All of us in the United States are excited about the Pope’s visit this week. Regardless of your specific beliefs or faith, the Pope’s commitment to social justice and the dignity of human life offers a compelling message to everyone.But, what does that have to do with these other images?
As I worked through this week, periodically visiting video and text snippets about the Pope’s visit, I was also reminded about Friday’s release of Apple’s new iPhones and the long lines expected at Apple store locations around the world.
And, just to add another layer to this puzzle, I started thinking about college football this weekend.
Have you ever seen the craziness on ESPN’s College Game Day at the front end of college football every Saturday morning? If not, tune in early tomorrow morning as thousands of University of Arizona students fill the screen when the bus rolls into town. (It’s earlier in the morning than you will ever see a college student again.)
For many of you, I could also add ice cream and roller coasters.
What’s going on here?
I know it seems like a crazy notion to juxtapose the Pope’s visit to the United States, the release of Apple’s new iPhones and the enthusiasm that ushers in college football every Saturday.
Yet, as I saw the burgeoning crowds filling the streets of Washington DC, eager to see the Pope, and saw the tents starting to go up to get in line for the release of the new Apple iPhones today, I started thinking:
What is the source of the extraordinary excitement about these events?
In one example, it’s a lone individual representing one of the largest religious communities in the world.
In another, it’s one of the most popular product lines on the planet.
And, it’s millions of people attending college football games every Saturday.
Do these events have anything in common?
They are certainly different experiences… by any standard, radically different… yet each of them inspires an incredibly powerful reaction:
Every minister of every faith prays for a following that even modestly approaches the interest the Pope generates.
Every company on the planet would love to replicate the excitement Apple generates when it releases a new product.
Every team, in sports and in business, would pay dearly to generate the excitement and enthusiasm college students have for their team.
We can’t help but wonder:
How can I generate this level of interest and excitement for what I’m doing?
Is it possible?
Maybe not on the huge scale in these examples.
But you can certainly create a powerful response in your own universe:
Take a three-year old to Disneyland.
Watch an older adult light up when their grandchildren come to visit.
Watch the faces of your colleagues when you praise them for a milestone achievement.
Together, we’re going to try to figure out exactly what emotions are at play here.
In the meantime, take some time to consider ways in which you, too, can generate unbridled excitement in your life and among those around you.
So, what is this emotion anyway? Love? Adoration? Joy?
The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference. ~Audre Lorde, an American poet
In some form, absolutely.
Christians of all faiths adore the Pope.
Apple fan boys/girls love Apple products. (Yeah, me too.)
College students are fanatic about their football teams.
In every case, people stumble over each other, besotted with the powerful emotions that accompany these events.
Are there other emotions at work here?
These activities also make us feel better about ourselves …
… that we have affection for a revered man of faith,
… that we own the latest and greatest technology,
… that our team helps us reveal our identity
In short, it makes us feel good. It makes us feel worthy.
What is going on here?
All of us get excited by a the variety of activities that make us unique individuals.
We get turned on by a lot of things – yes, that too. (Does the one you’re thinking about have only three letters?)
I’m still thinking about this, and trying to capture the essence of what these events seem to have in common.
What do you think is going on here?