I’m drawing from The Artisan Soul again today, by Erwin Raphael McManus, to reveal to you the secrets to creative success. This is definitely a 2-thumbs-up read. For me, it’s rare to find a spiritual book I want to sit down and read straight through—this is one of those gems.
This week I visited at length with a friend who is writing her doctorate dissertation. The process sounds completely daunting—I’m glad it’s her task and not mine. As we talked about her progress, it became clear that she deals, as we all do, with Resistance. (Get The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, if you haven’t yet!) My friend spoke of how she can’t quite figure out how it’s so hard not to spend all her time tending to other things, when the dissertation is her first priority. That’s a perfect example of Resistance—vague, yet powerful. It reminds me of mist pouring into the valley in the scary movie scenes. It’s a palpable force, but not easily identifiable.
It made me think about how it is that we expect something we are talented at, to be easy. From The Artisan Soul:
“We hope that discovering our talents, and even our calling or purpose, will lead to effortless success. I would propose the exact opposite is true: if God created us to be successful at something, then he has called us to work hard at it. I am absolutely convinced that a spiritual gift and hard work were never meant to be mutually exclusive.” [p.130]
Resistance doesn’t just come up when we are afraid. It comes up just as often when we are confident of success. McManus describes what is necessary to face down Resistance in this Biblical reference:
“It is not incidental that when David calls Solomon to build the temple, he says to his son: ‘Be straon and courageous, and do the work.’ […] Not ‘be inspired and creative,’ but ‘be strong and courageous.’ […] Here we find the secret to Solomon’s success and perhaps the secret to ours: to do our greatest work, we must overcome the temptation to be afraid or become discouraged, engaging the creative process with strength and courage.” [p.131]
I would add the temptation to remain comfortable, distracted, and preoccupied, among other temptations. Sometimes Resistance comes up in the form of sickness, family drama, or something else that is easily mistaken as a “good reason” for not getting down to your work.
One final quote, giving hope to those of us who are late bloomers:
“Like talent, character is formed through discipline. In my last book, Wide Awake, I laid out a process for all of us who know we have much left to accomplish. It’s been a wonderful realization after 50 years of life that if we work hard enough, hard work will eventually be mistaken for talent. And if we refuse to give up, perseverance will eventually be mistaken for greatness.”
Now I just need to get my hands on his last book!
Coach’s Challenge: If you’ve had a Life Purpose Hand Analysis from me, review the information about your purpose and your gift markings. (You can sign up for yours here.) Consider these in light of this article. Where have you been expecting things to simply unfold for you? Where do you need to bring more strength and courage to bear in your life? Pick one small step and do it this week. Leave me a comment about what you discover.
Want to use this article? Great! Just please include the following: