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What Creates Passion and Passionate People, and What Defeats it In Us? Interview with Gregg Levoy

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Rob: It's not something that you automatically are aware of, or conscious of.

GL: Yeah, I'm a little bit afraid for our listening skills in the Internet age. I just think our attention spans have gone down to you know, the sound byte. I mean I've actually seen little television screens mounted above urinals and gas pumps.

Rob: Yes.

GL: I mean how bad is our attention span that we're bored to death waiting for gas to pump? I mean how long does it take to go, to pee? You know what I'm saying? How long does that take? It's a minute or so, that expands of course as you get older, but the fact is why is that excruciating to us? Why does the Motorola company in pitching their cell phones, coin the term micro boredom? And every newspaper in the country jumps on it as a new story. Micro boredom are these little snatches of precious time that we apparently find insufferable and of course, Motorola's happy to help us with that problem with their latest and greatest. But our attention span has narrowed down to the point when idea of contemplative listening, it's just a luxury, it's like who's got the time to do that? You know, the kind of listening that I believe is required to ascertain a calling or to really discern what your passions are and where they want you to go. So I'm just a little concerned about what's going to happen to that skill as the Internet age expands.

Rob: So, let me - okay, let me digress a little bit -

GL: Sure.

Rob: Because I've got pages of notes on what to ask you and I haven't touched it yet.

GL: Okay.

Rob: Which is fine, we're doing great, but you star the chapter with eyes wide open. You start the book, the first chapter is eyes wide open. You talk a lot about wonder in that and when you talk about this inability to let go and this micro -

GL: Boredom.

Rob: - boredom, I think a symptom that has as a risk, the loss of wonder.

GL: Yeah.

Rob: So, talk about - I'm kind of segueing into wonder -

GL: Yeah, that's fine.

Rob: Talk about wonder.

GL: Oh, boy. I mean, I think of it as one of the active ingredients in a passionate life; it's the ability to be moved. I mean that's really ultimately what I think wonder is about. Is the ability to be moved by things; emotionally moved. And if not literally moved to take action on their behalf; to enjoy them, to immerse yourself in them, to protect them, the things that move you, but I just think that it requires us sometimes to step out of the mindset of busyness and doing and get into that, you know, that old paradigm of being. Just open yourself to the experience of being moved by things; whatever that is, what are your fascinations? What makes you say wow? You know, it's one of the reasons why I ask this question in my workshops is what is it that triggers the wow experience for you? And just simply to do more of it; to identify what they are and to do more of it because the world is marvelous and shot through with just incredibleness and it would be a pity to miss so much of it. And -

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