So(ul) Good They Can’t Ignore You

May 8, 2021 by Ishaan Koratkar

Pixar’s Soul is a movie about a world where a man’s life is just about to turn around for the better, but then he dies. Upon reaching the afterlife, he refuses to die and jumps off the conveyor belt where his soul is being directed towards an unknown beyond. His soul lands in the Great Before, where souls become ready to go to Earth. In this land-before-life, people are given personalities that fill out a things on a pass that allows them to be people. The last thing they fill out is the “spark pass” which for most of the movie we are told is a soul’s passion and calling that they will find out and do in life.

At the end of the movie, a manager of the Great Before tells the man that the “spark” that people have is not a passion souls need to find, but their reason to live. This part of the movie excels because it breaks the myth of a “calling” or “passion” that we have to find in our life. It shifts the viewer back to the natural idea of “craftsmanship mindset” where life isn’t about finding a magic calling. The point of life is rather for one to become “so good they can’t be ignored”

The phrase “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” is also the title of a book by Cal Newport[1], who put this idea of a craftman’s approach brilliantly down on ink. The book also makes the case that passion increases with skill and those who are truly skilled at what they do feel purpose in their life. There is not a repeatable path to skill, but the principals and ideas that one adheres to are what build the best in the world.

Soul is the prime example of this concept, from the skill went into the animation, to the love that went into the masterpiece that is it’s musical score. Anything can be an art form that someone practices relentlessly to master, including life itself.

  1. The phrase itself originates from an interview with Steve Martin, and the words were his response to advice for young comics. ↩︎

2021/05/08 by Ishaan Koratkar