By Stella Joseph-Jarecki (Enquiries: stellamusicwriter.wordpress.com)
We’ve all experienced periods of doubt as artists, and questioned why we have to overcome so many obstacles to secure professional opportunities and funding. And truthfully, my periods of pessimism come and go (and I doubt they will ever stop completely)
We all must find our own methods of motivating ourselves. Different personalities are driven by different goals. Because of this, I have found some ‘inspirational’ quotes to be rather enraging. There’s one that goes something along the lines of “Don’t say that you don’t have enough time. You have the same amount of hours in your day as Muhammad Ali or Mother Teresa.” Or maybe it was Beyoncé. Regardless, that quote is simplistic, patronising, and the definition of selective logic. Mother Teresa was a nun who devoted her entire life to helping the poorest of the poor, which is super commendable and all, but hardly realistic for most of us. Sorry Mother Teresa. As for elite athletes or mega-celebrities, they have the benefit of a posse of dietitians and various professionals to help them realise their dreams without being weighed down by the (time-intensive) matters of household work and cooking!
I have learnt to embrace the idea of persevering through self-doubt, the sentiment of “Even if I don’t feel worthy of this opportunity right now, I’m going to stick at it regardless, and the feeling of having the ability and confidence will come later.”
This philosophy was influenced by a handful of quotes I have included below. These have helped me to remember that the path to success is paved with mundane and un-glamorous moments.
“Feel the fear, do it anyway.” Carrie Fisher
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure that you can do it, say yes, and work out how to do it later.” Richard Branson
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” Hugh Laurie
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” Cynthia Occelli
“Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.” Claude Monet
“Artists frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces. They want their work and their career to be shrouded in the mystery that it all came out at once. It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them. If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that. People who are young, or still struggling, can get easily discouraged, because they can’t do it like they thought it was done. An artwork is a finished product, and it should be, but I always swore to myself that I would not hide my brushstrokes.” Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men. You can read his full essay here