Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Pursuit of Excellence

I was reading something this morning about the difference between the pursuit of excellence and the pursuit of power, or recognition, or control - basically fill in whatever word here that might make sense in your own life that implies something personally gained. The pursuit of excellence is a God-given desire. It's a need to learn, to grow and improve. There's a satisfaction in knowing that you are strectching your gifts or talents, and an enjoyment in seeing the efforts of your work produce results. It's a contentment at the end of a hard day's work.

The pursuit of power (or recognition, or control), on the other hand, is a desire that others recognize or acknowledge your gifts. It's a self-centered desire, based on the approval of others, and really has nothing to do with improving your work or who you are or what you know. It's a need to be admired, or at least appreciated.

I'm tagging this post with my Left Brain, Right Brain tag because I think for me it has a lot to do with this difference. My left brain is always trying to figure out how to profit from what I do, how to make sales, how to spread the word about my work. My left brain wants to be recognized, admired. My right brain, meanwhile, isn't at all sure it even wants to make a sale - there's a nervousness about expectations once someone actually pays money for something created. My right brain just wants to create, to learn, to improve, and then to create some more. My right brain is satisfied with the process, while my left brain will only be satisfied with a measurable, profitable result.

Needless to say I feel far more satisfied with my art when I'm immersed in the process. On days like today I question the wisdom of even having an online shop - except that I believe hoarding one's talent is also the quickest way to lose it. I release it to the world because creative energy must always be on the move, must be free to ebb and flow, regardless of whether or not I make any sales. I tried the hoarding bit, and I ended up not creating anything. So it's off and away, out into the universe, and I release my expectations of what happens to it after that.

So there, left brain.

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