Today is my birthday. I thought many times about doing an easy post full of great pictures or graphic design inspiration, but then I remembered why I’m doing this in the first place; I want to become better at what I do and I believe writing is one way to figure out how to do that. It forces me to explore my thoughts and expound upon them, working out contradictions to form (and reform) my view on life and how to be successful, specifically in the art world. One thing I know that is true in any profession (or anything you do really) is that perseverance is crucial for success. Oftentimes we are discouraged by the many years others have on us, but at some point those veterans started out just like us and faced the same adversity. Their success came from perseverance and dedication.
Photo Credit: camnjeanacess
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take a break. No, there are times when you should and I plan on taking it easy around Christmas time and other holidays, but last I checked, we’ve still got some time.
I read a great book called Talent Is Never Enough (affiliate) and gleaned many insights from it, namely perseverance. Pushing yourself beyond talent is such a simple lesson in life, but I didn’t want to pay any heed until years later. There are things at which I’m naturally talented, but I’ve watched others pass me by because they put time and energy into honing their skills. If you don’t consider going beyond talent and supplementing it with study and practice, that advantage quickly becomes a hindrance. Your ego tells you that you are great and will always be ahead of the curve because you have an edge. This opens the door for laziness and eventually you become barely better than average, which is often where you started. Persevere and rise above this!
This applies to things you are already working on improving as well. When you feel you are becoming great at something and find yourself comfortable with a technique or skill, find the part of the skill that gives you resistance and tells you that it is a level above you. Attack it without mercy by practice. It will be painful for you, but in the end you will grow and advance. Anything that is resistance-free is wheel spinning.