Creating That Which We Love

“What audiences like is something good. So your real obligation [as an] artist is to make a thing you really love.”
—T-Bone Burnett

If we are not happy with the creative work we are doing, no matter how large our audience may be, it will ultimately prove to be unsustainable. That is because, even if what we create sustains us financially, if it does not actually please us, it is nothing more than a job.

There are already an infinite number jobs in the world we do not want to do or will not enjoy doing. There is simply no justifiable need for us to create a new one for ourselves. Consciously or unconsciously, we know this, and, if we continue to do creative work we do not enjoy, this knowledge will eat at us until we either quit or it kills us from the inside out.

Even less than we do, the world at large does not need more creative work that we do not enjoy. The world needs to see, to feel, and to experience more joy, more passion, and more active engagement, and, if the creative work we do does not come from or lead us to that place, it is adding to the problem.

This does not mean we must love everything we create, but it does mean that we should try to create that which we love from a place of love. If we do this consistently enough for ourselves and we share what we create with the world, our audience will find us and, more importantly, they will find us loving what we are doing.


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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