How to Gain Grit & Confidence in Your Creative Work

Below is a post I created for Growing Gorillas, a kids martial arts program:

Look at the expression on that kid’s face. He is pretty damn proud of getting his purple chevron for coaching.

This student earned it by standing up in front of a group of his peers and demonstrating a jiu jitsu move. Oral speaking is something most adults are afraid of, and this Growing Gorilla is overcoming that fear as a teenager.

This program is a year-long commitment. Classes are 2-3 days a week, no seasons and no breaks.

For a child of 5 or 8 or 12 years old, it can be hard for them to fathom doing an activity for that long. Parents often ask us, “What if my child loses interest?” And kids do lose interest.

Some students quit for the perfectly legitimate reason that they got what they needed from the experience, and they are ready to move on to something else.

Most of the time, though, kids “lose interest”, because they have some shitty days.

They still love jiu jitsu, but they’re learning a tough lesson for the first time: being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

And that is how they learn grit and resilience.

If at any point you wanted to quit being creative, what was the reason? Was it because you got what you needed from the experience? Or was it because shit got hard?

When you endure your obstacles, critics, rejections, and shitty days, those are opportunities to be comfortable in the uncomfortable.

If you quit in those moments, then you are missing out on the opportunity to be an artist. Those are the moments that make you.

You may be one of those people who experienced the uncomfortable before you could build up your Confidence Bank Account, an accumulation of the good experiences that make you confident in your art.

Last week’s post on whether creativity can be taught was probably not what you expected. It’s not like learning a trick for memorizing the multiplication tables in arithmetic or the reflexive verbs in French. It was more about how you approach the work.

And if you approach this work with the dedication that you’re going to put your butt in the chair and show up even when you don’t want to, then you will be creative.

Creativity is a lesson in resilience and grit. The more you endure, the more you are able to endure.

Too many people want to know how to find their passion, but too few know what they need to do to keep it.

Your passion is the thing you can’t live without. You need your passion the same way you need oxygen. You are willing to crawl through broken glass because that is less painful than living without it.

Love of the work is how you endure. Love of the work gives you a reason that is bigger than the rejection, obscurity, and creative blocks. Love of the work earns you the confidence, grit, and resilience.

That’s the good stuff right there. Nothing and nobody can take that from you.

When you have love of the work, you can take the bad with the good, the downs with the ups, and the failures with the success.

When shit gets hard, buckle down, accept the challenge, and fight like an artist.

There’s more. I am building a community of highly creative people. Join me on Patreon and download your guide to the “6 Habits of Highly Creative People”. This is just one of the many perks I give to my Patrons 🧡.

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