Maybe you don’t know, but I play guitar (here is a video of me playing this past May) and I’ve never really considered myself a “guitarist”. Instead, I’ve always used the term “guitar player” because I never really thought I measured up to the “ist” standard. And I would NEVER have called myself an “artist”. That’s another one I was positive I’d never “qualify” for.
Strangely, just the other day, I mentioned those same thought processes to a friend and she told me I was being silly about the whole thing. When I asked her to enlighten me, here’s more or less what she told me.
- You don’t have to write songs that make the whole world sing to be an artist
- You don’t have to record songs and sell any records, whether it’s one copy or a million, to be an artist
- You don’t have to paint realistic, life-like, perfect, pictures to be an artist
- You don’t have to carve life-like and perfectly proportioned statues to be an artist
- You don’t have to be the #1 _____ in the world to be an artist
So, I asked her “Well, then. What do I actually have to do, in order to be an artist, since you’re so smart on the subject.”
And she said, “Just get out of your own way, stop thinking about it so darn much, and let your heart guide what you do.”
If I understand her correctly, we can be…or in fact, ARE…ALL artists of one form or another.
- When you do a good job at work because you believe it’s the right thing, you’re an artist.
- If you write a blog post that uses some incident from your life to make the world a little easier for you and your readers, you’re an artist.
- If you’re a teacher who spends extra time after the school day is over to help a kid who is struggling with a new concept, you’re an artist.
- When you take the time to REALLY listen to what your kids are saying, and more importantly, what they are NOT saying, you’re an artist.
For me, it all really boils down to this: If you put your full attention, your full intent, your love into whatever it is you’re doing, you turn it into a work of art, expressing yourself at the most profound levels possible.
So, my friend was right, apparently. In my own way, I’m an artist as a musician. And working on it in other roles, too.
I’d feel honored if you would share a little about your own artistry.