Great Thoughts on Success

Like the stereotypical “first impression”, when an idea pops on in your mind, and you act on it, it will drive you through to success if you take time to identify why the idea came up in the first place. If you identify it as passion, then you have a chance to not only launch your idea to make it real, but you also have an opportunity to be successful with it.

Passion, as American Oxford Dictionary defines it, “strong and barely controllable emotion”, hit me like a sack of potatoes while reading the morning newspaper. A favorite columnist of mine wrote about the Sand Creek Massacre that occurred in the Colorado territory on November 29, 1864. I was stunned about what took place that grim day. It triggered an idea about making a film about the story.

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Live Happier with Positive Thoughts

It is at this passionate point where you must nail down the passion associated with the idea, or everything you do with it will fall flat and you will fail with the idea. Many act on ideas without being aware of this. Emotion is that powerful.

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Thoughts on Daily Activities

As soon as I realized how awful the Sand Creek Massacre was, and that Caucasians were responsible for the killings, the rapes, the mutilations, the burning of bodies of elders, children, and women (the warriors were out on a hunting party), my brain and heart were ignited to do something about it. It became vital to me that I made sure that others were made aware of racism in America in the 19th century by using the Sand Creek Massacre as an example of what hatred can do to the human mind.

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Overcome Negative Thoughts

The first test regarding my passion to accomplish this was to get permission from the Cheyenne and Arapaho people to make a film about the Sand Creek Massacre. They don’t like Caucasian people making films about them. They believe by doing so it perpetuates the exploitation of their people they have been experiencing since they left Minnesota early in the 19th century. I didn’t know that. How was I going to make this film if they didn’t trust me for wanting to make the film to benefit them? Then, my passion for this project kicked in. I was determined to make this film because I knew it would be beneficial to everyone regardless of what they thought about me.

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I figured, “Okay, I have to build respect with them.” I spent the length of the project doing that. Certain people told me that there was only one way to get their approval to make this film. I had to go through channels so that I could appear before each tribal council and tell them what I was doing.

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Each activity that I did was like trying to push a car uphill. The pain and agony of the American Indian is sad and it is compelling. Their hate for Caucasians is white-hot. They pounded on me with searing words of hate. But my passion drove me past it. I finally got through to one of the Cheyenne chiefs. He recognized my passion for doing the project. I recognized his passion for getting his tribe on equal footing with Caucasians so that Caucasians would show the proper respect to his people. That convinced the tribes to support the making of the film, and things took off from there.

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Without my passion for informing, educating and creating awareness for racism in America, it would have been impossible for me to produce the film, to win 3 best film, film festival awards, to be awarded the Golden Drover Award for Best Native American Film, for getting the film cataloged in the Smithsonian Institute Libraries, for getting it archived in 42 Tribal College Libraries, museums and libraries throughout the country including the University of California at Berkley, and for getting distribution for it by the largest educational video distributor in the world, Films Media Group.

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By identifying the passion for your idea when the idea pops into your mind, it will drive you through all of the challenges to succeed at what you set out to do with your idea.

By Don Vasicek

Don studied producing, directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay, Inc. Don’s documentary film, “The Sand Creek Massacre” won best film at three film festivals.

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