The Big Art is Our Life

“All the arts are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.”

—Mary Caroline Richards, 19th Century American Poet & Potter

Image of a potters wheel

Image from Flickr by pax-h2o

Do you live to work or work to live? Regardless of how you answer the question, it is clear that we spend a pretty high percentage of our lives engaged in our work.

How many different jobs have you had so far in your life? Many of my coaching clients have multi-page resumes, often including five, ten, or more positions. Quite often, one reason they hire me is to support a transition in their professional life.

They almost always simultaneously seek to live more artfully and include a high degree of focus and effort in their personal lives.

EXERCISE:

What artistic efforts are most appropriate at this point in your life? What would make it a more beautiful masterpiece?

#104: “Rules and models destroy genius and art.”

– William Hazlitt, writer

Many historic thinkers have explored left-brain versus right-brain thinking. Modern-day thinkers often refer to the concept of linear or analytical thinking versus quantum or non-linear thought.

Whatever you call the two types, they are both highly useful and have their place in making the world work. As a business coach, I see many great examples where procedures and systems increase profits. Six Sigma, Kaizen and other quality initiatives are widely used in organizations today.

Yet when we overuse procedures to manage the abilities of people, we often diminish their ability to act, think and create.

Exercise:

Where do rules in your professional and personal life serve you well, and where do they limit your creativity and genius?

How will you find the right balance?

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#103: “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”

– John Ruskin, artist and art critic

We have all heard the quote, “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” A by-product of this mixture of love and work is mastery, due to the amount of practice we experience over time.

Think about famous artists, top athletes, and great entertainers as examples of this synergistic combination.

Exercise:

What are your greatest skills, where you lose yourself in love?

It would be wonderful if these included your vocation. They may be hobbies or similar avocations – and hopefully, they can include building extraordinary relationships, in all areas of life.

What masterpieces have you built to this point and what future works of art are on the way?

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