I always learn something new from children's bedtime stories.
One I especially like is from Aesop - The Crow and the Jug. And it resonated with me, because I see the exact opposite of this behavior all the time.
The story of the crow and the jug, in a nutshell, concerns a crow looking for water during a particularly dry summer.
She flies over a farmhouse and notices a jug sat outside, with a little water inside. She perches on the rim of the jug and tries to drink, but her beak can't reach.
So she tries leaning in. Doesn't work. She tries stretching out a wing. Doesn't work.
Eventually, she picks up a handful of small pebbles with her beak and drops them in the jug. She repeats. After a while, the pebbles start to fill the container, and the water rises to the top.
The crow drinks.
(And presumably doesn't die of thirst or get eaten by a cat).
The moral of the story? Where there's a will, there's a way.
So, why does this particular story totally 100% nail it?
I'll give you some examples. Ever heard anyone say:
- "Oh, I'd love to lose a little weight."
- "I wish I could give up smoking / drinking / carbs / insert unhealthy habit here."
- "I hate my job!"
Of course you have. The polite response is usually, "Me too!". But what I really want to know is, "What are you doing about it?"
Need water? Figure out a way to get some out of the jug.
(The jug is getting more and more metaphorical here...)
But you know what? People usually have excuses. Like:
- "I'd love to lose weight, but I don't have time for the gym - and I just love chocolate too much!"
- "I'd love to cut back on carbs, but I'm no good at cooking and I don't have time to learn how to eat better!"
- "I hate my job, but I guess the benefits are pretty good. And in this economy..."
And guess what? Nothing changes. Because we humans like to resist change. Our lizard brain tells us that unless we're actually dying, change isn't required. Because change might end up being worse.
But if you want something bad enough - if you crave it - you'll find a way. If you don't, then you probably didn't want it all that much to begin with.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
I sent out a survey email one time and asked my readers, "What's your #1 struggle?"
Around 300 replies later...most people said "Getting Art Sales" and "Growing Email List".
I'd love to have the time to ask all 300 people: "What are you doing about it?" but I physically can't hold that many simultaneous conversations (and I haven't perfected my cloning technique quite yet).
But I want to ask you that question now:
- Want to build your email list? What are you doing about it?
- More art sales? What are you doing about it?
- More blog readers? What are you doing about it?
- Want to get better at making your art? What are you doing about it?
- Want to manage your time better? What are you doing about it?
How would you respond? Reply to this blog post and let me know.
Here's what I know for sure: most people will do nothing about it and continue doing the same things over and over and over (or doing nothing at all).
But some people will latch onto an idea, or a strategy, or a concept they know will work for them, and put it into action.
These people won't let "I don't have the time", or "It sounds complicated" get in the way.
They will start today. And they won't stop until they've made it work. These people are the next generation of art stars.
Are you going to be one of them?
If so, tell us how you plan to do it in the comments below.