Happy Sunday Everyone!
There are so many great parts to the book The War of Art gifted to us by our coaches Ray and Jessica Higdon, that I love to share them with you all.
We’re all pros already.
All of us are pros in one area: our jobs.
We get a paycheck. We work for money. We are professionals.
Now: Are there principles we can take from what we’re already successfully doing in our workday life and apply to our artistic aspirations? What exactly are the qualities that define us as professionals?
- We show up everyday. We might do it only because we have to, to keep from getting fired. But we do it.
- We show up no matter what. In sickness and in health, come hell or high water, we stagger into the factory. We might do it only so as not to let down our co-workers, or for other, less noble reasons. But we do it.
- We stay on the job all day. Our minds may wander, but our bodies remain at the wheel. We pick up the phone when it rings, we assist the customer when he seeks our help. We don’t go home till the whistle blows.
- We are committed over the long haul. Next year we may go to another job, another company, another country. But we’ll still be working. Until we hit the lottery, we are part of the labor force.
- The stakes for us are high and real. This is about survival, feeding our families, educating our children. It’s about eating.
- We accept remuneration for our labor. We’re not here for fun. We work for money.
- We do not over identify with our jobs. We may take pride in our work, we may stay late and come in on weekends, but we recognize that we are not our job descriptions. The amateur, on the other hand, overidentifies with his avocation, his artistic aspirations. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright. Resistance loves this. Resistance knows the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and overterrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.
- We master the technique of our jobs.
- We have a sense of humor about our jobs.
- We receive praise or blame in the real world.
Now consider the amateur: the aspiring painter, the wannabe playwright . How does he pursue his calling?
One, he doesn’t show up everyday. Two, he doesn’t show up no matter what. Three, he doesn’t stay on the job all day. He’s not committed over the long haul; the stakes for him are illusory and fake. He does not get money.
And he overidentifies with his art. He does not have a sense of humor about failure. You don’t hear him bitching, “This damn trilogy is killing me!” Instead, he doesn’t write his trilogy at all.
The amateur has not mastered the technique of his art. Nor does he expose himself to judgement in the real world. If we show our poem to our friend and our friend says, “It’s wonderful, I love it,” that’s not real-world feedback, that’s our friend being nice to us. Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it’s for failure.
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