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Inflammable Enthusiasm

I read a fantastic book recently called “The Boys in the Boat.”

I read a fantastic book recently called “The Boys in the Boat.” It was a period piece that took place during the Great Depression. It was about an eclectic group of boys from the upper Northwest United States who remarkably found a way to land spots on the eight-man rowing team at the University of Washington. These eight boys went on to defy the odds, winning Olympic Gold in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. 

As a part of the story, there was this British boat builder who had relocated to Washington State and ultimately built their boat. His name was George Pocock. George and his brother were descendants of legendary crew boat-builders George and Dick Pocock. To say they were passionate about their trade would be an understatement. The meticulous detail it took to build these 62-foot shells was a combination of rare skills and what author Daniel James Brown referred to as, Inflammable Enthusiasm. 

So, what is Inflammable Enthusiasm? It’s a purposeful inner burning that is hyper focused and emboldened toward a higher set of goals. While a great rarity, the greatest achievements of humankind would never have happened without inflammable enthusiasm. And it may not be the originator of the idea that has this fire within, but instead someone who happened to cross paths with the originator.

This very thing happened to me whenever I decided to join a startup in the software services space. As the story goes, the owner had his company for years and barely moved the needle financially, and here I was working for companies where I felt overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Then one day he and I had an unanticipated conversation with this owner where he offered me an opportunity to help pull his company out of its perpetual spin cycle of mediocrity. Sure, it was a risk, but together he and I conjoined, sparking something greater than either of us had experienced up to that point, Inflammable Enthusiasm. The rest is history. 

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