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Friday, March 31, 2006

The benefits of audacity:

Robert Glenn's Twice Weekly sent out an email on the benefits of audacity a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to put this more into practice. Excerpt:

"In 1917, during a particularly low period in the fortunes of
Winston Churchill, he decided to do something he had been
intending to do for years. He purchased a box of oil paints. He
picked a nice day, set himself up in his garden, and squeezed
out. Then he sat frozen in place for two hours, unable to make
a stroke. "My hand," he said, "seemed arrested by a silent
veto." With the day waning and in the mood to give up, he
heard, on the other side of the hedge, the arrival of a car. It
was the painter wife of his friend Sir William Orpen. According
to Churchill, Lady Orpen swept into the garden and saw the
blank canvas and the plight he was in. She grabbed the brush
out of his hand, went for the blue, and within a minute had the
sky on the canvas. The spell had been broken. Churchill then
and there decided that the thing needed in painting was the
same thing that he had applied in politics--audacity.

Churchill was right on. Stuff like planning and research and
reference and inspiration and time and the right mood aren't
worth a farthing compared to audacity. It's through audacity
that you commit and begin, and it's through audacity that you
find out what you are doing wrong and it's through audacity
that you correct it. Audacity allows you to be at ease with
your inadequacy, safe in the knowledge that while things may
not be perfect, they are at least under way."

He goes on to say:

"Many, many times I've been the recipient of Lady Orpen's audacity. Any time of day or night this beautiful, ghostly woman may roll up to my studio in her chauffeur-driven Silver Ghost Rolls. On a regular basis she helps herself to my brush. It's a hot little thing between her and me. I need her. I love her. "Boldness has genius, power and magic. Engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin, and the work will be completed." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

I recognize this so often in my own life. I have issues with inertia, apparently. As I've mentioned before, some things are so difficult for me to get started, and yet, usually once I've started, I then have difficulties quitting. I'm trying to approach both ends with this audacious approach. It's easier to begin when you just START - without all the deliberation that sometimes paralyzes me. It's such a charge to jump right into things that it can also help to motivate me to quit when I need to so that I can jump into the next thing. An object in motion is easier to keep in motion...

Motion and audacity. An unexpected and interesting combination.

2 comments:

Rebecca Bush said...

Love it!
I have that Goethe prominently posted in my studio!

Ulla said...

This is wonderful. Audacity can perhaps also help us create something totally new, that no one else has thought of yet. Excellent food for thought... I too need to call up the little lady every once in a while...