Stages of Drive

Motivation is temporal. Good music, a cup of coffee, or a great TED talk could make you feel inspired, pumped up, and raring to go – but give yourself a couple of setbacks, and that same source of inspiration might start to feel like a toy hammer against a two-tonne rock. You’ll need something way more powerful than a short spurt of energy to break down the barriers in your way.

Stages_of_Drive

Stages of Drive

I like to think of motivation in terms of stages. Each stage represents evolutionary growth in our personalities, in the very core of our beings – and that can be ultimately reflected in the way we are driven. Getting to the next stage means that we are motivated by a new kind of desire; a new purpose or meaning forms the foundation for our actions, and a new force gives us power to overcome the unsurmountable. This motivating energy is fundamentally different between stage to stage, and I imagine it to be on a hierarchical scale: higher stages present more sustainable and powerful energy, while lower stages burn brightly at first, but wear off just as quickly, especially in the face of challenges. And challenges are aplenty when we are engaged in any worthwhile pursuit, so if we don’t transcend to the next stage fast enough, we may not be able to persist in our mission!


Stage_1

Driven by Success

In the first stage, success is motivated by success. Our drive to get things done is derived from the feel-good sensation of having seen success in either someone else, or ourselves. That’s why inspiring TED talks, tales of exemplary people in their field, or even a sports game can cause us to be fired up about our own projects. We see great people swinging their hammers of accumulated ability and smashing apart boulders with seemingly effortless ease, and we think to ourselves – hey, we could be like that too. So we pick up our own tiny hammers and take up our own quests. We embark on our creative projects, our ambitious routines, our competitive journeys. When we succeed for the first time, the dopamine rush makes us feel great; it makes us want to repeat the fantastic experience. The more fortunate ones of us may get to see longer stretches of success than others, and for as long as our season of victory continues, we may believe that we have finally found the holy grail to this game of life. We have no trouble waking up in the morning, swiping aside any sort of negativity, and getting on with our day – smashing problems to smithereens left, right, and center.

But soon enough, regardless of talent or chance, we may meet with an unexpected failure. Our book launch fails. We miss a scheduled exercise session. The competitor trumps us decisively. We feel horrible, and the negative thoughts are harder to swipe off each morning. At first, we may try to block off the hard feelings by listening to more inspiring talks, watching more incredible wins, telling ourselves about how we have attained the gold medal before, and how we can do it again. Temporarily, we are fired up. We keep at our quests. We keep breaking boulders. Yet, the experience of negativity is inevitable: the harder we try, the more we expose ourselves to failure. Each experience of failure makes the naive part of us realize that all the buzz associated with doing well is only just fairy dust and butterflies – it’s not substantial enough to take us all the way to the top. Eventually, that link between our quest and the feel-good, dopamine-rush of success gets completely rend asunder; to truly complete our quest, we conclude that it is essential to go through the dirt, the mud, and the thorn vines. There are no shortcuts. We don’t feel quite as excited anymore. For some of us, this critical realization makes us want to give up – which may not always be a bad decision. But for the rest of us who really, really want to turn our visions into reality, we become obsessed with the question: how do I keep myself motivated? How do I persist beyond the sting of failure?


Stage_Temporal_Shift

The First Transition

To do that, we’ve got to change our focus. I call this the temporal shift, because we take our eyes away from short-term, feelings-driven, self-indulgent motivation to a longer-term, vision-centered drive. We stop thinking about how an activity makes us feel good, but we think of how our vision and mission is important to us. We focus on that vision more than the temporary good-feels that a short streak of success gives us. This means that we are okay with not feeling okay. In fact, we begin to embrace failure – it is just part of the process of growing. By focusing on the longer term mission instead of the shorter term feelings and sensations, we have made the first transition.


Stage_2

Driven by Growth

Once we’ve made the temporal shift, our eyes are set on higher things. We are no longer motivated by the sweetly deceptive allure of success, but instead, we continue bravely, exposing ourselves to difficulties – difficulties that could lead to even more failure. It may be terrifying, yet we quell our fears and press on. This vision that we have is so important, so captivating, that we begin to learn how to take the failure in stride. We except it like how we except the cycles of night and day, the seasons of spring and summer. We learn how to make it work for us instead of against us.

Indeed, in order to achieve what we can imagine, we must accept that growth is absolutely essential. We hit against strong boulders and they do not break because we do not have the right tools, technique, or strength. Failure and mistakes are now re-framed – instead of being the horrible, unacceptable parts of our quest, they become guiding lights, homing beacons, signposts; information that guides us to the very tools we need to move or break the barriers in our way.

To be quite frank though, making mistakes alone is no road to victory. Neither is it a pleasant experience. Just because we’ve switched our motivation does not mean that the bitter fruit is no longer bitter. No, it is still inimically bitter, but we eat it to get better. We are incensed, incentivized, and inspired to study all our losses with greater diligence and alacrity. We know that this is the only way to learn. No, we do not make mistakes with pleasure, nor derive perverse joy from falling each and every time in battle – our senses are still preserved and our tastes are still refined.

What we do is to let the failures guide our path away from more failure. We still feel the sting of defeat and the pain of a thrashing, so we would still prefer to take a victory over a loss at any time. But we are now more resilient, we are more patient, and we can deal with the pain long enough to discover the new pathways that we can take to grow. We do that by managing our negative emotions, and engaging in quiet reflection and contemplation. Moving from post-defeat pity to (not overly-detached! but) fully-engaged reflection is an evolution of character. Doing so will give us critical insights that can bring us closer to victory road. Through continuous reflection and adjustments, we avoid past mistakes and repeat what works until we know what each situation calls for, until we develop confidence in our own skills and abilities. In other words, it is through mistakes that we are pushed towards acquiring a bigger, better hammer, and it is through reflection, application, and correction upon re-correction that we learn to possess it.

The end goal for us is no longer that temporary sense of satisfaction, but the stable sense of growth – a pursuit of excellence, a mature, resilient motivation – an unshakable knowing that our selves have grown to the point that we can acquire satisfaction more easily than before, indeed to the point where we no longer worry about it. Give a man a large hammer and he may learn to break rocks. Teach a man to forge his own, and all the rocks of the world are for his breaking.

And yet, there is an end to this stage. There is a cliff that we reach, a path that we can no longer easily traverse on foot. The block here is yet another negative feeling. We’ve worked so hard in the past, dusted our knuckles against the rocks, plumbed the depths of our soul for the inspiration to continue against seemingly unbeatable odds, but now that we’ve gotten so far, there is a creeping shroud of uneasiness that begins to overtake us. We start to feel soft, saggy, stagnated. Things that were difficult for us are now easy. We look for the next peak to scale, but it feels like way too much effort. We want to stay here. We want to bask in our worn-out glory, lay in our half-baked success (because half-baked is good enough for us), and stay unperturbed by the forces of change.

But, if the bit of us that first discovered the beauty of our vision still remains somewhere deep within, we will feel that creeping shroud of uneasiness with greater sensitivity. It will permeate our beings and cause us to be unable to laze with serenity. No, we are plagued with a relentless invasion of ennui – we know that we must strive harder. But to what ends, and for what purposes? We tell ourselves that we are satisfied, though, if we were really honest, there is still something not quite complete about our success. Right at where we are at, there is a danger of being ensnared by stagnation, bogged down by boredom, and goaded into the same goals as everyone else. Our projects may be unique, but they seem like just another dime in a pile of so many. Our routines may feel effective, but it’s still someone else’s, stolen from the net somewhere. Our victories are sure, but only because we copied the strategies of another. We are successful, we have overcome failure, but we have yet to find our voice. And that is the thing that bugs us, that is the thing that irritates us, yet it feels insufficient to motivate us forward. We need to get to the next stage, and fast.


Stage_Planar_Shift

The Second Transition

So far, we have only striven for ourselves. We’ve put ourselves through the furnace to look for gold within, we’ve traversed the path of peril to seek treasure without, we smith and re-smith stronger hammers to bash the boulders in our way – but things get too difficult past a certain point. Things may even just get too boring. So what gives us the push – or to put it another way, what sucks us through to the other side? Whatever it is will have to be a higher, transcendent purpose. We need to take our eyes off ourselves, and stop asking for what we can gain from it. We need to start looking at the bigger picture. What can we give? Who can we serve? How do we reach that state of evolved strength that enables us to smash the boulders in other people’s way? Previously, we made a temporal shift, a vital change in perspective from short to long-term. Now, we must make a planar shift, to cease looking at the small area of space that we know as ourselves, and to begin setting our gaze on the wider world. Our perspective must be enlarged, it must grow to encompass not just the people we naturally care about, but also the people whom we don’t yet know, people whom we could one day serve.


Stage_3

Driven by Service

First we were motivated by success, and then by growth. Now, with a stable, empowered self, we make a planar shift, peer out of our shells, and feel compassion for the world around us. At this third stage, we are motivated by service. We have more than enough to share, and we want to give it to where it is needed most. This is, of course, the ideal. Usually, upon venturing out into the world, we may instead learn that our current skill set is not enough to meet the ever-growing demand. Or we may realize that it is not sufficiently fine-tuned for it to be effective. This gap is what draws us forward. It sucks us into a continuum of growth, and makes us able to bear with the days of darkness and desperation up ahead – day that can and will come when we delve deep enough into self-development of all sorts. We may feel lost, we may feel like we want to give up – but when we compare our miniscule pain with the colossal ache of the world, we know for sure that it is only a small price to pay for so great a cause.

Some of us may end up at the other deep end of self-development: complacency. When we get lazy and proud, it is the ones whom we serve who can shake us out of it. Our complacent blindness will lead us to fumble, hopefully in a small way, and immediately, the effects of our mistake reverberate throughout the ecosystem of our influence. Things break down. Systems fall into minor jeopardy. People may get hurt (but hopefully not). All at once, we remember how others need us to be at our best. All at once, we get up, stretch our muscles, and get ready to bust more rocks. There is no time for plateauing when we are service-focused, when our sense of self has grown to include others. We cannot idle in complacency or despair – there are lives and livelihoods at stake. We are pushed off the cliff, and we learn to grow wings.

And as we move out into the world and interact with people – those who can help us and those whom we can help – we are driven towards the deeper ‘why’s’ of doing. Our motivation sheds its selfish outer shell and reveals a vulnerable, humane person within, a person whose heart bleeds for the common cause, and whose hands work to raise others up. At this stage of development, we acquire new facets to our abilities. Previously, our analytical skills helped us grow through failure. By reflection and correction we learn the right path. Now, they show us how our actions can influence or fail to influence others. They show us if our skills are lacking, and whether they are in need of further refinement. On the upside, we also become aware of what works, and what doesn’t; what deserves more time and energy, and what is just a waste of investment. With an expanded sense of self, all the abilities that we’ve developed to understand ourselves become redirected to understand others and our relation to them, transforming us into people who can serve the world effectively.

This can, in many ways, create a distinctive marker in our personal skill sets, helping us to find a unique voice in a sea of so many. It seems like anyone who works hard enough can be a writer, but a writer who writes for gamers, or cooks, or musicians, has found a niche. Extending this to a humanitarian direction brings us to entrepreneurs whose interaction with less fortunate groups drive them to penetrate poverty zones through deftly-organized aid ministries, innovators whose exposure to the countless number in want of a clean drink every morning lead them to discover new ways of creating potable water, and social workers who, when faced with unending demands for skilled attention, use their mastery in technology to multiply the effect of the few on the field. Anybody who puts in the hours, and intelligently grinds through failure after failure, should be able to achieve a fair degree of success, but it is our unique connections to those we interact with, to those whom we feel for, that defines the nature of our expertise, and adds colour to our wings.

As a caveat, we must be careful not to skip steps here. There are many martyrs in this world whose kindness and selflessness are exemplary and admirable. But they remain ineffective in their fields of service, or they may even succumb to the same oppression that they seek to fight against. Why does this happen? Usually, they may have moved straight to stage 3 – the demands of the world around them were so pressing that they had no freedom to develop their strengths first. As such, when challenges come in greater numbers, they cannot care for both themselves and others.

Sometimes, we may be in such a situation because of circumstances. But when given the choice, we should strive to develop in a sound and sequential manner. We need wings before we can save others who are falling, we need a great hammer to smash our boulders, then those of others. While we should not be afraid to step out and serve, neither should we be tempted to rush the pace of our development. Through patience, we grow steadily, accumulate ability, and become a powerful force in whatever field we find ourselves in.

If we do manage to reach this stage without rushing too quickly or hesitating for too long, then our motivation becomes akin to the perpetual motion devices of lore – those around us catalyze our growth as we dedicate the fruits of our labour to serving them. We are inspired, and we inspire, we are motivated and we motivate. Our drive is strong enough to break down all the personal barriers in our way. By now, the only thing that blocks us are the logical limits, things like time and energy. These are things that we can only increase to a certain extent. From there, we will aim for optimal investments of these limited resources. At this stage, we become concerned with fine-tuning, experimentation and achieving the best returns from what little we have. This is a problem that demands constant attention and focus – yet it is a good problem to be dealing with. Because having broken down all the barriers of drive from Stage 1 to Stage 3, we can now look up and gaze into the clear skies for the first time. And that’s when we consider: perhaps, what lies beyond is the limit.

Creating Cultural Worlds

Worlds

Have you ever read a book that challenged the way you saw the world and lived your life? I’m quite sure we all have. For me, a good book like that can tend to make me have a whole host of things that I want to start implementing and changing about myself and my life, but it’s just impossible to do it all at once. Sometimes I let it slip and forget about it after awhile.

Yet inevitably, the kind of calling that is derived from the spirit of the book, or the voice of the author (whichever makes more sense to you), just returns to me in very unexpected ways. Sometimes a huge change in my life frees up resources, or gives me a worldview that enables me to start exploring those thought-provoking themes that drew my attention in the first place. Sometimes it’s during the routine of daily living that I am suddenly awakened to the realities described in some long-forgotten perused-through book.

This may lead to my decision to implement certain lifestyle changes or it may not, but to potentially influence another person in this same manner is one of the reasons why I write.

I see writing as an act of creating an entire cultural world. We may be adding onto another’s world, building bits of our own, or creating an entirely new one, but it is a creation that has so much potential to transform.

What do I mean by a cultural world? Well, just like the normal world, a cultural world contains an entire ecosystem of resources and organisms. Say if we decide to learn a new skill, we are drawing from pools of cultural resources that teach us how, when, and even why we perform it. After trying it out, we realize that this method may or may not be good for us; we write a review, a comment, or a blogpost – and add another bit of substance to that pool. We are the organisms that participate in a growing cycle of resources that contribute to that particular cultural act, and through our contributions, we affect other organisms who draw from our resources too. This cyclic activity is reminiscent of how a world works!

Building on that, a world has different continents and ecologies to go with them. Some parts of the world are more pertinent to the “why” of our actions. For instance, blogposts that explore our reasons and intentions, our foundations for living and doing. Other are catered to the emotional side of us (think art blogs, webcomics, poetry… and plain ol’ relationship or heart-centered content!), and it either directly or indirectly influences our emotions towards a particular “world” of being. There are so many parts (perhaps just one more example; the practical side of things – such as wikihows, to-do-lists, efficiency and effectiveness blogs etc.) to a single world, and each part has its own way that we the organisms may relate to the resource pools. For example, we might be more open to just feeling through the heart-centered “continents” of that world, or maybe contributing to it via our own creative work, while the more practical “continent” would demand that we engage more of our minds and bodies by practicing, engaging, and critiquing.

Once again if you’re a bit lost (pardon my idea-rambles!), a world could be something like “Exercise!” and the various continents could be the emotional side, such as motivational videos, pictures of superfit people doing cool things to get us pumping; the practical side, such as how our metabolism works, what kind of exercises are good for building which part of the muscle; the foundational side, such as why we exercise – to look good, to feel good, or to do good (carrying heavy things around, saving kitties from trees, saving people from fires)? Each of these continents have different ecologies which demand different kind of responses from us!

Finally, just like the real world, cultural worlds have habitats and food chains too. We have to learn how to find our own place to dwell in, and how to hunt our food. Say if I’m learning about drumming, I’ll have to know which skill sets I’m looking to improve, and where I could go about to find these resources e.g. youtube to search for bass-drum techniques? Not all videos are going to be effective for me, so I’m going to have to be more selective, and hunt down only the food that I need. It might take a bit of trial and error, but eventually I’ll probably find a couple of tasty ones and pry off the meat till there’s only bones left! After awhile I’ll learn what are the kinds of resources that are really useful to me (it’ll probably change over time), and collectively, it becomes like a habitat to me, a place where I know I can find food easily, and rest safely while digesting all these tasty information.

So… back to writing! In essence when we write, we create ways to think, do and feel that gives others a platform to develop their own, and also resource, nay, an entire world to share in. The very fundamentals of writing itself in fact draws from the cultural worlds of language, and formatting, and idioms. In other words, we are always interconnected. To contribute to somebody’s ability to see the very world around us, and to act in it – that just feels very powerful and connecting indeed; we don’t write into our little bubbles of thought, but it enters into someone else’s reality, pierces through the veil of disconnect, and transforms them either now, or sometime later. Alternatively, they enter into the landscape and atmosphere of our words and begin to inhabit it, growing their own populations of living, breathing ways of seeing, doingand feeling that makes it very much their own as well.

So next time you write, do pause a moment and think of the kind of powers you wield – we are building new worlds here, you and I!

Gain from Everything

I’m not going to lie to you. Lately there have been days when I haven’t been feeling too well. It isn’t a full-blown depression, or a case of highly unfortunate incidents either, it’s just that the combination of non-eventfulness and various roadblocks in the way of skill-improvement have laid me in a pervasive mire of funk.I’m not sure if the last sentence made sense, but all I’m trying to say is that I’ve been feeling a little bit unmotivated.

There are days when I seriously consider just staying at home, even though people have been asking me to go out and ‘do stuff’ with them. It could be just shopping, or visiting a sick friend, or finding a job; and I’d be so tempted to just say “no, I’m busy doing stuff at home,” and they’ll ask “Like what?”, and I’ll say, “Oh you know, the usual. Writing, playing the drums, working out.” To them they’d think that it was nothing much. Unfortunately, to me, leaving the house for social events would usually mean that my various schedules get out of gear and would require fixing some time later. For instance, last week was a particularly social week. I spent 4 out of the 7 days out with friend(s). It was mortifying to my schedule. My workout days shrank from 3 days to 2, I did absolutely 0 cardio, and didn’t have the energy to push harder on the days that I did manage to train. I spent the past 3 out of 4 days not practicing my drums, which means that I have only 3 days left before my lesson, and I could be horribly unprepared. Also, I’m taking forever to edit my novella. That basically means that I might need to fix it by working harder this week. Argh!

But then again, when I look at it from another perspective, it’s so darn refreshing. I’ve recently come across this idea that proposes that you can literally gain from every experience. When you think of it that way, it’s no longer about trying to endlessly avoid situations that are out of your control. You can be far more open, far more receptive to experiences because it always has a present for you!

I used to tell people no all the time: No, I can’t go out because I need to study, I can’t watch a movie tomorrow because I’m out of money for the month, I’m practicing for my drum exams so I can’t go to the beach next week et cetera et cetera. Now I’ve started to say yes (still selectively), and I’m finally seeing what happens when I acknowledge the inevitable – I’m not always in control of my time. Perhaps you aren’t as protective of your time as me, or maybe you can completely identify too, hardcore introvert or not, but the moment you start giving part of your time to the friends around you, you’d realize that there would be parts of your life that would be time-deficient. I hate that, because it’s so disconcerting. But then again, I realize that chaos is essential for growth.

It is possible to gain from everything, even from what you think hurts you.

In my case, having my internal world thrown into chaos was exactly what I needed to get some fresh creative spark going. I was able to write a short story based on my little experience of following my friend about when he decided on a whim to go job-hunting after watching a movie (no I don’t think the movie inspired the job-hunting, but good guess anyway). Also, being pressed for time, I turned back to the Minimum Effective Dose training that Tim Ferriss espoused in his best-selling “4-Hour Body”. It was a new way of training that in my experience, really stresses the muscles for a short time without actually causing it to be too defunct after words, meaning you don’t suffer too badly from aches the next day, so you can remain active. Also, having spent so much time off the drum set, the one time I finally got to it (yesterday), saw me really practicing like never before. I think deprivation of certain ‘regulars’ in life is necessary for growth. Shaking things up a little really helps to keep things moving forward. And if you have the mindset that you will gain from everything, you really can find some gain in everything.

So yes, these days I have been feeling a little bit unmotivated, and I may have been lying in a mire of funk, but saying “yes” to all the last-minute switch-ups in my schedule may have reversed that effect. And for that, I’m thankful.

Getting Through the Desert

Have you ever felt like your life’s a desert?

Not the sweet kind, with chocolate kisses on top and a sprinkle of rainbow rice for good measure.

I’m talking about a horizon of sand on the ground, sand in your clothes, and sand in your dry, dry, mouth. You’re thirsting for water, just a drop! but your bottle is empty and it’s dust and bones all around. Oh yea, there was this oasis back there, but it turned out to be an illusion of your tired, broken mind. So much for good luck. You could walk for days, and not find any water – wait what’s that sound? A sandstorm? Right, just as you thought the day couldn’t get any worse.

We’ve all been in our own deserts before: a challenge so tough and demoralizing you felt as if quitting was the only way out. You’re stuck in a scenario where your only lifeline – wait, you have no lifeline. It’s just an endless, hopeless trudge forward with both shoes full of sand. With those cracking lips you force yourself to say a prayer, only because you’ve been cursing for far too long. Breathing feels like hell with all the sand in your nostrils cutting into the skin, you could swear it was some of your own blood that you sniffed up earlier.

And then come those sleepless nights. A time when all the other creatures take refuge in their holes, and rest up for whatever that may assail them the next day. But you? You have nowhere to lay your head, nowhere to hide from the cold. Speaking of cold, when the sun sets in that desert, you’re plunged into a freezer of immense proportions. No place to hide, no place to warm your hands. Is there any respite from this endless torment? Rhetorical question, no points for answering.

So day after day like this, until your rations run out. You stumble onto a real oasis and begin gulping the crystal water like a dehydrated hippopotamus. A cool breeze blows past, and you suddenly feel as if its heaven. You crack open a coconut and hunt for the flesh inside. A purple elephant licks your face. Oh wait a minute…you wake up – it’s just a dream. Of course it’s just a dream. But to have fallen asleep in the cold like this, you consider a miracle already. You’re going crazy, but you have only two options. Move on, or die here.

You choose to move on.

“Hey you!” There’s a shout coming from behind. Auditory hallucination, you think to yourself, and trudge on. “Looks like you could use some help there!” Those hallucinatory voices are becoming more and more tempting aren’t they. You turn around, and see a group of hooded men on camels. You crumble on your knees. Yea right, if only… you start to say to yourself. The men dismount and make their way towards you. One of them offers a bottle and pulls you up. You resist the urge to pinch yourself on your cheek – it’s real, salvation is here.

When in a desert, keep moving on, because you’ll never know when you’ll be saved.

Observer -> Participant: A Quantum Leap

There is another application of the quantum leap that I’ve been noticing rather frequently these few days – the Observer -> Participant Quantum Leap.

People value objective observers because they are able to provide unemotional, unbiased feedback regarding the state of situations. While most people tend to automatically process information and therefore produce a coloured report of happenings, these observers are able to give us an accurate and true picture of reality, or as accurate as a human can get it to be.

I posit that among other possible reason, one dominant explanation for their objectivity would be that they are not participating in the actual events or activities themselves, and so they have no emotional tie or personal stake in the actual proceedings, and therefore they will feel no need to spin the facts to better suit themselves, either consciously or unconsciously.

Another benefit of not being a participant is that one is able to observe the facts from a bird’s eye point of view, seeing a larger picture which includes the interactions and relationships between each variable without being a variable himself. He is not influenced by these variable and can provide a far more accurate general depiction of the happenings.

One drawback would be that he will be unable to feel the subjective states that each of these variables experience unless he participates himself. His observations, while accurate, may draw flak from those who are negatively depicted, or perceive themselves to be negatively depicted even though the report was as factual as it could possibly be.

Now, all observers once in awhile, being human, will desire to be a subject that participates, instead of the object that perceives. To do so will mean that he will get to experience the trills of being emotionally moved by the changing variables in the event or activity, and that may cause painful loss or exuberant gain depending on whether he was negatively or positively influenced, and also on the stake, or level of participation the once-passive observer dared to put in.

Participation transforms an observer in subtle but unmissable ways. Once exposed to the wide fluctuations in emotions, he may never be able to report observations in an objective way again. Having felt the pain and joys within his own heart and feeling the tinges of loss and thrills of victory in his very flesh, he will be unable to ignore so easily as before the scathingly neutral commentaries that he once produced. Slowly, his reports will show signs of infection –  partisan reporting, subjective emotionality, and maybe, even empathy; they are no longer objective.

But perhaps, this is what makes the robotic observer more human. Perhaps, this was all that is needed for people to listen, accept, and act upon the facts reported by the once-irrelevant, non-integrated observer. This quantum leap, from an observer to a participant, may in very fact be necessary for a restoration to function. Maybe human beings were never made for cold-hard truth… maybe they were made for those seared by fiery passion and cooled by the calm waters of measured empathy.