06 January 2012

Intense in a Good Way

I went to a local Indian restaurant for lunch today with my brother and my dad. At the restaurant there is a man who greets all the customers who come in, seats them, and then proceeds to bring every table extra naan, pour chai, and bring out special dishes like naan infused with hot peppers. Let's assume that this man was the owner, based on his greeting everyone and the fact that he was wearing a nice shirt and tie. Talking to the owner was a little intimidating. He seemed so eager for everyone to have a positive experience that in his whirling around, wishing everyone a happy New Year, asking how  many were in each party, quickly and efficiently placing each party at a table and so on, it was difficult to respond or try to have a conversation. Despite this he left a good impression because he was just so friendly. He was very intense about his job, but in a good way.

I've definitely encountered others who are intense in a good way. Lots of these have been former teachers, whether at school or of music or various other disciplines. It seems to me that part of being intense has to do with having intentions. A music teacher intended for us to play the best we could, produce the best sound possible, and play together with the best ensemble we could generate. A history teacher intended for us to have a deep understanding of the connections between different events in American history and be able to analyze historical documents with quality writing. The Tae Kwon Do instructors intended for us to be able to defend ourselves effectively and for us to understand what it means to practice martial arts.

Like them, the owner of the Indian restaurant intended for all his guests to feel welcome and to have a positive experience. Each of these people could sometimes be a little intimidating but this is because they would have lost their effectiveness by being lax. They each had a vision of an outcome that they wanted us, their students, to live up to, even if we had a long way to travel before reaching this destination. They would stop at nothing to inspire us, scare us a little bit, or whatever it took to help us along the way.

If you have a great vision for yourself or others, don't be afraid to be intense about how you pursue it.

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