“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Whenever I get a moment to stop and think about life, I am often amazed at what can be accomplished. I have had to compromise and sacrifice in life, and when it can be saddening at times, it often presents with other potential avenues that weren’t so clear when I set out to achieve something. For example, I have wanted to travel and take more trips to see things, and while I could get discouraged by not getting to all the places on my list, I like to think about what I have seen so far and where I have been, and that takes the sting out a bit. I think the biggest part is not getting discouraged when it doesn’t go according to plan (or how we planned it and not how the universe may see it heh).
During my reading of this blog (over again), I noticed that there are many things I have done – scary things, brave things, stupid things, etc. – and I am proud. I HAVE become a much better artist, but not the same kind of artist, I thought I would be from high school and even how I imagined when I picked up that Nikon point and shoot, for starters. See? Not how I “planned” it, but I certainly broke through that wall and am constantly moving forward with it.
So, when I think about things like travel, it isn’t “Oh shit, I haven’t done anything I said I was going to do (Wuh-waaaaahhhhh, poor me)”, it is more like, “I haven’t made it to those places “yet”!
In the words of the wonderful, Maya Angelou, she says, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” I try to think of those defeats as setbacks. It allows me to clearly focus on my dreams, but not get so steadfast in the linear path to get there.
Now, on to something else that I think helps with perseverance and that is passion. How do I define my passion, well, that is pretty simple. I define my passion as my drive to do things. When I wake up in the morning and can only think about creating art in some form – whether a retouch, composite, a conceptual photo shoot, or whatever – and needing to do it more than focusing on other things, then I consider it something I am passionate about. I also feel that if you have a true passion in life, you will stick with it, make time for it, and it will not feel like work. What this also means to me is keeping it balanced. Burnout can occur with nearly everything you are passionate about if you are forcing it. That is why it is good to have a passion that is diverse or be passionate about many aspects of a genre like art, for example.
The one thing I cannot stand, because I believe it is a twatty excuse for an excuse, is when I hear people speak out of both sides of their mouth about what they claim to be passionate about. You cannot say you have a passion and drive to be an artist and then also say you do not have the time and patience to learn or get better in the skills needed to evolve. That would be like saying I have a passion to cook a four course meal and quit after the salad was prepared because you were “too tired and lack patience” to learn to cook the rack of lamb. To me, it is just bullshit excuses to pass blame onto animate or inanimate things because YOU are the one holding yourself back in that mentality. Believe me, I have listened to that inner demon before and sadly, if you believe it, you are just diluting yourself into mediocrity.
The other piece to that is blaming others for shit you don’t do. Honestly, the onus is on you or me alone and that is it. It was said best here:
“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.” – J. Michael Straczynski
Basically, if you have a passion for something, stop wasting all that energy being tired and giving yourself excuses for lacking patience with it and just make time for it, whatever it is. Whether it is rowing, art, traveling, making origami creatures, or even scrapbooking – just freakin’ get into it and do it!!!
So, the moral for today is be openly and freely passionate about something, don’t get discouraged by setbacks and minor defeats – they are part of life – just be sure to not fall in shitty excuses land and continue to learn and evolve that passion. Let that be the candle that lights the path to the destination; don’t think you have to hold the road map to get there.
And, I leave you with this quote for today:
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman