“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
― Steven Pressfield, ‘The War of Art’
The artist’s commitment is not to doing good work, but simply to doing work. Whether that work is good or not can only be determined in hindsight, once it has been created. Insisting on only creating that which is good is a form of procrastination the result of which will be no work at all.
By removing any expectations for the quality of the results we get, we give ourselves space to explore and room to grow. We give ourselves permission to make mistakes and to see our work for what it truly is. That is to say, we begin to see our efforts as merely practice.
If our practice results in something beautiful, inspirational, or insightful, we should see this a gift. As with all gifts, we should neither expect nor demand this from ourselves or our work. Instead, we should receive it graciously and share it generously, again, with no expectation for any particular result because sharing is merely another form of practice.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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