This morning, I was not looking forward to facing the difficulty of drawing. And I sometimes have difficulty facing the task of writing when it’s not coming easily. Then, I asked myself a question. If I were faced with the Faustian temptation concerning writing and drawing, would I take it? Would I want to skip all the hardship, the sacrifice, the daily work and take instant success as an author and illustrator?
This is a question worth asking oneself. And worth pondering. I took some time to think about it. It's easy to say, "oh, I want to do the noble work, etc." but that's just because you don't actually HAVE the option of the instant success. But what if you really did? I suggest you ask yourself the same question in regard to whatever you're working to master.
I believe the answer you give yourself will tell you whether or not you really want to BE that person you’re trying to become, or whether you just WANT the things that you think go with it. After some serious consideration, I answered that I want to go through the work. Why?
Because the work I must do, the journey I must take to reach that goal, is what changes me. If I don’t want to change, I don’t want to be an artist, because being an artist is a journey of self-transformation. And as I change, my work will change, and my talent will develop into something that will speak to the hearts and minds of people. If you were able to take that shortcut, you would find the reward empty and meaningless, because the true reward is the evolved self. Whenever someone takes a shortcut (takes the Faustian deal), there seems to be a universal force at work or else simply a psychological force (or maybe it is both, or neither) that knows when we have cheated, and it leads to our self-destruction (this is at least partly what the Faust story is about). In the end, we have cheated only ourselves.
Once I realized that I would choose to go through the work, because I know inherently, it makes me a stronger, wiser, richer person, as well as a better artist, I felt more accepting and patient about drawing today. And being accepting of what one must do now, in the moment, is the key to reducing our suffering and maximizing our focus, which will help to put us in the “flow” experience that all artists seek.
My drawing today turned out decently. It was neither bad nor great. But that’s okay. I was changed by it. And tomorrow, there will be another. And another. The journey is the greatest reward. And if you take it, chances are, you will find yourself on the path you were meant to walk. And I can tell you personally, no reward is greater than that.