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“For writers and artists, the ability to self-reinforce is more important than talent.” – Steven Pressfield

Now, I think this might be a bit of an overstatement, but, it still makes sense to me.


For this week’s discussion, I’d like to discuss the need for validation in our practice. Think of at least one time that you knowingly sought and (hopefully) received validation for a project. 

My Answer:

I think that I seek external validation less and less each year and with each project. There are countless projects that I have taught validation for, but I notice that is less and less important for my porocess now.

Thoughts and Actions:

Often times, when I discuss the need for validation with students and ask what it is they are ultimately looking for the first response is entirely external: money, applause, recognition, inclusion… when your focus and measured success only comes from validation from outside of yourself, your values are being formed by others.

This is your life and your work, why would you place its validation in the hands of others?

The best artists have a strong inner core of ethics and values and they are motivated by a developed sense self-directedness.

This is what it is to be an artist; to find one’s own voice and not cater to the trend of the moment. As artists, we need to have better goals.

Being able to validate yourself as an artist is important to your ability to keep creating and enjoying it.

So, what is self validation? It’s the exact same praise, belief, encouragement that a friend, mentor, or spouse would give you but from yourself.

Why is this so important? 

Because we need to keep creating work. AND, often, the work we create isn’t the best, it’s a work in progress, or the payoff is a long ways down the road.

But we need to keep showing up. 

Remember the class assignment to the two groups… the group who made the most work got the best grades!

Believe in yourself. You are here for a reason.

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