In an ideal world, we’d all love our jobs. When we can work with enthusiasm, doing something we truly like, it fires our creativity, our energy and our stamina. It also spills over into our personal life in positive ways. We can accomplish great things.
Jack Haskel, trail information specialist for the Pacific Crest Trail Association – a guy who loves his job – talked to Well.org recently about a man who followed his passions and became an American icon, John Muir. Muir founded the Sierra Club, the American environmental movement and was personal hiking buddy to President Teddy Roosevelt. The stretch of trail that began what would eventually become the Pacific Crest Trail is named after him. And it’s also likely there would be no National Park system without him. That’s following your passions.
“If anything, he was just a fan of natural places and getting out and walking and protecting places, so the spirit can soar,” Haskel says. “He just wrote a lot and promoted the Sierra, promoted Alaska, introduced our open spaces to the country out east. It’s the greatest thing in my mind about the United States that we have so much protected nature. We’re definitely walking his legacy.”
Haskel says Muir’s passion made a convincing argument. He says Muir was able to convey in his writings and work with President Roosevelt that “Yes, it’s public land and there is other uses for it and some of those are emotional, wonderful things that happen when people get out and are involved in play and travel out in the backcountry.” Haskel is also careful to remind people that Muir was one of the first advocates for wilderness and “to make the argument that something besides drilling, mining and logging might be a good idea on public lands. He lost some of the battles, too.” Haskel says, “Hetch Hetchy, one of the great valleys of the Sierra Nevada just like Yosemite Valley. John Muir wanted to protect that. But they’ve set a dam across that valley and it’s flooded.”
Nevertheless, Muir’s legacy is large and his message is one Haskel loves to pass on when doing his own job. “It’s a good example of the power of one person to inspire a lot of people.”