Keep Going, You Artist

The most encouraging advice that anyone can ever say or write to me is some variation of this: “Keep going.” “Keep writing.” “Keep up the effort.”

I received an email a few weeks ago from a friend who I knew when I lived in Washington, D.C. He’s a very successful real estate professional and he’s an incredibly good man. I hadn’t heard from him in several years. His email meant so much to me that it made me cry. It hit me in a very powerful way. I literally was speechless when I initially tried to tell my wife. I felt touched.

He wrote:

“I wish you well with your pursuit, and have no doubt that if you keep your shoulder to it, God will bless your efforts tremendously.”

Keep Going

Those words are the representation of persistence, perhaps my favorite quality in an individual. “Keep going” is continuing to do our thing, to be you and to further yourself. To keep doing what you love despite doubts.

The beauty of writing is, what’s mine is yours. I love doing what I do so much that it gives me the chills (literally right now as I type). I love doing it because of the way it makes me feel and also knowing my words have a positive effect on you, the reader.

Maybe it’s my coaching background — I have seen how much inspiration and motivation empower the minds of student-athletes and, hungry professionals. Motivation and inspiration only have any relevancy or substance when they are authentic and truly from the heart. Then, our words can compel and fuel those we care about to play, think and perform with greater effort and passion.

When our thoughts are vibrating at high intensity, we get excited. The fire is lit inside of us to want to produce more of the object of our desire.

I know this and learned this about myself in my own journey of personal discovery when I realized that I could not rise to this empowerment of thought when thinking or talking about something I did not have a passion or interest in.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken — Oscar Wilde

I tried in a variety of jobs and pursuits until I realized that I only wanted to devote my time and energy to motivating and inspiring myself and others in areas where I could produce the greatest energy and output.

How do we learn to keep going in the most efficient manner?

Ironically, it’s not just the feedback of others. At least not in the beginning. It’s the testing and trials of honing our craft, learning from our experiences and determining what it is that lights the fire inside of us greater than any other subject or activity. That’s when we know.

So how does this help you?

Surely, there will be things about your job or daily activities that do not involve performing at peak mental simulation or thought. Believe me, I know. We can condition our minds with an attitude of expectancy and futuristic thought so that when we are doing what we love, we maximize that time by focusing intently on those moments and limiting distractions through the power of concentration.

Below is a poem from the great, Oscar Wilde. During a recent trip home to New York to see family and friends, I was discussing artistic efforts and pursuits with a close friend. He immediately thought of this poem (which I had not previously read) and showed it to me. I was floored. Here it is:

The Artist by Oscar Wilde

ONE evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could think only in bronze.

But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that Endureth For Ever.

Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.

And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.

And out of the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that Endureth For Ever he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment.

If you live to create and to forge your own path, then this poem is for you. It’s certainly for me. It took me reading through its words a few times to make sense of it and apply it to all that I’m doing. I’m the biggest of believers that we are meant to read or hear certain words at particular times.

Find a way to keep going. Find a way when others don’t think you can and you don’t think you can. Find a way.

The Reward

Last week, I responded to the tweet of a Medium reader who shared one of my stories on Twitter. I thanked him for taking the time to read my story and share it with others. Every time this happens, it’s a real reward. It means a lot. He then took the time to write me back. Two words stood out to me more than anything:

“Keep Going.”

I can’t tell you exactly why this one person’s words of “Keep Going” or the gentleman at the introduction of my story meant so much to me, other than to say, we all need a lift sometimes.

In Dave Grohl’s brilliant video documentary, Sonic Highways, he asks the question, “What happened to America? We use to take care of each other.” This fundamental question and assertion speaks volumes about what little progress — in many respects — we’ve made on the most elementary, human level. To live with purpose is to love with all our hearts.

The respect and admiration of our peers is instrumental in giving life to our belief in ourselves and the positive emotions that accompany it. As artists, writers and individuals who seek fulfillment, we have to keep going. Keep creating. Even when there is no bronze left. Even when it means reinventing something we’ve already created. Or better yet, reinventing ourselves.

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