Encouraging Artists to Feel Good About Their Work

The following is a debatable thought and personally, I see both sides of the issue.  While I tend to lean more toward the "encouraging rather than discouraging" side of the fence, I enjoy things that make me think so I’m sharing it with you all.

Many years ago I heard a story...  I think it was supposed to be like a motivational thing.  Anyway, it seems to have stuck with me for some reason and I’ve thought about it on more than one occasion.  I am now going to give you my usual butchered job as I try to paraphrase the anecdote (because I have no idea where the story originated and I only have my memory to go off of).

So there was this student of the violin and he played at a recital one day.  Afterward, he met a violin maestro (is that what they’re called?).  The young violinist asked the master for his opinion of the performance.

“Do I have what it takes to be a professional violinist someday?” he asked the master.

The master looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, son, you don’t.”

The young violinist left and the master’s friend came up to him and said, “That young boy was brilliant.  He has amazing talent.  Why did you tell him he doesn’t have what it takes?”

“Because”, answer the master, “If he has what it takes to be great, he will not care about my opinion.  He will continue to do what he loves and become a master at it.  If he lets my opinion of his talent change the course of his life, he is not passionate enough to become a master in the first place.”

While I don’t agree with everything this story represents, I do get the point of it and ponder on it occasionally.

There’s something to be said for the person who can put his head down and forge ahead without needing the encouragement of others. 

 

Comments

I saw a condensed version of

I saw a condensed version of your story on FB the other day that gave me a giggle, sadly can't credit where it came from but it went along the lines of an artist asking a well-respected art critic what his opinion was of the artists' latest painting. The critic replied 'It's worthless!' to which the artist reponded 'I know, but what about the painting?'
I can take from that

Double Entendres

Oh my gosh, I love that! It's hilarious and remarkably on point. Opinions are worthless. :-)

thanks for this Laura.

thanks for this Laura. Encouragement for creatives to love themselves and what they do can never be underestimated. The creative process is so messy and fraught with so many obstacles. To love yourself inside that and to love what you do can be very challenging at times unless you are supported and held up by other creatives who know what this is like. Big hug for all you are and all you do!

Reply to Rebecca

Hey Jewelry Buddy! <3
I think you're right. The empowerment has to come from within but external encouragement can be very helpful.

A thoughtful response by my Facebook friend Maria Lothrop

Personally, though their may be a grain of truth for some people, I think think oversimplifies a complex matter and doesn't take into account other things someone might be struggling with, like mental illness. The Maestro in this example seems to think that his words can only derail someone and that they can't make a positive difference in someone's life. What if playing the violin was literally the only thing that had kept the kid from committing suicide and he was hanging on for dear life around the time of the performance? A little positivity from someone with knowledge of the craft could go a LONG way. The negativity, however...well, the Maestro wouldn't be wrong exactly but would anyone want to be right in that way? I don't think someone needs to completely coddle someone or lie, but words do have power and I think there are better ways to go about it. Fueling someone with hate, spite and defiance only gets them so far and I think people lose something in that exchange.

Thank you Maria

... for taking the time to write out such an eloquent comment on the blog post. Words do have power and I feel like encouraging others is super important.

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