Published May 13, 2023, 7:20 p.m. by Courtney
artists are never happy because they are constantly striving for perfection. They are always looking for new ways to improve their art and themselves. This can be a never-ending cycle that can lead to frustration and unhappiness. However, it is also what makes them great artists. They are always pushing themselves to be better and to create art that is meaningful and beautiful.
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We've all heard of the writer,
whose ideas are flowing so quickly
their hands can't keep up,
the story is basically writing itself;
or the film director who has a conversation
with an actor
and something just clicks,
and it brings out
the most incredible performance
that electrifies the whole set.
I haven't experienced many of those magical moments,
and I used to think that's cause I'm not creative enough,
and that I need to find inspiration,
whatever that actually means,
but then I thought about it a bit more
that all of these moments
of creative magic
seemed to have one thing
The director for example,
it's only natural to wonder
said to the actor
that sparked such a brilliant performance.
that in order for the conversation
the director first had to decide
that the last take wasn't good enough,
and the writer,
we might wonder
what gave them
such a free flow of inspiration
to be able to
write so fluently.
But we don't talk about
how after they'd passionately dumped
all their ideas on the page,
they then decided to re-write the story
So, here's the theory,
before and after
every great idea
someone's got to say,
"that's still not good enough."
And maybe I'm a pessimist,
but I think that
is what drives creativity,
not these magical moments
of gleeful inspiration.
What we're essentially dealing with
is modified perfectionism,
i.e., the refusal to accept
almost anything short of near
and that's not an easy way to live -
it makes it painful to look at our own work
and more likely to be emotionally affected
when it does go wrong.
We can get stuck, rejecting all our ideas
before giving them a real chance.
We can easily obsess over almost perfecting
one small detail when we should be looking at the overall project.
Because we see those flaws so clearly
it makes it hard to put our work out there,
hard to stick to deadlines, hard to keep a work/life balance. We may never truly accept
compliments about our work
because we're too busy agreeing with our critics.
And so actually wouldn't it actually be nicer to avoid all that
and just be content with our current work
We could chose the jobs that we know we can handle
never going for one which we feel under prepared or under qualified for.
We could do the bear minimum of work
rather than spending our own time and money
going the extra mile for the project
and we could tailor our work to what has been succesful in the past
rather than putting ourselves out there with something risky.
Now I have done all of that
and sure it easier.
But the path is smooth and flat
it leaves you kind of numb.
Whereas the alternative is to say
that's still not good enough
and take the path
full of risks and fear
doubt and exhaustion
instability and stress
and yes, it brings you plenty of those low points
but with it the thrill of the highs.
Its like we know that the stories we're writing
so why are we so scared of it in our actual lives?
Now I'm not sure what to call this
maybe I hate my work syndrome
or constructive pessimism.
Yeah, that's better.
Where we are quick to find the flaws
but then we make use of them.
Here's are real world example,
this room is a mess
it has been for a while
and it will continue to be.
Now I could tell my self, that's because I'm not good a cleaning
or that I don't have time.
But that's not really true
the reason I won't clear up is because I am content
with the mess
and contentment is the enemy of progress.
But that doesn't meant that discontentment
The other day I went rock climbing
and was not content with my abilities
I could easily tell that I was not doing well
I had that feeling
of "this isn't good enough."
But instead of using that as fuel to keep me going,
I just gave up
and thought, you know what, climbing isn't for me.
And that's the trap so many of us fall into.
Now I don't mind if that happens
to be honest
but when I'm writing a script
or giving feedback to a collaborator
or searching for a filming location.
I want to see the flaws
rather than quickly going
yeah, that'll do
But most importantly, I need to remember
that all of this discontentment,
all of this self doubt,
doesn't mean that we should quit
it mean that we are actually onto something.
Because the people who feel the sting of their own inadequacies
and then keep working at it,
they are the one who finally find the magic.
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