Word Choice: “Called” vs. “Driven”

A good dog comes when she’s called.

This is a post about something I’d never thought of until my master brought it up with me yesterday. Remember yesterday? It was Josh Groban Day on my blog. Hence, it was also the day I had to account for my actions. “What on earth drove you to do that?!” asked my master.

There’s really only one explanation. I told him that my motivation for blogging isn’t a matter of being driven to do anything. Rather, it’s a matter of being called. Therefore, I’m interested in the life-long pursuit of sharing information in this public education forum, and I’m fine with the occassional detour.

If I were driven, however, I’d be upset about wasting an entire blog post on Josh Groban. After all, there’s only so much time in a dog’s short life, and I should not be wasting a single second! A driven dog would be highly concerned about the sidetrip, the loss of productivity, the threat of further distraction.

This is the only way a dog should be driven to do anything! (Will someone please share this with Mitt Romney, btw?)

A dog whose motivation is deeper– so deep that it’s a part of the process of their life– is a dog who is called. A called dog comes to its master and enjoys the run, while a driven dog runs to its master out of fear of reprisal, for fear of doing the wrong thing. A driven dog can easily go mad trying to live up to expectations of perfection and productivity.

A called dog knows its master is in charge and doesn’t mind taking a nap on the porch or blogging about Josh Groban. A called dog is sometimes labeled as “lazy” by the driven dogs, but–stop and think about it–compared to being driven half-to-death, who isn’t “lazy”? A called dog can rest easy because a called dog isn’t afraid. A called dog has a different system for assessing outcomes.

And that’s the big difference between being driven and being called: outcomes. The diagnosis of what kind of dog you are is easily seen in the outcomes that you value.

Is money an outcome you value? What happens if you lose it all today? How much have you invested in other humans?

A driven dog measures prosperity in terms of things that are tangible and fleeting. A called dog has a wide variety of outcomes to measure “success” because a called dog is concerned with the multi-variate process of becoming a good dog while doing good work– and “work” can include a lot of pitstops.

Failures and mistakes would be disastrous for a driven dog. Being behind schedule would be catastrophic. Being taken off task unwillingly would be intolerable for  driven dog. But a called dog knows there’s something to be learned in the process of each of these experiences. A called dog is more concerned with the relationships between phenomena and how these phenomena have an effect on the entire pack.

Think eternally: Store up for yourselves that which moth and rust do not corrupt and that which theives do not break in and steal. (Matt :19)

In short, a called dog is called by its master to a purpose. A driven dog is driven by itself or by fear of others. Both dogs arrive at the end. Both may have wonderful intentions. The difference is not a difference in intent or morality.

The difference is that one enjoyed the trip and learned a lot along the way and has a bouquet of stories about life-changing events that brought them into closer relationship with the other members of their pack. The other arrives with a lot of product, most of which is plastic and spray-painted with gold.

Which kind of dog are you? The obvious questions begged by pointing out the difference in the perception of being called as compared to the perception of being driven are… “What have I been called to do? What have I been driven to do?” Also, you can add “By whom?” to the end of each of those.

(And escape the human drama of morality on this one… Don’t add “Is this good or bad?” but, rather, if you feel like you must judge yourself for something, then only ask “Is this effective and efficient?” If we want to talk about good and bad, then we’ll have to do that some other day…)

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About adamaecompton

just a three-legged rescue dog, bloggin about critical citizenship, the environment, and all sorts of literacy.
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8 Responses to Word Choice: “Called” vs. “Driven”

  1. Bassas Blog says:

    You are right – a called dog isn’t afraid.

  2. Sally G says:

    I’m not sure about this; I drive myself, if I need a call it must come from somewhere else. I call nobody “master”, though I share my journey with many. . . .
    Need to think about this, but for now I see myself respectfully disagreeing.

    • Today’s posts rounds out the patterns of thought already held by many humans, but it might sound like it runs contrary to them, so to speak.

      Consider how “you are the master of your own destiny” is a phrase that many take deeply to heart. There is a LOT of logical reasoning behind why humans know this to be true; we see much evidence of its veracity. Similarly, two very apparently contradictory thoughts can be held simultaneously without needing to be reconciled– “birds of a feather flock together” is as true as true can be, and so too is “opposites attract.”

      So, even though you call nobody your master, the question is not whether or not to agree or disagree, the question is “Even though you call nobody your master, whom are you serving?” That’s why I mentioned outcomes. There are always outcomes.

      One purpose behind today’s post is to challenge humans to ask whether or not they are serving a master that they do not even recognize as such.

      PS> Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog.

  3. Sally G says:

    Fair enough; I would say that the roles I find most important are community activist and family member; in both, I serve mutual interests of either society or family and myself. I guess the “call” word is a bit “traditionally religious” for me to get really behind it, but I think you are in part suggesting a chosen, accepted happy path rather than one of obligation to outsiders who might not have one’s best interests at heart, and certainly that is something that works for me.
    Thanks for the quick response!

    • Indeed, you hit the nail on the head. And to trust the one who is calling, humans generally require not only that the other has their best interest at heart, but also that they are competent. That’s why the traditional characteristics for any god-like figure are omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. It all comes back around to a bigger discussion about not knowing the future, but at least knowing that there IS a future. Woof!!!

  4. Bongo says:

    I think this is my favorite of your posts so far. Good explanation of the difference between being driven and called.

  5. Pingback: Past Due Notice: The 28th Amendment, Reversing Citizens United | ada.mae.compton

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