There must be tons of publications on making the most of our potential not to mention gigs of the digital version online every minute. How to do anything imaginable and then some. Sometimes we even put these ideas into action. Art is no different. Now that art is a significant part of the economy it is catered for in the market in the minutest detail. Add to this the advice for aspiring professional artists and we have an abundance of information to work with. Great – our potential is immense. I am hugely motivated by this, but there is one matter that brings us all back to reality like a wet slap in the chops. Our health.
I have just come off a bout of some winter malady that was particularly intent on knocking me down. One day I am full of energy painting away. The next I cannot even lift a brush. It is humbling to realise (again) that we are nothing without our health. No matter how talented, bright, famous or determined we may be our health will have the last say.
This episode was a timely reminder for me that pride in our health should not lead to negligence either. By this I mean not taking care of our health and not getting checked up once a year. Especially if, like me, the middle age years have arrived. No shame in admitting it. We can only do our best work if mind and body are in good shape.
While enforced rest can be frustrating it is also a good way to catch up on good reading. I came across Sir Ken Robinson on TED Talks. His presentations on improving our educational system to free up children’s creativity are relevant the world over. He also has an excellent book called Finding Your Element. I read this book recently and it was a refreshing take on finding the work that we were meant to do.
Robinson’s book is full of well grounded arguments, examples and anecdotes from ordinary folk, and some famous ones, that will help you identify your element. The next step will be to put that knowledge into action. This is also covered in a sensible way. Let’s be honest these days many people are so fearful of losing employment that they will compromise their true nature to get a pay cheque. Very Sad. Robinson shows us that there are ways to start moving away from that situation without risking everything at once. When the time to jump arrives though we need to be ready.
Finding Your Element will resonate with any artist. It gave me a reassuring nod of confidence too. Teachers, parents and teenagers alike will enjoy this accessible book as well. You can watch Sir Ken's latest TED Talk below.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.