I love beautiful things and to me, some of the most beautiful are the most simple. It is sometimes the simplicity that leaves us saying “I could do that!” Trouble is, we rarely do it.
“Doing” your art – whatever that may be – requires the act of imagining coupled with the act of creating. It requires courage and tenacity to push through even when others (and sometimes even the artist) don’t know where it is all heading. It requires guts, passion, perseverance and most importantly, believing that you have something to say and your voice matters. One of Steve Jobs’ better lines was this exhortation to Apple employees: “Make a dent in the universe.” Seth Godin followed that question up with a hint for those left wondering what such a dent might look like:
Hint: lots of random pokes in many different spots are unlikely to leave much of an impact. And hiding out is surely not going to work at all.
Is this easy? Of course not! But in the same way creativity is like pornography, bravery is an antidote – and eventually a cure – for fear. The more you do it, the more you will want to do it. The feedback you get from those you share your art with will help you shape your thinking, evoke new ideas, spur your on and fuel your passion. And then, doesn’t everyone win? It might not always be pretty. It might not be “well received”. And it might not win you fans. But if you keep it up, if you keep poking in the same spot, you will make a dent.
One of my students wants to volunteer with a city sports camp for young children that is running once a week for four weeks. She sent an email to the head of Boise City Parks and Rec asking to be considered for this non-existant position of “assistant”. Today she came running into class because someone replied to her email, thanking her for her interest and promising to forward it on to the camp leader. “I was so scared after I sent that email that they wouldn’t write back – I even said a prayer last night I was that worried!”. Worried or not, she shipped it, she put her email out there and she got a response. I don’t know if she will get to be the assistant or not (although she would be awesome so I really hope they give her a shot!) but I am pretty certain she won’t hesitate for as long to put herself out there again. And again. And again.
Like her, you too, can move mountains.
Dedicated to Heather Davis, who has something to say that has not already been said.