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November 1, 2005

Irrational enthusiasm is the seed of all great things

K7922_1

Sure, irrational exuberance is considered a bad thing when it comes to the stock market and investing but that doesn't mean irrationality itself isn't essential to good and great new things.

Because many really interesting things are the result of doing something dumb or even irrational.

Like that guy who decided to kill himself by going over Niagara Falls — without a barrel, instead just floating on his back admiring the view — and came to his senses unharmed, in the churning waters at the base.

He didn't find that his life had changed all that much a year later, when he wrote an article about it that I read in the Washington Post.

But that's not the point.

And he certainly wasn't enthusiastic when he decided to call it a day by taking what he thought would be his ultimate ride.

And he was quite rational, if you think about it: anyone thinking clearly would predict that you would not survive a trip over Niagara Falls wearing no protection but your street clothes.

So.

Most of my best posts — at least, those I like the best — are a result of a bit too much coffee or some sort of serotonin overload, most probably — but so what?

I'm all for out–of–control, irrational, nonsensical behavior.

In fact, it's a requirement for working here.

As you might have heard, my favorite essay (by my favorite essayist, E. M. Cioran) is entitled, "Enthusiasm as a Form of Love."

What you didn't know until now is that my second–favorite essay by Cioran is "Degradation Through Work."

Reading it and taking its lessons to heart could transform your life.

For me it was simply fuel for a fire already burning white–hot.

But everyone's furnace isn't the same.

Ot1vq74bk_2

The trick in life is to find just the right temperature for yours.

November 1, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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