“Everything I do is a step on a path to where I end up”. That’s an almost too obvious statement and maybe the reason most know the words but don’t grasp the full meaning. A million course changes, intentional and not, make up the route of this ship of life I ride in. Each happening, choice or splinter of destiny set me in the direction of exactly where I am today.
In retrospect, a lot of time slipped by before the wisdom of forward motion soaked in. Often I thought, “I’ll decide/make a choice/figure it out” tomorrow, next week or after so and so happens. The days came and went with no insight or inspiration arriving. Instead frustration grew.
Some of my best decisions have been rooted in the illogical notion Sir Richard Branson frames as “screw it, let’s do it”. When something feels right, it usually is, even if logic can’t reassure that. My breakthroughs come from making a choice and just getting on with it. Conversely, logic and reason have pushed me into a lot of decisions that in hindsight were mistakes.
More often than not waiting for inspiration has meant letting time expire without much to show for it. Revelation has usually come while I was busy implementing some uninspired choice. Insight has rarely come while sitting still and instead usually shows up while I am busy painting myself into a corner. Need is a rapid and prolific incubator of concepts, ideas and possibilities!
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. Chuck Close
“In doing, I find my way”. That sums up one of the more insightful pieces of wisdom life has taught me. In movement, no matter how uninspired, purpose is found. Sitting motionless in one spot trying to decide is akin to being partially dead. I am grateful to realize living is always in the trying, even if I fail.
The only thing standing
between you and your goal
is the bullshit story
you keep telling yourself
as to why you can’t achieve it.