You know it well, yearn for it, are driven by it. You even smile when you hear its name. You’ve chased it, occasionally found yourself in its flow.
Perhaps you’re a writer stuck at a strange juncture, or an artist on the border of showing your work. Whatever your passion, this thing you’re working on illuminates your world, matters more than almost any other thing.
When you got stuck and it seemed to leave your grasp, what did you do? Wait for its return, give up, walk away?
Eddie ‘The Eagle’, English ski jumper, was driven by a persistent voice when he decided to put himself forward for the Winter Olympics in Calgary.
‘Go,’ said the voice, ‘It’s what you must do’.
Eddie was a novice, a non-sporty child who had only recently gained full use of his legs. But the voice did not let up and neither did Eddie. He trained alone, travelled far, supported himself with other work, ignored the advice of detractors. Eddie kept his eye on the ball.
The film about his life makes much of Eddie’s outsider status. Socially, he drinks milk. Eddie has none of the fancy gear, nor the cultural confidence of his nordic counterparts. His ski-jumping coach has a questionable attitude.
But what Eddie possesses is tons of grit. He persists because he is absolutely in love with the sport. We see it in his eyes as he watches his rivals’ skill on the television. We sense it in the resolve behind his decision to leave England to train.
To have passion for something is wonderful, but to pursue that passion undaunted by setbacks can bring great beauty into the world.
The film ends with these words:
‘May the real work begin.’
The Real work. Passion’s tireless companion. May all people working creatively find a way to marry the two. The passion and the grit. May we learn to fly like Eddie.
This post was in part inspired by the work of my blogger-friend David J. Rogers who writes for artists and writers about the psychological skills required for success.