The importance of true grit

Monkey 2 Mixed Media on Wood June 2015 arttally If I am honest, I have reached a bit of a lull in my quest to willingly post my daily creations. But I think this is an inevitable part of a creative process. The initial enthusiasm that comes with a new idea gets you going. Then that steam runs out and it becomes a question of persistence.  To keep on placing one foot in front of the other. Now is the time to understand the importance of true grit.

Jerry Seinfeld talks about marking a cross on the calendar every day that he does some writing. The point is to make a chain of crosses. Not to write something brilliant. But simply to show up and write. Every day.

So I feel that that is where I am right now.  Making the most of the opportunity to demonstrate that I have some grit.  I really don't like that word, somehow. But persistence (grit) has been shown to be a key predictor of success. (There is a TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth that explains the importance of grit, if you happen to be in the mood for a vid!)

To be persistent you have to be okay with imperfection, with failure even. Persistence is continuing in spite of setbacks.  A setback can just be a call to your creativity, awakening your problem solving equipment in order to find a way to move forward.

“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” ― Steven Pressfield

Persistence is probably what the 'p' stands for in professional. An amateur stops when things become hard, or when enthusiasm and inspiration wane. A professional continues doggedly on, whether they feel like it or not. Writers know all about this. For example,

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.” ― W. Somerset Maugham

The effort of persisting is very worthwhile, though. It is helpful to keep a mental note of past successes achieved through perseverance. Recalling these successes is a great encouragement when your persistence is being tested again.  So I have seen for myself that continual practice, in small but steady ways really does build your skills. I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to rack up another mental note of successful perseverance in the memory banks. We will mark the occasion with this whimsical monkey swinging through mixed media vines on a wooden panel.

By the way, there is a test you can do to determine how 'gritty' you actually are. So if you love a personality test or two (let's be honest... who doesn't?) you can try this one...