“Talent alone won’t make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is “Are you ready?”
"Are you ready?" I find this to be the most interesting question these days. Mostly because deep down I intuitively feel that I'm not. Let me clarify. This is different from the voice that says "I'm not enough and never will be". In fact, I'm happy to say I've made great strides in learning to silence that voice with lots of love and patience. No, this voice is calm and strong and says, "you've accomplished a lot, but for truly amazing things to start happening you must focus yourself more." My only mission now is to work every day preparing myself to be 100%, undeniably ready.
As far as I can tell, true excellence is only achieved by a continuous series of mundane and often unpleasant tasks. A million words. 10,000 hours. 50 bad songs before the one that’s worth a shit. It can then be deduced that the only (or perhaps more important) factor in reaching “success” is to simply keep going. Especially when it's overwhelming, painful and uncomfortable, the moment when it's most tempting to give up.
Of course, passion seems to play an important role in jump-starting certain skills. Passion can help you find joy in those most mundane tasks when any person in the their right mind would say “why the hell are you doing that?” However, I’ve learned that in any given career there are perhaps even more moments of boredom and distress than there are of passion. And those moments may be even more valuable than the passionate ones, because that is when your dedication is tested.
I think it’s important for people to hear this. A lot of admirers of art seem to think that the beautiful piece of work they love was simply created out of a burst of divine inspiration guided by the voice of a fairy in the artist’s ear. One of the greatest compliments I ever received after a show was a woman who said: “Watching you play I really appreciated how difficult music is and how well you do it.” Wow. At first I thought “oh dear, maybe I’m scowling too much.” But then I really listened to what she was saying and I realized what a great compliment it was. She recognized that what I do on stage is not simply a gift from the heavens. It’s an accumulation of tiny, frustrating and enjoyable moments that over time add up to something other people can enjoy.
And that is what I want to get better at. I want to use the energy that has been gifted to me from the heavens (because there is a good amount of magic involved here too) and focus it on honing my crafts to create beautiful things.
That's all for now.