It took the urban dictionary to sum up the true definition of passion. It says:
“Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialised into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible.”
Passion was the theme of last week. I spent most of mine with David Blaine. There are many adjectives that sum up David and passion is certainly one of them. This is a man who is wholly dedicated to his craft. There have been many impostors along the way, and yet Blaine does not let any of them derail his vision. Ultimately he knows others will not venture beyond his extremes.
David Blaine was only four years old when a magician on the New York subway sparked his passion. His lifetime since has been spent honing his craft. That he is an innovator is undisputed. His magic operates on an uncommonly personal level. He took an age old skill and turned it into something unique. He started on the street which meant understanding enchantment and personalisation was vital above all. He leaves everyone in his wake in awe. Above all it is impossible not to be infected by his passion, the way he talks, his knowledge and unprecedented commitment.
Business has a lot to learn from this. It’s clear that the answer to his success centers around discipline, focus, long-term thinking, and a willingness to flout the rules that govern everybody else. It’s an approach that’s difficult to discern and tougher to imitate. It requires an ability to
tune out the wags, competitors, industry observers and journalists who constantly spew torrents of advice, hurrahs, and brickbats in all directions. This level of focus keeps the headlines big and the aura powerful and persuasive.
Once David Blaine decided that magic was to be his life, though surrounded by a cacophony of noise, distraction, advisors and ‘me too’ practicioners, he played by his own rules, never losing focus or shifting from the path he decided on at four years old, so he’s been liberated to devote years to attaining his enviable position, training consistently, learning constantly and challenging himself again and again to achieve levels beyond the niche.
“As a magician I like to create images that make people stop and think,” says Blaine. As businesses we must also hone our imagination and ability to create wonderment and ultimately change points of view and move boundraies. We must keep focused and curious and learn what it is that will create enchantment. Imagination is that uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the basis of all invention and innovation. Blaine sums it up:
“In truth, the only restrictions on our capacity to astonish ourselves and each other are imposed by our own minds.”