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“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” – Walter Elliot


Successful people know the value of 99 failures that come before the 100th successful effort. This week we will discuss perseverance as artists. Specifically, the times that we were successful after many failed attempts… how did we navigate, pivot, strategize, evolve and ultimately learn to succeed. Alternately, what seemingly failed process do we feel we are in the middle of right now?

My Answer:

I feel like every success that I have ever really had has been made up of dozens of micro failures. Maybe not any particular catastrophic failures, but many many learning moments where things didn’t quite go perfectly and I had to learn to adjust or do things differently for the next time. While there are many things that I have “let go of” in the process of learning what works for me, the big lesson has always been to keep moving toward the goal - even if it changes.

Thoughts and Actions:

Perseverance is the opposite of giving up, and it’s necessary to the artist on so many levels. You must have persistence when learning new skills or a new medium. . . because if you give up too soon, you’ll only have half an understanding of the medium and how to use it well.

The same is true for building an art based business or a body of work. Rarely are the first several pieces you create your best or your most profitable.

And of course, you must persist in creating each piece, because very few pieces come together without some sort of difficulty. Some of the best are also some of the most challenging, and perseverance is absolutely essential to working through the difficulties and finishing those challenging pieces.

Perseverance is the next sibling to focus, keeping oneself on track in all situations helps in maintaining the pace. It can be difficult to focus when you face a challenging or daunting task; there is a continuous fight between the conscious and the subconscious mind deep inside the crevasses of our brain. One supporting the “I can” attitude whereas the other “I can’t”. If we sub-consciously think that our creative task (lets say choreographing an act) is not easy or seems unattainable or falls under the “I can’t” zone then this would first result in the wavered focus and thus a negative result. This is where one needs to focus on the result and keep trying; trial and error method works wonders in such situations. 

I absolutely believe that persistence is more important than inspiration or natural talent.

Steps to keep you on track:

  1. Have a routine

  2. Set goals

  3. Maintain a “learning” attitude 

  4. Get outside your comfort zone, try new things

  5. Don’t give up

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