Acting with “Indifference”

I’ve been introduced to the concept of “indifference.” The religious sect of Jesuit priests have it as an aim to practice it.

On the surface, “indifferent” can mean that one lacks passion or concern. The Jesuits don’t mean it that way.

They believe that every moment is filled with opportunity and potential. While circumstances can be adverse and conditions suboptimal, there always exists an opportunity to contribute to the moment in such a way as to reap benefit from that moment. There is always an opportunity to experience something positive from what’s going on at the time and what’s happening next.

Therefore, Jesuits shift their focus from the circumstances to the opportunities. Thus, their mindset is to be “indifferent” to where they work and what they do. They are “indifferent” to what once was or might have been. They are focused on searching for better and finding ways to improve things where they are. That focus makes them passionate. The “indifference” allows them freedom to engage the coming frontier.

Because of “indifference,” Jesuits move with urgency. They are inventive. They take on the problems at hand and work to resolve them. They travel light. They aren’t attached to places, possessions or methods. They try new things. They relish innovation. They rarely get stuck.

Most of us could be a bit more “indifferent.” But it’s hard.

To be “indifferent,” you have to loosen your grip on possessions.

To be “indifferent,” you have to be willing to put away a trusted method and try a new one.

To be “indifferent,” you have to have faith that the process of searching for potential and improvement in every moment can win out over the process of security found in existing methods.

I can’t claim that “indifference” is the way I roll. But, I see the virtue of it.

May we all be brave enough to become a bit more “indifferent” as we encounter the opportunities that come our way.

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PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
PalletOne Inc.
Company President, Howe Q. Wallace

Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.


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