Comments from yesterday’s post regarding the X-Factor of reinvention generated some buzz. The analogy of checking a book out from the library as a cautionary note about the difficulty of change generated some humor, apparently. A redux is in order.
I am currently in the throws of revisions on a novel. I was working on a chapter and scene yesterday involving a historical character, Ben Hogan. The book is not about golf. Golf courses and steeple chases in North Carolina provide a larger context for the story. Hogan is reputed to have told a reporter about his practice and development technique in this fashion: “You have to dig it out of the ground.” Hogan is perhaps foreshadowing the 10,000 hours to mastery theory of today. Digging has never been fun for me!
There is no substitute for the grunt work of repetition necessary for retraining the mind and body. You can’t take a pill, watch a DVD, make a resolution, or check out a new book. As a professor said to me many years ago, “The seat of the pants must make contact with the seat of the chair.”
That having been said, the mystery of passion is still unsolved. Where does it originate? What is it? Do some of us not have it at all, and others in degrees? One reader yesterday suggested that passion was like the tide, ebbing and flowing, and only the discipline of work could carry us from the lowest of tides to the tidal magic of a creative high.
Passion, it seems to me, precedes its object. Something creates action. For example, one might have a passion for gardening and the production of flowering beauty. Flowering beauty, however, may not be the motivating energy. The primary source energy may just be the need for a hands on engagement with a living earth, manipulating it to produce flowering beauty.
My mother’s uncle was a greenhouse man. He grew flowers for wholesale distribution. I remember as a youngster visiting the greenhouses and being enchanted by the smell and feel of the earth in the greenhouses. The earth he created was different from the earth I normally experienced. Watching him run his hands through the earth as he explained the process was part mystery part mystical for me – until now.
His passion ended with the flowers, but began with the earth! The object of our passion may well be distinctly different from its source.
How do we find it? This passion. This energy or drive?
I can only tell you what seems to have worked for me… Today! That’s right, today. Friday in my fitness regimen is a swimming day. I swim a mile. Wednesday is also a swimming day and this past Wednesday presented me with a serious wall- I felt that I could go no further with only twenty laps to go. I made it but I labored terribly and suffered most of the day. I questioned my own ability and desire, resulting in the post X-Factor.
My swim this morning began much like Wednesday’s swim with only ten laps completed, I was fatigued already, approaching that wall again. In the back of my mind comments about the post were tumbling about, incubating, simmering, or simply bouncing about. Somewhere shortly after my tenth lap the focus of today’s post magically appeared and before I knew it, I was into lap forty! The discovery of a purpose or idea energized my body. My swimming became stronger and the ideas grew in size and depth. I began making connections to my current novel, and applications beyond the novel began to take shape. Voila! I finished the swim with one powerful closing lap- sprinted rather than limped!
The power of the idea motivated the body providing the energy for the grunt work necessary for reinvention. For me, the idea is a purpose and if I have a purpose I am energized and productive! A life worth living is profound.
Another cautionary note must be sounded, and this note relates to scale. We read about people reinventing their live and creating mega-industries from their home-made cookies. Be careful also where the mantra “do what you love and love what you do.” Sometimes reinvention might involve doing a job that allows you to realize a passion. Reinvention and wealth are not necessarily synonymous. What you do may be the means to the end result of finding purpose in this world.
That’s not all, folks! Remember the post about where the body goes the mind will follow? There is a partnership that is essential and must be given its due. The physically fit body capable of ‘digging the game out of the ground’ creates discoveries that further drive or give passion to your objectives. It’s a circle, albeit a vicious one! Walking out of the fitness center today, I felt a little taller. I probably was!
Posture was more erect. Allowing myself to slump accentuates the process of aging wherein the weight of our bodies falls more significantly on a weary skeletal system. But, if we remain erect and activate our core muscles more fully we distribute the work load of carriage and energize our body, and thereby free the mind for thinking and reinventing!