Forget that he jumped up and down like a crazy man yelling “Crikey” (okay, so it wasn’t on Oprah’s couch). He was passionate. Forget that he unabashedly skewed our view of wildlife, and purposefully manipulated our relationship to it. He was passionate. Forget that his portrayal of almost every animal outside of our gerbil cage was threatening, volatile and dangerous to humans. He was passionate.
Steve Irwin, Mr. Everyman in Khaki, was the icon for wildlife education and preservation. Perhaps his biggest contribution was his enthusiasm. Millions loved him. Others were more committed to fact than to his fantasy. Fair enough. Steve didn’t seem to care. His world was the one according to crocs and pythons and Komodo dragons and his razor sharp focus about that world reached deity status. Just check the headlines during this past, most solemn week. Now that’s passion!
We’re told that he brought energy and passion to everything he did— that he didn’t do anything by half. I want passion like Steve Irwin’s. I want the kind of energy that changes a situation by virtue of my commitment to it. I want to be remembered as someone who electrified every situation, who transformed the world’s perception, someone whose energy and sheer lust for life and his purpose became an international industry.
His was the perfect business model: Find something you’re undyingly committed to. Infect the rest of the world with your passion. Convert them to devotees. Turn that passion into a money-making enterprise that literally changes the world and, ultimately, harms no one while doing tons of good. Involve every generation, especially children. Make it educational while you’re at it. And make it fun.
I want my version of what he had. Don’t you?