Excerpted from J. Michael Dolan’s Blogs & Stories | The Search for Barenaked Integrity…
STOPPED BY CALAMITY (read time 1:37)
If you scan through the comments of my last blog “Art” you’ll come across a message from a reader named Tom who posted a simple but profound comment, “But when the entrepreneur is bleeding money and the artist can no longer buy art supplies it’s a sad day indeed.” I sat with this comment for a few days, until a response finally began to bubble up.
First of all it’s well known that when he couldn’t afford brushes, the emotionally tormented Vincent Van Gogh made his own, with sticks and horsehair. Proving that if you’re a true “committed” artist or entrepreneur, NOTHING can stop the creative urge within from getting out. Actually, you have no choice. Like a raging, rushing river, the torrential flow of great ideas and pure creativity MUST find its way through the rocky resistance of fear and doubt in order to ultimately arrive at the ocean of expression. Give up, and that river dams up somewhere deep within the dark, inner world of the artist causing frustration, resentment, envy, anger, and too often, resignation.
While it’s true that money, whether you have too much or too little, can often be a contributing factor in stalling or pausing a worthwhile creative project or career, it’s also true that the persistent unwavering Muse of creativity cannot be stopped by the crush of financial calamity or the pettiness of egoic behavior. The Wall Street Journal and E-News Daily are filled with stories of rich and famous artists & entrepreneurs who are buried deep with money problems and personal crisis. Yet the best of them rise again and often do their best creative work ever—even while their personal lives are spinning out of control in a whirlwind of upset and turmoil. How do you think those artists & entrepreneurs can still focus creatively and work at the top of their game with all that personal distraction going on? Because somehow, some way (perhaps thru coaching, therapy, meditation, etc.) they’ve learned how to leave all that drama outside the door—when they enter the studio, walk on the set, pick up the brush, or call the meeting to order. That’s what separates the haves from the have-nots—the courage and fortitude to just “do the work,” and relentlessly go for the impossible dream, even in the face of adversity. And don’t think that just because they have money they can buy their way out of woes and heartache. We may perceive them as happy and successful, but they too fight the same inner demons as you and I—demons that cannot be bought or bribed—fear, resistance, doubt, uncertainty, lack of confidence, worry, etc.
Mohammad Ali once said: “I hated every minute of training, but I thought, ‘‘don’t quit—suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.””
I guess the message for Tom is this: Do whatever it takes to survive and care for your family, but never give up your dream. When the entrepreneur is bleeding, grab a band-aid and get back in the game. And when there’s no money for brushes, grab a stick and a handful of horsehair. Because nothing, neither inner demons nor outer calamity can stand in the way of a jaw dropping idea, an inspiring soundtrack, a breathtaking piece of art or an innovative, worthwhile business venture.
How would you respond to Tom’s comment?