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Firelighters vs Firefighters: How About Keeping The Fire?

Firelighters vs Firefighters: How About Keeping The Fire?

“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela.

Good morning! It is another wonderful day to kindle the desire in us, to strive for greatness and be the best version of ourselves. This week, I want to dedicate most of my blog posts on “Passion—knowing and sparking the fiery passion in us to fuel our talents leading to achieving success.”

I have been reading Talent Is Never Enough by John C. Maxwell. In his book, he advises readers on building their strengths to become a “Talent-plus person.” In the first chapter, he examines how “belief lifts your talent,” whether it’s the belief in your potential, yourself and your mission that empowers and encourages you. He then adds another dozen factors which can be related to your ability in achieving your goals. The book teaches you how not to rely on only your talents but rather, add some certain ingredients to make you a “Talent-plus” person. 

One of these ingredients he talked about was Passion. He titled it “Passion energizes your talent” and it captures almost all one needs to know about the importance of passion in achieving greatness. As I read through the pages, I thought to myself, Alpha, you must share what you have read. So, here I am…doing exactly that. 

At this point, the burning question here is, “What is passion?”

Passion is among the words that people sometimes use without fully knowing and understanding its true context. However, it became clear to me from the book. Maxwell begins the chapter by asking, “What carries people to the top? What makes them take risks, go the extra mile, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals? It isn’t talent. It is passion.” Right then and there, it was clear what really compels the world shakers and movers to go all out to achieve greatness—passion! When you are passionate about what you do, you don’t need to force yourself to persevere…to fight against all odds to succeed. It comes to you naturally.

Oprah Winfrey gets it right when she says,

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

Notwithstanding the need is to talk about what passion is and what it isn’t, I will not be focusing on that today. I will do that some other time though. However, what I will be focusing on is another amazing thing I chanced on in the book (the book is a goldmine really). 

Do you sometimes sit down, take a look at some people around you, observe their behaviours and their enthusiasm towards your dreams and what you are passionate about? Do you observe anything peculiar about their attitudes? If you do, you will realize that there are two kinds of people that surround you. There is the kind that is willing to do anything to support you…to encourage you to pursue what you are passionate about; to help you become successful. Then there is the kind that does nothing but discourages you, pulls you down and tells you that you cannot succeed. John C. Maxwell categorizes these people into Firelighters (those who will go out of their way to help you keep your fire hot) and Firefighters (those who will throw cold water on the fire of passion that burns within you)

Know the difference and know which of these kinds to surround yourself with. 

‘Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.’

~ W. Gibson.

And Gibson couldn’t have said that better!

Have you ever discussed your dream with anyone, only to have them say a few painful words to sabotage it?

YOU: ‘I’ve been thinking about writing a book, and—’

THEM:  (they cut in) ‘It’s really hard to get published, you know.’

There! That right there is of the firefighting kind. Keep them away from you as best as you can. 

There’s a breed of pricks who quietly lurk, ready to attack your precious, vulnerable ideas as soon as you share them with the world. These people are known as naysayers, non-supporters, dream killers, or just plain assholes (as Gibson will put it).

You can find them at work, in social circles, in the family, you name it. It can be your boss, friend, dad, husband or wife, your neighbour…

Wherever you meet them, the same poisonous propensity comes from these firefighters: they get off on popping bubbles, raining on parades, throwing wet blankets on ambitions, and farting on dreams.

“What’s that? You want to be the world’s greatest singer? Lol, what sort of freaky shit have you been on these days? You better focus on singing at funerals.”

How Can You Tell The Lighters From The Fighters? 

‘I know someone else who tried that and it didn’t work out for them.’

‘Are you sure you’re qualified?’

“It will never work because…”

“You can’t make any money doing that.”

‘Normal people usually just get a real job.’

“Are you sure that is not dangerous?” 

“That’s not practical.”

“We’ve tried it before. It didn’t work!”

“You are not that smart”

…among others. 

If you have heard any of the above phrases or other variants of it from anyone around you, chances are you have a firefighter…poised and eagerly advancing with their water, fire blankets, extinguishers etc to put out your fire. Don’t let them! Surround yourself with positive-minded people who will encourage you to go the extra mile. Sometimes, you don’t just need to surround yourself with people who will only fuel your fire. You have to also surround yourself with people who are on fire themselves. 

D.S. Mashego puts that better:

“To remain far-sighted, you need to surround yourself
with far-sighted visionaries. You need to surround
yourself with people who think like you. You need
to surround yourself with people who speak the same language as you. You need to surround yourself
with people who fight and refuse to give up on their
destiny. You need to surround yourself with people whose testimonies give you reasons to press on.”

Have a great day and keep the fire burning!

Until next update, stay safe. 

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Also, drop your thoughts in the comment box below. 

7 thoughts on “Firelighters vs Firefighters: How About Keeping The Fire?

  1. Nice write up, truly amazing!.Thanks for this.

  2. I’m overly grateful for this article of yours.
    This might be what someone out there needs to access his/her big breakthrough in career and passion.

  3. Amazing write-up. I’m really inspired.

  4. This is in fact too true. I recall vividly back in 2018 when I decided to pursue writing as a career and a majority of people were very pessimistic about the whole idea, I was asked questions like:
    “Does it pay?”
    “Why writing?”
    And a bunch of others. But I wasn’t doing that to impress anyone or get applauds (I wouldn’t have rejected if they came, lol), I wrote because I had passion and still do.
    This is a very in depth piece, just like all the rest.

  5. I lobed it!

  6. This is very deep, we need to differentiate the lighters from the writers

  7. Fab_du_solvic

    Wow, this article shows you have dealt well with books and undoubtedly, you are yourself a sage!
    A firelighter!
    A passionate man!

    Thanks for this.

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