Who/what has inspired you to have more passion and better work ethic?
November 5, 2011 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for inspirational stories of people with a vision they're passionate about, and the work ethic to accomplish what they set out to. Tales that make you come away thinking "Yes, that is how I want to be living my life" and charge you up for the work you're doing. They don't have to be people you'd generally admire or seek to emulate - whatever their goals, it's that spark/drive/dedication/grit I'm most interested in.

Here is a fantastic magazine article on Kanye West's "Rap Camp" in Hawaii where he buried himself away with talented collaborators working all hours to record his last album. (page links broken, so here: 2, 3, 4)

Recently obits for Steve Jobs have highlighted his focus, vision, passion and drive to create what he set out to, in spite of the challenges and risk involved.

Wendy Leigh's biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger paints a vivid picture of his self-discipline and ambition, his willingness to put in the hard work to achieve what he decided to.

I'm looking for more stories like this, ideally about musicians or entrepreneurs, capturing inspirational levels of passion, work ethic and drive.
posted by ChristopherS to Work & Money (10 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Watch Bill Cunningham: New York.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:55 PM on November 5, 2011

Dumbo Feather sounds like it fits the bill. Interviews with inspirational people with radical ideas.
posted by robotot at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2011

I found Gary Wolf's Wired profiles of Craig Newmark and Piotr Wozniak to be very inspirational, partly because it portrays them both as aiming for a very personal, non-standard kind of success, and sacrificing a lot of more conventional success to get there.
posted by pete_22 at 3:25 PM on November 5, 2011

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control is a documentary by Errol Morris about a lion tamer, a topiary gardener and a couple other fellows. I haven't seen it but Roger Ebert put it on his 10 Best List for the year it came out.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:32 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Previously
posted by argonauta at 3:41 PM on November 5, 2011

Look at these paintings by Chuck Close. More. Some more.

Now listen to his description of his personality and how he has chosen to work, from an interview with Terry Gross (although he has said similar things in many other venues):
I'm a nervous wreck. I'm a slob. I have no patience. And I'm rather lazy. All those things would seem to guarantee that I would not make work like I make. But I didn't want to just go with my nature. ...

What I found that one of the nice things [about] working incrementally is that I don't have to reinvent the wheel every single day. Today I did what I did. You can pick it up and put it down. I don't have to wait for inspiration. There are no good days or bad days. Every day essentially builds positively on what I did the day before. ... Given my nature, I believe it was very good for me to be able to add to what I already had and slowly construct the final image out of these little building blocks. ...

My paintings are built incrementally, one unit at a time, in a way that's not all that different than the way, say, a writer would work. ... Because I work incrementally, I push little pieces of paint up against one another. .... And I slowly build these paintings, construct them, in the way someone might crochet or knit.

If you believe in the process and you knit one, purl two long enough, eventually you get a sweater.
(Summary quote from 43 Folders).

Watch him at work. (As you may already know, he ended up in a wheelchair after a collapsed spinal artery, leading to a significant change in how he painted, and he has been faceblind all his life.)
posted by maudlin at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]

Read Bill Bradley's A Sense of Where You Are
posted by mozhet at 5:50 PM on November 5, 2011

Nancy Duarte is passionate about presentations. Which is a really dorky and accessible thing (at least from my perspective) to be passionate about. But her passion makes me a believer in the power of telling people about stuff.
posted by jeoc at 6:58 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm spotty on the details, but I think Buckminster Fuller's life story may fit the bill. He notably embarked on "an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity." If you find a good biography about him then let me know.
posted by quadog at 12:51 AM on November 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the great suggestions, I'm looking forward to digging into all these!
posted by ChristopherS at 1:29 AM on November 7, 2011

« Older Mitigating nutritional impacts of long term PPI...   |   It's a roof, not a raccoon pantry -- help! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.