Drive. Discipline. Dedication. The Olympics have got me thinking about these three things. It’s amazing to watch athletes achieve greatness through their own will. Their own determination. Drive, discipline and dedication come in to play in the lives of artists, too. Particularly when you start to think about the future, when it comes to making a career, having goals and trying to move forward in life. Which is the most important to succeed? Is one better than another? Is it possible to have elements of each?
I see Drive as a tank. You decide where you’re going in life and you go. You get in your tank and move forward with determination. If something or someone gets in your way, well, you’re in a tank. You keep moving forward. You are a machine. And I don’t equate that with heartlessness, though sometimes with a tank things do get flattened. It’s just that you move forward and you’re good at it. You have a job to do and a destination. I admire those who have drive, who set their sights on a destination and get there. I don’t have drive. I am not a tank.
I see Discipline as a narrow laser beam. You have one thing to do and you arrange your whole life around that one thing. Nothing else can fit into the path of that beam. There is room for only one thing. One goal. One decision. Those with discipline often have to make difficult choices. I watched an interview with an athlete who stated that this year was her last Olympics because she wanted to start a family. There’s no room for two goals in the beam. I watched a documentary about a very successful artist who completely ignored his family. No room in the beam. I admire those with discipline. Those who focus and never let the extraneous get in their way. I don’t have discipline. I do not write every day for a designated time period. I am not a laser beam.
I see Dedication as a field of flowers. Wild flowers as far as the eye can see. Not the most perfect, not manicured but there are so many you’re just amazed at the beauty that nature can bring. And when you feel that amazement, it’s important to you to never let anything get in the way of that feeling. You want to protect it, cherish it. You love being amazed. I am dedicated to being a writer. I love it, I cherish it, I am constantly amazed by it. It is my amazement (I get to write for a living! Isn’t that wonderful!) that makes me determined to write. I don’t have drive and I don’t have discipline. Sometimes I chastise myself for that. Maybe I could be a better writer, a more well known writer, a more financially sound writer if I did. Maybe I would find a stronger path through which to move forward with my writing. Who knows. So long as I am surrounded by the amazement of my craft, I’ll move forward in my own way.
Which are you? Are you driven? Do you have discipline? Are you dedicated? Which works best for you?