual love
- a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object, concept
- any strongly felt emotion, such as love, hate, envy, etc
- a state or outburst of extreme anger
- the object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm
- an outburst expressing intense emotion
a. any state of the mind in which it is affected by something external, such as perception, desire, etc, as contrasted with action
b. feelings, desires or emotions, as contrasted with reason
- the sufferings and death of a Christian martyr.
For the purpose of the Power Tool, the chosen definition is: a strong affection or enthusiasm for a concept.
Plato described emotion and reason as two horses pulling us in opposite directions.
Passion is a significant driving force to achievement in most areas of our lives: relationships, occupation, sports and hobbies. It is generally considered to be positive but not always. While undoubtedly powerful, passion can change or burn out. It can have a negative destructive side. By-products of passion are anger, frustration and resentment. One might not consider the consequences of actions or even choose to ignore them.
It may well be the start of relationships but also is known to have been the demise of one relationship for the sake of another.
Reason, on the other hand, could hold us back from achieving goals. Underlying beliefs can take over (I couldn’t possibly get that job, start that business, win that championship). It can also be the method by which our objectives are achieved. (I am going to get that job, now how I am going to get it?).
Sometimes, no amount of reason can fulfill the passion. Imagine a seventy year old wanting to be an Olympic gymnastics champion. However it could be an 84 year old wanting to build a raft and sail it across theAtlantic Ocean. It’s already been done! (See Antiki)
Reason can be cold and hard. Reason is not totally reliable; it’s quite easy to overlook vitally important factors. Furthermore it is not always possible to predict the outcome or consequences of an action
To only use reason and be truly objective, one would have to be impartial and not influenced by emotion at all.
- The application of reason alone may not help a poet and the application of passion alone may not be appropriate for a surgeon.
- Using the example of a surgeon; it may be that a person has a passion to help people by becoming a surgeon. The passion could drive that person on to study and develop skills and to work hard and conscientiously, but may not be desirable for performing operations.
- If you were to undergo open heart surgery, would you want a rational, dispassionate surgeon or an irrational, passionate one?
- The poet may well only produce great work from his passion but if he were to ignore reason, he may not survive long enough to produce much of it, starving to death in his garret.
- He needs to find a way to produce an income from marketing his work or support him while he produces his poetry.