Getting the job done

Don’t give up.

Last week I attended an Arts and Letters Live presentation given by Jonah Lehrer at the Dallas Museum of Art. In his lecture, and in his new book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” he addresses some strikingly interesting ideas about creativity. Although his stature is diminutive, his ideas are not. He has degrees in neuroscience, literature and philosophy. One of the main themes he expanded on was the psychological trait called Grit. Lehrer said, “Great artists are great workers. They revise and re-do. They spend hours of merciless refinement on their projects. They are stubborn and single minded. They are persistent. They refuse to quit. They practice and practice, over and over. They are in it for the long haul.”

If you’ve ever read the book or seen either of the film adaptations of True Grit you’ll remember that young Mattie Ross selects Marshal Rooster Cogburn to help her track down the killer of her father. She chooses Cogburn even though he’s one-eyed, overweight and aging because she is convinced of his “grit” or fortitude. As the story unfolds, the audience witnesses Mattie’s tenacity as well, as she is bound and determined to accompany Cogburn to the bitter end.

It’s undetermined if Grit can be taught but by exposing yourself to a variety of different activities and notions you can assess if you have an interest in that thing or not. Be curious. Be brave and try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you find something you love doing, then you won’t see doing it as work.  Lehrer says, “Choose easy. Work hard.” What do you naturally like to do? What are you curious about?

Lehrer explained that there is new software being developed that can sift through your resume and determine levels of Grit. A big part of success is persistence but organization and plain, ‘ol simple table manners can go a long way too. My successful career in graphic design wasn’t, necessarily, because I was so terribly talented in design and typography. I believe the reason I was asked to work on big projects was ultimately because I was dependable and would not give up until I got it right. I set high goals for myself and found ways to problem solve. I had good manners. I respected my authority figures. I was punctual. Yeah, my design wasn’t bad, but the jobs kept coming my way mostly because I only promised what I knew I could deliver. My clients could trust me.

Becoming successful in any creative activity involves criticism and debate about what you’re thinking or what you’ve made. It is very important in the creative process to realize that the product you make is not you. You and the object are separate. Be grateful for any negative comments you receive so that you can make it better! Be thankful for critique! Seek honest critique and then be prepared to take it. In fact, ask for it. Lehrer reminded the audience, “If you’re at the cutting edge, you’re going to bleed.” It is best to fail as soon as possible so the problems can be fixed and you can be on your way to success sooner! Be willing to fail and even more importantly, like a former pastor of mine used to say, “Be willing to be willing.”

Where has your determination and Grit taken you? I look forward to your comments!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

8 thoughts on “Getting the job done

  1. […] interesting and captivating because of their mistakes. Often mistakes are a blessing. In my article Getting The Job Done, I address the necessary component of art-making called “grit”. We teach our art students […]

  2. Lena Hobbs says:

    Anita, this is great! I so enjoyed the article. mom

  3. Deborah Herring says:

    Love the blog. Love the reference to True Grit. I remember seeing it with my “daddy”. I got my work ethic from him. In hindsight I remember giving myself permission to not do brilliant work as long as I was making something. Each thing has it’s own lessons to teach us. Thank you for your tenacity.

    • Dear Deborah,
      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so happy you like the blog. My heart is swelling! 🙂 My dad loved True Grit (the John Wayne version). I got my work ethic from my parents too. Keep up the good work, my friend, and continue to be brave and forge ahead! xo

  4. Jane Ann Nelson says:

    Thank you for this article! I’m revving up my “grit” to finish some organizational projects. I totally believe accomplishing these tasks will radically change my life for the better. Love you, dear friend! Always did.

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the article! 🙂 Grit is a wonderful thing. Grit is what makes us powerful women! I love Grit, and all my women friends definitely have Grit. Go do those tasks! I feel sure there’ll be a reward waiting for you when you finish. xoxo

  5. Tiffanie Mutlu says:

    I just love you. My son has some true grit under his toenails, does that count? (:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Let's Enjoy Art

simply for fun

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...

And Then We Moved To ...

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

Coffee in San Diego

Independent coffee houses we love

The Dallas Whisperer

Answering Questions About Dallas

schooled in love

Where home meets schooling.

Art Teacher in LA

K-8th grade art lessons

janeyinmersin

Have a dose of what life is really like living here – from Turkish in 1000 easy lessons to learning the secrets to making the perfect kebab! Highs or lows this is our random observations from the melting pot of crazy that is my life in Mersin.

Live In Inspiration

travel . lifestyle . inspire .

What's up, Turkey?

a blog about Turkish politics and society

Inside Out In Istanbul

Living in Istanbul, Turkey

Curious Souls Get Together

We meet to watch and discuss inspirational TED Talks !

PenCameraPassport

Stories and photos about life and the world

Enderle Travelblog

A resource for brave artists, teachers and travelers who prefer to live life differently

TheTravelingTeacher

A resource for brave artists, teachers and travelers who prefer to live life differently

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

VENKMAN'S LAW

Thoughts, comments, opinions and sarcasm from humanity's leading expert on absolutely nothing.

megfitzpatrick

Dallas-Based Contemporary Artist

The Perpetual Vagabond

Art, Travel, Photography, and Adventure!

travelola

reflections on travel & expat life in australia

%d bloggers like this: