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100% Effort is Contextual

I always tell my kids that I don’t really care what their marks are looking like in school as long as they give 100% of their effort. I believe if they apply this mindset to life, they will ultimately succeed. We all have different levels of passive talent. However, if we learn to apply ourselves to the maximum of whatever our ability is we will find success in whatever we choose to do. It’s not a matter being smart or being clever or having better genetics than your competition. In terms of effort, your 100% is just as valid as that of the next person. I created a YouTube video about the relationship between work and talent if you’re curious about that topic check it out.

If you desire to become a better artist, you must apply 100% of your effort to that end. That means you need to fill your sketchbook, draw from life, study other artists, try to understand aspects of anatomy, perspective, atmospheric perspective, tone, lighting, color, form; all these little intricate aspects that make up the discipline of creating artwork.

In a vacuum, this could be the easiest and most enjoyable endeavour you’ve ever undertaken. In the context of a simple, non-responsibility laden existence you could apply the best and purest 100% imaginable and grow at the rate of a noxious weed.

Did you catch that? Context. That’s the key I want to talk about today. At different times in your life your 100% effort may feel less effective than it does at another time in your life. Let’s say for example, you are a new mom. You’ve been wanting to pursue art and push yourself in the direction of your creative endeavours. Now you have this beautiful little bundle of joy that is sucking the life and energy out of you one sleepless night at a time. You love this beautiful creation and you would never give them up for anything in the world, but there is still part of you that wishes you could be at your easel practicing your craft.

Well in this context 100% of your effort towards your art might look like doing a sketch once a week or doodling on notepaper while you’re on the phone or even just observing your child’s face and trying to memorize curves, folds and dimples. Observation and quick sketches can fill in your creative life when you are unable to be at peak intensity in your study. Don’t forget the creative journey is not only composed of acting on the principles of drawing or painting, it is a tapestry of all the tiny small aspects of our life. Every challenge, every risk you take, every stressful situation you face, every joy and every pleasure all feed into your creative journey. Which is a unique collection of your life experience not just the application of the principles of creative production. You need to submit yourself to the process of growing in your creativity and understand that it is a life long process. When you grasp this understanding, you’re 100% in the context of a busy life might just produce more fruit than you thought it would.

Today I wish you the best in whatever situation you find yourself facing. I wish you joy in the process and patience with yourself. Have the grace to understand that your context sometimes dictates the possibilities of your effort. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged and allow yourself to grow as you invest in whatever context you are in. Many blessings on your creative journey friends. Until next time be good to each other.