What does the word “work” conjure up for you?
What are the images and associations that first spring to mind when you think of working?
In Western culture at least there seem to be far more negative connotations with work, and our language is rife with phrases such as: on the treadmill, in the rat race, the daily grind and Thank God It’s Friday.
Many of us work longer than we want to, in roles with little meaning, for people we don’t even much like or respect. Hmmm…
It’s no wonder we have all these less than uplifting connections to the idea of work.
Let’s change our focus for a moment to another small word with a wide reaching concept – Art.
What do think of when you think about art?
Creativity, freedom, self-expression, enjoyment, escape, connection, authenticity, individuality and fulfillment are all words that I associate with art.
But despite us having these kind of uplifting and positive associations with art and creating, and knowing that art fills a void within us than nothing else in the world can, most of us still struggle to justify making it a priority, to give it even a little time and focus each day.
Whereas with work – and all the weighty and draining language and activity surrounding it – most of us manage to dedicate days on end to it each month.
We dedicate hours and hours to this type of work, and in the meantime completely neglect our art.
It’s clear that something got lost along the way here.
What if we could unite the enjoyment and fulfillment of making art with the almost blind and unquestioning dedication we give to our daily work?
Yes of course we all need food and clothing and shelter and this comes mostly from working a job to earn money to buy food and clothing and pay our rent or mortgages.
What happens if we refuse to work, or neglect our work, or don’t show up time and time again? Eventually, we stop getting paid.
What happens if we neglect our art? What are the consequences if we stop showing up each day and creating?
On the surface you might think very little.
But on a deeper level, if you’re denying yourself the opportunity to create the art within you, to express all the incredible ideas just burning to get out into the world, the outcome is worse than not getting paid.
You’re slowly, steadily killing yourself.
For any artist – and yes, you are an artist – our art IS our work. The most important work we can do.
Regardless of whether you’re in a position to support yourself entirely – or even partially – from you art, you have a duty to yourself, and to the rest of us to keep creating, to keep showing up each day and putting in the work.
You were given these ideas, these thoughts, these talents for a reason, and we’re waiting for you to share them with us.
Blurring these boundaries between work and art helps each of them become more fulfilling, more rewarding, and more genuine.
Aspire to create your art with the daily dedication and determination you give the work that pays your bills.
Approach your work (ALL of your work) with an attitude of creativity, invention, artfulness and enjoyment.
Your art and your work become one beautiful fusion. Your life.
“How you do anything is how you do everything.” Derek Sivers
It’s up to you whether you do anything and everything with care, focus, passion, creativity and commitment, or as if you couldn’t care less and would rather be elsewhere.
It’s up to you to choose the quality of your life, moment by moment.
Spend a little time thinking about the commitment you give your work and your art, and how happy you are with that balance.
If you find there’s something you’d like to change, what are the first couple of little steps you could take?
Thank you for reading. Please share these words. Subscribe for free updates.