Friday, August 1, 2014

Eric Hoffer: quiet confidence and noisy insecurity

No. 11

"The passionate state of mind is often indicative of a lack of skill, talent or power.  Moreover, passionate intensity can serve as a substitute for the confidence born of proficiency and the possession of power.  A workingman sure of his skill goes leisurely about his job, and accomplishes much though he works as if at play.  On the other hand, the workingman who is without confidence attacks his work as if he were saving the world, and he must do so if he is to get anything done.  The same is true of the soldier.  A well-trained and well-equipped soldier will fight well even when not stirred by strong feeling.  But the untrained soldier will give a good account of himself only when animated by enthusiasm and fervor."

-- Eric Hoffer --
from The Passionate State of Mind

This reminds me of certain politicians today--those who make a lot of noise and insist they are saving the country from its internal and external enemies, when in reality they accomplish the opposite and, what is worse,  they prevent others from doing what is necessary.  In other words, those who shout the loudest and make the most noise accomplish the least. 


  1. Yes, oh yes, Fred. It's gotten to the point that I no longer read the political news and turn my face away from the horror of what is going on overseas. I'm just too old to go through all that all over again.

    Here in this country I think the biggest crime is that all the noise and shouting does, as you say, '... prevent others from doing what is necessary.'

  2. Yvette,

    I think we may be suffering from information overload today. We get too much information, and it all piles up on us.

    In addition, we have yet to learn how to screen out the ranting and raving from those who are more interested in being noticed than in actually accomplishing what they were elected to do, in order to be able to see or hear those who actually do something..