When I was in high school there was a fellow my age who liked me, let's call him Patrick. Patrick had a crush on me for some time but I was not interested in him -- his long hair, his introverted style, his small group of friends who always seemed a little moody -- in the slightest. In fact, the time that I have just taken to write these few words about Patrick would equate to more time than I ever spent even noticing him back then.
This all changed one day when Patrick took up rowing. Now, you may think that rowing is not particularly sexy and I might agree. But it is not the rowing that matters here. Patrick became immersed in, excited about and pro-something. When I saw him in our common room he was talking animatedly about his rowing adventures, his team, his sport.
It made me notice him and look at him differently.
What changed? After some time his appearance did, yes. He stood a little taller and walked with a bit more swagger. He may even have gotten into better shape but I did not really know for sure as I had never paid attention to him before.
The real change was internal. He loved something. He was passionate about something. He was giving something all that he had to give. The impact it had on him was impossible to ignore. It was not the same Patrick. Even a popular, pretty girl in the year below us took note -- I once served them tea and chocolate cake at the café where I was a waitress. How didn't I notice? Patrick was cute! And by then, he was long over me.
What I learned from this is that being pro something, a supporter of something, actively engaged in loving something, is sexy. How many people still smile when remembering an engaging high school teacher? Or a former boss who made them enthusiastic and energized about going to work? Passion is very attractive and not just in a romantic sense. Our passions transform us and we become alluring to everyone -- friends, peers, even potential employers.
We can go from being detached, indifferent, even against stuff, e.g., "I hate Indian food! I can't believe that writer gets published, I would rather die than see another Anne Hathaway movie" to pro stuff, e.g., "I love sushi! I am totally lost in my currently book -- Cheryl Strayed is remarkable. A Woody Allen movie just ends my weekend beautifully." Small or big subjects -- being pro something wins.
People who are pro-stuff are engaging and appealing. We want to be around them. They teach us things. They are inviting and open and interesting. People who are pro-stuff change the world as they infuse light into what they do and they bring intention to the choices they make. Who wants to sit for hours and hear someone talking about how incompetent their manager is, the intolerability of the winter or how unacceptable airport delays are? Count me out.
If you are not attracting people you may well be repelling them or even worse -- you may be having no impact on others at all.
So please share with me... What are you pro-for? What do you love to love? And when have you noticed that being pro-something is a very desirable quality in others?
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