Today, NPR featured this article on a book called Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by Anders Ericcson, exploring the connection between talent and hard work. I’ve been drawn to this question of late, as I work on my Great Endeavor and ponder my talents. I am vulnerable to self-doubt, like anyone, but it is a comfort to hear time and time again that hard work most often is the key to success, whatever that “success” might look like. It’s a matter of developing skills over time, not springing out of the womb a ready-made genius.
It begs the question: if it doesn’t take a great effort to create and perfect your art, is it worth doing?
In April, my Forgotten English calendar (below) also reminded me of the value of hard work. This is nothing new – a concept as old as the Odyssey. I’d never heard of George Henry Lewes (which is the point of Jeff Kacirk’s Forgotten English) but I’ll remember him for the idea below: perspiration over inspiration.”
So, practice does make perfect, whatever perfect means. If you spend too much time lamenting over the absent “genius” nothing gets done. Art isn’t always pretty. It’s gritty and messy and sweaty and sometimes we want to throw it out the window, but staying the course is the best plan. Always. “Keep on keeping on.”