On Training and Creating

“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.” -Tchaikovsky

There is an interesting juxtaposition between being of the artistic temperament and that of one who’s focus is Functional Longevity.

There is a misguided notion that inspiration is a reliable and sustainable driving force for developing your craft in the long-term. That we should only perform when moments of inspiration and motivation strike. I made my case for that thought here: Stoicism and Equanimity take precedence over Motivation.

Success in creative and physical pursuits comes down to grit.

Showing up to your studio to paint every day. Prepping your meals and eating for your goals. Having a consistent writing schedule. Hitting the squat rack earnestly and with vigor. Bringing pen to paper and cleat to track.  Showing up and doing work and grinding and struggling even when thoughts of futility permeate and rest beckons. But we know, and feel to our bones, that satisfying that yearn to grow, despite the onerous task of doing so, is far more satiating than stagnation.

And consider this, if you don’t enjoy the struggle, is it a worthwhile pursuit? Do you have the same sentiments as Francis Bacon does with regards to the physical training aspect of Functional Longevity? At that point, externalities may view what you’re doing is as strife, but intrinsically there can be a beautiful symphony of joy amidst the activity of movement.

When one is right inside the work … it’s very stimulating and exciting, because that’s when you bring things nearer to the nervous system. You must understand that I don’t paint for anybody except myself. I’m always very surprised that anybody wants to have a picture of mine. I paint to excite myself, and make something for myself. – Francis Bacon