UNC-CH Disaster, Practicing Passion, and TED Talks

A thought after last night’s basketball disaster for Tarheel fans; I’m sure Notre Dame fans are ecstatic.

The better team last night won the ACC college basketball tournament, and I know certain avid UNC fans who’re still feeling bad, and may continue feeling bad for a few days.  In grad school at Carolina in the late ’60s I very slowly became a fan of Dean Smith’s character, coaching style, and fabulously successful teams.  I became more passionate as the Dean-decades passed, and much more so from regularly watching and listening for about a year in the mid-’80s with a small group of passionate undergrad fans.  Now-a-days I rarely watch games, have to work at learning the current players’ names and exploits,  and wouldn’t recognize them if I saw them on the street.  I do listen and enjoy UNC basketball on the radio, especially to big rivalry games [Duke, etc], progressively more as the season reaches a climax in the winner-take all tournaments.

I’ve read that picking a sports team that wins a lot & following them with passion is actually a very useful mental health practice.  It helps focus positively the passion that everyone can have, by being  passionate about something of no deep importance, rather than suffering through passionately melodramatizing  important stuff in your life, like Relationships, the part of fortune, loss. etc.  Like many new practices, it can seem artificial at first, but keep practicing, especially in the company of others who’re passionate about that team/activity.  It’ll become more and more natural, help you feel connected to other people/ practitioners, and lean the balance of energy in your life more toward the positive.

For a surprising demonstration how just two minutes practice of an archetypical “Power” posture can change your life see a TED talk by Amy Cuddy, PhD.   I accidentally put in the video rather than the link.

For an in-depth discussion of passion and how to capture and strengthen it, see Greg Levoy’s fine new book Vital Signs: the Nature and Nurture of Passion,



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