When I was about 12 years old I joined the scouts.
We were not an especially driven scout troop, or at least we rarely had the chance to go on camping trips together. But, we were tremendously tight as a group of people.
One year we entered a regional hiking competition. This was the first time we had done anything like this and certainly did not have the opportunity to practise. The older members were put in charge of map reading (we had to orienteer, too. Fancy!) whilst the rest of us just had to make sure we kept up.
Other teams had hiked before. Not only hiked but won before. We were newcomers and nobody, not even ourselves, thought we would win. But we wanted it. We wanted it so badly.
As we made our way around the course (18 miles) we got lost a few times, we struggled regularly and there were moments I was not sure I could keep going at the pace of everybody around me. But we helped each other out and just kept saying, it will be worth it to know that we didn't stop.
Every half an hour or so we would pass a team sat down, having sandwiches and a leisurely break. We had sandwiches too but decided to eat them as we walked.
When we got to the end, nobody was around. We were naturally worried that we were the last to finish.
Imagine our surprise to discover that we had won, and had won by about 45 minutes!
We were not necessarily the best hikers around. We were certainly not the most experienced and if there is a talent for hiking I couldn't say we had that either.
But when it came to it, when the going got tough... we didn't stop for sandwiches. We just kept on going, knowing that each and every step was going to take us to the best damn hike we could have done.
Now I am not for a second endorsing starvation as a means for success ;-) Nor that resting and taking breaks to re-charge and reflect are not a vital part of keeping strong. Think of this as a metaphorical tale.
There are lots of people who ‘want it’, lots of people who are good at it but not everybody makes it.
Sometimes we are taught that talent is a given for success. But not all talented people are successful. What sets people apart are a great many things but I doubt there is any greater factor in success than drive, obsession and determination.
It's the difference between making it a ‘must’ or a ‘should’. There are lots of things we should do but we only take charge and make them happen when we decide that we MUST.
In fact the word ‘decision’ originally meant ‘to cut off from’ – as in to cut yourself off from all other choices. Deciding is a permanent thing rather than a consideration.
Nobody owes us a favour and independent filmmaking is a fiercely competitive industry. You probably will not get it right first time, there will be ups and downs but the key is to keep moving in the right direction and to ensure you do not, metaphorically speaking, stop.
When we lose momentum, we lose the thread.
The key to making 'Mouse' happen is that through all of the great moments when it seems like it will all work out beautifully, and all of the tougher times when I worry I might not be successful, I ensure that I keep putting one foot in front of another and keep pushing towards the goal.
As Winston Churchill said;
‘Success is about going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm’.