Passion Pulls

by Keith Savage · 16 comments

Climbing Craigendarroch Hill in Ballater, Scotland

I blurted it out, the words giving shape to a thought my mind hadn’t even consciously registered.

“Passion pulls.”

Gavin and Rene nodded in enthusiastic agreement. They might have even stopped eating and vocalized assent. The three of us were in the midst of a sumptuous lunch at the Knockomie Hotel just outside Forres in Moray, Scotland, and we’d been discussing success in tourism and business. Gavin owned the hotel and Rene was my rockstar guide through Moray on behalf of MoraySpeyside Tourism.

Oh I know, I’m so clever. The endorphins shriveled as I realized I hadn’t said anything particularly ground breaking, but a warm glow remained. I’d perfectly summed up the force behind my career-breaking and career-building Traveling Savage venture. Or rather, the lack of it.


It’s a slippery feeling when you sit down and try to draw a box around it. It’s related to happiness, but is it the mother or just a too-close cousin? We can’t even talk about it cogently or consistently – discussions on the topic seem to dissolve into sharp gestures, verbal ticks, and mumblings about “being happy.” There’s usually a frustrated sigh in there somewhere too.

This post may not be particularly cogent, either; I am, after all, writing this in an airport hotel restaurant the night before I fly back to the States from Scotland. But the five weeks I’ve spent in Scotland on this trip have made one thing abundantly clear: when you pursue your heart’s desire and pour your soul’s flame into that pursuit, there is every likelihood that you will be successful.

Passion pulls. I am irresistibly drawn to people doing passionate work. These folks are vibrant, radiant, dynamic. Their works are infused with love, the details picked out and the edges gilded, the crocheted afghans of grandmas. Assigned work, another’s passion, rarely glows.

Passion pulls because we want to be all of these things. We want to produce works lovingly crafted. It’s as if some mystic osmosis might occur if we surround ourselves with the passionate produce of others.

It can. It does.

Passion is contagious, and if you’re already following your passion then like-minded others handily serve to reaffirm your course. The sheer number of people I’ve met in Scotland on this trip doing just this – taking risks, shooting at stars, revealing their hearts to the world – was far beyond coincidence. They were B&B owners, fellow travelers and bloggers, people made “redundant.”

I was pulled and inspired. They will be successful because we want to be passionate. We have to take risks to try to follow what feels right. It might mean making less money, it might mean making no money (ahem), it might mean downgrading, selling, going second hand.

Cling to the passionate. Pull in the passionot. The world needs passionate people doing passionate work. Isn’t it what we all crave?

Peggy McPartlandNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Inspiring, Keith. I particularly like the idea of pulling in the passionnot. It’s so much easier to cling to the passionate with that out of the way!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Pulling in those who aren’t passionate about something was never even on my radar before I started down the Traveling Savage path. It’s something I’m finding to be rewarding.

AnnaNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Great post. I completely agree with you, and I really like the phrase “passion pulls”. We should all be striving to follow our passions. Life is too short not to!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Exactly. As I said in this post, the premise isn’t revolutionary. It’s just one of those things to reaffirm with yourself on a periodic basis.

JoAnnaNo Gravatar May 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Beautiful piece! I agree ~ sometimes you can’t fight the urge!

KatherineNo Gravatar May 31, 2011 at 8:03 AM

Oh, and also I agree with Odysseus Drifts. There’s only one success; to be able to spend your life in your own way.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Guess you’re enjoying success then? 🙂

KatherineNo Gravatar May 31, 2011 at 8:00 AM

I suppose this is only peripherally related to this blog post, but I thought you might appreciate it nonetheless:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
Martha Graham

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I love this quote, totally nailed the mindset of the artist. “No artist is pleased.” Thanks for sharing this!

Colleen SetchellNo Gravatar May 31, 2011 at 4:21 AM

Great writing! So inspirational… But it made me smile warmly and felt myself nodding all the way down while I was reading. I am passionate about what I do and yes, that is what makes people want to find out what I am up to next. The past few years it has just been the odd trip here and there but I have recently resigned my stressful corporate job and am going to travel around the world!!!!! I want people to understand that life is truly short and you have to grab the ”NOW’… Life can be so exciting if we only let it…
Good luck with the travels and writing…

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 9:16 AM

Thanks Colleen, good luck to you too!

Odysseus DriftsNo Gravatar May 31, 2011 at 4:05 AM

I think you’re right. Following your passion does lead to success, though success doesn’t necessarily equate with money — more like success in loving your life.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 9:15 AM

I agree with you, though without some financially sustaining element you may not be able to keep following your passion.

Michelle BloreNo Gravatar May 31, 2011 at 1:59 AM

When you’re truly passionate about what you do, you convey something special about it to others that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. The subject matter is irrelevant, what’s more important is the force of emotional commitment and involvement that enables people to move mountains in pursuit of their goal; it’s inspiring and empowering for them and for all those around them. In the face of passion, money is without power or meaning.

KenNo Gravatar May 30, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Stay passionate, lad. Beautiful shot of Glen Coe, and I well remember the wonderful view of Glen Garry from the pull-out where the piper played on that day in 2009. Magnificent.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM

We stopped at Glen Garry again on our south to Glasgow just this past Monday. It wasn’t quite the same view, but it was still gorgeous.

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