"In the movie Awakenings, there is a scene in which an elderly woman sits motionless, confined to a wheelchair because of childhood encephalitis. The Oliver Sacks character in the movie, played by Robin Williams, fails to get any response from this woman through conversation or standard stimuli until he accidentally drops an object into her lap. She immediately reaches out to catch it. Sacks pauses to consider what has happened. He then steps back and tosses a tennis ball, with the same result: a precise catch by a woman who heretofore has been silent and immobile. When pressed by his supervising clinician as to how and why this woman can dexterously catch a tossed ball, Sacks replies that she has borrowed the "will" of the ball.
I have seen the movie again and it is this particular phrase that has stuck with me. We all borrow will: from our parents as we grow up, from coaches or mentors, even from stars and famous personages with whom we connect in less immediate ways. It is our will that is the substance of our life. When we lose it, we are on a path to a kind of death, since will is the soil from which hope arises."
Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce. A Declaration of Sustainability. (Chapter "The opportunity of insignificance").