There are times when the idea of making art seems pointless. Every artist, I believe, has this thought creep up now and then. This self defeating idea can befall anyone in whatever field they may pursue. Moments of reflection are good just so long as we do not let them turn into defeat. If we allow ourselves to feel sorry for ourselves then we are lost indeed. That then would really be pointless!
I know that at times we all can benefit from the example set by others. Motivation from the creative pursuits of others can spark action. What can be more inspirational than the endeavours of those who have faced huge obstacles and overcome them. Surely these people also felt daunted yet they too had to tackle mental and physical obstacles to achieve their goals.
Recently I read a wonderful book by Lewis Pugh called 21 Yaks And A Speedo. You may recall that Lewis Pugh achieved international fame for his record breaking swims in extreme conditions. This book takes 21 states of mind and illustrates them with Pugh's experiences in facing these extreme challenges. Potentially self-defeating thoughts are faced and overcome in ways that we all can emulate. It is a reminder that we can achieve our dreams through determination. We can also overcome daily obstacles to get over the mundane things that can sap our energy.
Lewis Pugh's book is a relatively short read at 143 pages, but for the type of message the author puts forward it was the perfect length. A quick yet powerful read that will inspire you. Yes I do admit that Lewis Pugh's South African link is great too. The fact that Pugh is an attorney who has taken time to pursue his passion is also a reminder that we can have more than the daily grind. We do not have to settle for ordinary.
So how does this relate to art and making a difference? Well on the face of it Lewis Pugh's extreme swimming may seem pointless too. However Pugh has dedicated his life to more than adventuring for personal pleasure. In order to find meaning in his activities Pugh has brought the message of climate change, environmental preservation and activism to a world stage.
The key I think is to find meaning in what we do. By energising our work or taking up a challenge that inspires others we can all make a difference. We can all support a cause, create something, spark thought and positive action in others. By being supportive of whatever helps our society we are making a difference.
For artists there is risk in putting our work out there yet we can take heart that every creative act is a positive action. Destruction of the environment and indeed dreams of better things is so easy to do. Let us not succumb to what is easy. Creative action is our true calling as human beings and it is how we grow. So thank you to people like Lewis Pugh who have faced the impossible to make a difference.
Thank you to the artists who risk to create. Your work is valued.
For more on Lewis Pugh and his achievements check out his TED talk: