Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doing what it takes.

Are you willing to do what it takes? Oftentimes I think that "success" or just accomplishing something gets very overcomplicated. Getting something done is pretty basic. You do it.

What I'm not saying is that it's easy. I'm saying that it's simple. For example, if you want to dunk a basketball, you have to get in good enough shape to jump high enough. It's not easy to get in good enough shape but as far as knowing what to do, it's basic. You have to discipline your diet and work out your body. The hard part is in disciplining your diet every moment of every day and disciplining yourself to work out enough to build up the muscle to do it.

Another example, let's say you want to run a marathon but right now you can't even run a mile. It's basic. You discipline your diet to be healthy. Then you run as often as possible as far as possible as fast as possible. As you push your own limit on a regular basis your limit becomes further. Soon you're running a mile. Then you're running two miles. Then five miles. Eventually you're running a marathon. The hard part is in eating less, or eating healthier, or running several times a week, and having the willpower to push yourself to do better at all times. Every moment is another moment to be distracted or derailed the same way it's a moment to be disciplined and accomplished.

If you're not willing to do what it takes you will never get the result of what happens when a person does what it takes. You can't be a master artist without practicing for hours nearly every day. You can't get into shape if you don't work out several times a week. You can't develop any skills to a proficient level without a significant amount of regular practice. If you're not willing to grow your own food or go to a store or restaurant, how will you eat? Of course, we're all willing to do that, but what else is within our grasp that we ignore?

This hit me with the Bauhaus project. When I started the project I had some fliers printed out to hand out to people but I was nervous to be the guy annoying people. I didn't want to disturb people or approach them. The first night I went, I sat at a table for about 90 minutes torturing myself with every possible bad outcome. Then I finally said to myself, "If you want to do this project, this is what it takes. If you're going to be an artist, you have to do stuff like this. So..are you going to do it or not? If you're not going to do it, you might as well forget being an artist. You have to do what it takes." So....I quit thinking about it, went and handed out fliers, did that for 26 nights, and completed the project. Doing the project was basic - do the drawings. However, the amoount of work was massive, it wasn't easy. (read more about it in an interview I did about the project http://www.earthwalkersmag.com/community/all-blogs/a-i-had-made-up-my-mind-beforehand-to-finish-it-or-diea-.html)

The point I really want to make is that there is no need to overcomplicate anything. Getting something done is as simple as doing it. Don't put it off. Don't waste time. Don't wait until you can take a class. Don't wait until somebody can come along. Don't wait! Almost anything can be done now. How often do we let our own mind convince us otherwise!

A recent example that inspired this post is the painting hat I bought. I've been doing a lot of plein air painting outside. Lots of exposure to the sun. I needed to get a hat that would keep the sun off of my head and neck, and be versatile for painting conditions. I needed a functional hat. Sadly, the hat that perfectly fit the functional aspect of what I required (so I can focus on painting, not on getting burned or sun in my eyes) is a hat that I would NEVER wear otherwise. I hate it. I can only stand that hat because it serves the purpose I need.

Sweet fancy moses! There isn't even the right words to properly describe a hat like that. HOWEVER, wearing the hat will allow me to focus on the painting, not worry about the elements, and therefore, paint better. Am I willing to wear a hat that I hate to paint better? Sure am. It's just another step (albeit a small, funny one) on the path of things required to get to where I want to go.

Ultimately, you'll never get what you want if you're not willing to do what it takes to get what you want.


  1. What one man can do, any man can do huh.

    Interesting post and very inspiring.

    I was very pleased to see you're mention of the Bible and your faith in Jesus Christ. I too am a born again Christian and thrive on the living Word of god, which is Christ. Always be ready to give that humble testimony that seems so foolish but is the wisest thing of all - I am greatly encouraged by what you have said.

    Question: How do you hone your skills in portraiture when you're not studying the figure? and did you feel confident in your ability before you started the project? or was it just something you felt you needed to do to grow. (am I right in thinking you just asked people to come and sit for you?)

    Anyway, great work. Keep it up.


  2. "it's an adventure hat!" -Becky

  3. As for Becky, and her adventure hatting..... a great name doesn't really change the horrible horribleness of it, for me. Sadly.

    James- What one man can do any man can attempt. Some will fail (usually by giving up), some will achieve, and some will surpass.

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate the encouragement. I don't mind giving God the credit for so many things which I am blessed with that have come totally outside of my efforts. I see grace all around - the receipt of something undeserved.

    A: I think you can gain skills in many areas by doing things that are related. For example, running sprints doesn't make you better at basketball, literally, but it makes you a better basketball player. In the same way drawing makes your painting better and painting makes your drawing better. For the Bauhaus project, I was feeling decent about my abilities, but what you can do in the quiet of your own workspace with the leisure of time is different than what you can do when people are watching and the pressure is on. The goal is to be able to make those two the same, though. I passed out fliers and people came and said they would sit. 88 people or so, over 26 straight days. Does that answer the question?

    Keep fighting the good fight, homie.

  4. Yes, agreed. And yes, we have all fallen short but his grace is sufficient.

    As for the portraiture...that is intense, and brave. Well done!! I would be pretty nervous of doing that, but I will, in time.

    Thanks for answering the question. Great to see another self taught artist by the way.

    Seek him first and all these things will be added.

    Thanks again and keep pressing forward!

  5. Thanks again for the kind words, James.

    The self taught artist.. I'm going to blog about this.

    Keep up the good work!