The following was from a Robert Genn newsletter. You can subscribe to his newsletters at http://painterskeys.com/ . They are always thought provoking and informative.
Not long ago the popular business coach John Di Lemme broadcast a simple idea that applies to anyone wishing to succeed. It goes like this:
"I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed--you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men, and, alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man. You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin--it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am a habit!"
Favourable habits reap favourable results. It seems that simple habits contribute more to success than luck, happenstance, or even a favouring economy. Further, recent studies on the nature of genius indicate that self-generated habits are mighty muscles indeed. While all of us who wish to master specific skills need to tailor our habits accordingly, here are a few for starters:
Squeeze out paint in the morning before your coffee is cold.
Program creative work balanced with rest, exercise and study.
Train yourself to be regular, punctual and workmanlike.
Shoot down your lazy tendencies before they shoot you.
Do whatever it takes to honour your personal perception of quality. This may mean slowing down, speeding up, multitasking, single-tracking, going back to basics, being risky, being cautious, dreaming, concentrating, winging it or even reading the instructions.
Apparently, one of the most common bad habits these days is not reading the instructions. This can apply to artists. We need to regularly refresh the habit of truly looking, truly seeing and truly understanding. No big deal. It's just a habit.
PS: "Our natures are alike; it is our habits that carry us far apart." (Confucius) "We are what we repeatedly do." (Aristotle)
Esoterica: John Di Lemme was a 24-year-old stutterer working in his family art gallery who dreamed of becoming a motivational speaker.. Over a seven-year period of hardships, challenges and obstacles, John focused on his dream and ultimately built a marketing team of over 25,000 representatives in 10 countries. His idea was simple: with the right habits one could see progression to a higher state. In the words of the great art mentor and teacher Robert Henri, "If a certain activity, such as painting, becomes the habitual mode of expression, it may follow that taking up the painting materials and beginning work with them will act suggestively and so presently evoke a flight into the higher state."