“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
Regardless of whether we consider ourselves artists, maybe others see us that way because we are able to add that special twist to things that just makes them work. It takes years of practice to learn to separate bedrock from sand.
In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Steven Pressfield addresses directly why doing the work is the only way—because of Resistance. Resistance is what keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do, it blocks our creativity at a time when we need it most. Which is why it's important to approach our work like pros.
Professionals are in the business of making stuff vs. finding stuff. They commit full-time and are resilient over time. They do this despite the “isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation” they may experience.
It took Yourcenar 27 years to write Memoirs of Hadrian and thanks to her we are still learning from an emperor in many languages way passed the publication date. There's no expiration date on history, or friendship when they are forged one brick at a time.
Valuable things still take time to do
Technology has accelerated the speed at which we can talk about stuff. But quality products and results still come from quality thinking, doing —and grit.
Relationships take time to set. Good ideas take time to develop and execute. They are like trees, where a lot is going on underground before we see anything come to fruition.
What grows fast?
- leave unpleasant marks
- are a nuisance — e.g., poison ivy
- compete with tree-ideas for nutrients, light, and water
- harbor pests like insects and diseases
- are hard to get rid of once they take hold
Weed-ideas tend to be very competitive. They spread fast and are generally a problem in areas where tree-ideas are not plentiful or on soil that has been disturbed.
The alternative to weed-ideas is tree-ideas. Which we cannot find on Google.com, but we can grow over time.
[image by Eduardo Amorim]