do you really want to keep calm?

get excited change things

Keep Calm & Carry On

It’s an interesting graphic. And on the outside, it’s a lovely idea. The “keep calm & carry on” meme has become a real centerpiece of indie culture.

And I have a problem with that.

I’m not one to keep calm – and I’m way too interested in the world to just carry on. Keep Calm & Carry On is propaganda:

Back in the spring of 1939, it was an anonymous civil servant who was entrusted with finding the slogan for a propaganda poster intended to comfort and inspire the populace should, heaven forbid, the massed armies of Nazi Germany ever cross the Channel.
The Guardian

Maybe you’re into propaganda. I’m not.

Keeping calm is a good way for the status quo to enslave you. Carrying on is a good way to not reach for your dreams.

Chris Guillebeau says, “I like get excited and change things much better.” Right on, Chris.

If you don’t like the way your life – your society – your economy – your status quo looks, get excited about it. Get inspired. Get angry. Get off your butt and do something about it!

Look, I consider you my friend – cause you’re here reading this crazy blog of mine – and I like to tell my friends exactly how I see it. I don’t really mince words and I rarely let them get away with being less than their best. Side note: is it a wonder that I don’t have many friends? I think you might be settling. I’m not sure with what, of course… but I have a hunch. And that thing you’re settling on, it might very well be because you haven’t given yourself permission to get bothered about it.

So if there’s something you’re settling on right now, why not:

get excited & change things!

For more on “getting excited” check out the Art of Non-Conformity which so graciously brought this idea to the fore.

{letterpress print by flowersandfleurons}

13 thoughts on “do you really want to keep calm?

  1. Sometimes? Absolutely.

    I can see your point, but considering the time this propaganda came about I absolutely think war-time–with the chaos, worry and feeling of helplessness that pervades–is a perfect time to encourage calm. When life is going pear-shaped, the co-worker is on your last nerve or the idiot in traffic is hell-bent and determined to cause an accident it’s important to breathe; calm can balance the frenetic energy around you.

    I’m all for getting excited for the right things, but calm has it’s place, too.

  2. Tara, I could not agree more…keeping calm and carrying on is a potentially dangerous message to give to yourself (or others). Useful in a short term situation where a threat may be imminent and drawing attention to ones self and situation would only bring hardship (such as a looming war and possible invasion!)… but man, if you have to adopt that slogan too many times you should probably wonder what’s wrong, why your’re having to stay ‘clam’ (which infers that you’ve gotten keyed up about something, usually a sign to pay attention) and if you might in fact be hindering growth, advancement and a greater awareness of self through forced passivity…

  3. Sometimes that panic & fear is a sign that something needs to change. To ignore it or suppress it keeps change from happening & stagnation sets in. Interesting article & questions, thanks for always keeping us thinking!

  4. I always had an issue with that saying. Each time I see I cringe and really never stopped to think why. But you nailed it! While being calm is something I do strive for, I really am happiest whenever I get excited and change things! Thanks.

  5. Finally. I’m so damn sick of that Keep Calm poster thing, thank you for articulating what I’ve always felt about it. I want one that says “Be Original and Don’t Buy That Poster” that would be funny, no?

  6. I have to admit, it’s a bit tiring to see all the versions of that phrase and poster… but I do like this version. I think we all have to find a balance between keeping calm and getting excited…resting and doing… we need it all to move forward successfully.

  7. Honestly? I think living by either slogan all the time would be awful. If you always keep calm and carry on, you’ll never accomplish anything, and your life probably be pretty boring. But if you’re ALWAYS getting excited and trying to change things, you’ll run yourself ragged and the quality of what you do will suffer. I think it’s a good idea to alternate between the two. Get excited about something, DO something about it… but once in awhile, remember to give yourself some time to calm down and recharge. Then, once you find another reason to get excited, you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more.

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