How bad do you want to be good?

I wrote this three years ago and the message still rings true so I decided to repost it.

A simple question with a difficult answer. This question was posed to me by an ad for School of Visual Art’s Continuing Education a few years back. At first it meant nothing to me, just another poster on the way to work. During the course of riding the train each morning and reading the question it sank in and began to eat at my creative subconscious.

How bad did I want to be good? What was I really doing to get better? Was the industry not seeing my talent or am just I complaining? As I pondered these questions I realized that I had began to feel like the industry owed me success because I was talented & gifted. I was destined for greatness because my work was amazing and untouchable. That’s when I realized I had gone too deep.

As artists, designers and creative people, our ego fuels our innovation, drives our ambition and sustains our confidence. It also creates false realities to balance us out during the low points. Unchecked the ego can make you percieve that you are more skilled than you really are which at this point you become complacent & content with your skill level.

Once you become content with yourself you can level off and disregard any need to pursue improvement because “you nice, son.” Truth is you suck, you’re lying to yourself and quietly you know it. You’ve just become so comfortable that you’re too afraid or too lazy to do anything about it. Step back from your work, soak it in, critique it and tell me its the realest work you ever wrote/drew/coded…

So I ask you? How bad do you want to be good? Are you reading blogs about Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity? Or are reading about Chris, Rihanna, Angelina and Paris? When was the last time you bought a book about your craft? Went to a lecture by an innovator of your industry? What are you spending free time doing: partying or perfecting? Studying or sleeping?

No one will ever drive or motivate you, more than yourself. When next you look in the mirror. Look yourself in the eye and ask yourself “how bad do you wanna be good?” The answer just might surprise you.

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