If the many legends surrounding Mozart’s genius are to be believed - and why not I guess, right? - then I’d say that Austria’s original wunderkind struggled very little, if any, in perfecting his musical talents. He simply placed his teeny baby fingers onto the harpsichord, or laid a freshly inked quill to parchment and ‘presto!’ out spilled a beautiful sonata, requiem mass, opera, or . . . you name it.
Sure, Mozart’s music is very good - perhaps even the pinnacle of classical greatness depending on whose opinion you take - but what does his Life have to teach me, and the untold millions of other aspiring artists all around the world, about slogging away day after day, year in and year out, all in the hopes of realizing one’s true creative ability the old fashioned way: mainly lots of blood, sweat and tears? Zilch. Nada. Not a damn thing.
Prodigies Need Not Apply
When talent comes easily, or in Mozart’s case - way too easily - where’s the heartache man? What about the fervent daily hardship? Or how about those dark moments when you start to doubt your abilities? The dogged determination that seems to rise from the ashes, pushing you along to be your best? Where’s the connection I’m supposed to feel with this fellow artist across the ages who never gave up on himself no matter how distant the goal seemed? Sorry, but when it comes to Mozart, it just isn’t there . . . prodigies don’t carry a lot of value with me.
Yes, Mozart has given countless other composers plenty to shoot for in terms of ‘what’s possible’ within the realm of musical creation and should therefore be studied and analyzed to death. But if you’re considering comparing your skills against his, then I’d strongly advise you against doing that. In fact, let’s just say that comparing yourself to anyone out there is a really dumb idea. Dumb . . . and potentially deadly.
Fall In Love With Your Trip
Lots of people have given up on their dreams because they made the mistake of comparing themselves to another person. I made a habit of this when I was kid, tossing half-completed drawings into the garbage simply because they didn’t measure up to what I’d seen in books. I’ll admit, in some cases comparing yourself against another can ignite a sense of inner determination that spurs you forward . . . but in most cases, they just end-up draining your resolve by making you feel ‘less than.’
It’s takes tons of hard work, an equal amount of stubborn dedication, and a lot of faith in oneself to become really good at anything . . . writing, painting, photography, badminton, yoga, meditation . . . all of it. Constantly reminding yourself that all endeavor’s - whether they fall under the ‘artistic’ umbrella or not - are a process of gradual development that unfolds slowly over time will help keep you grounded in the only moment that counts - this one.
Learn to love the journey itself - along with wherever you happen to be right now - and you won’t trouble yourself with pointless comparisons . . . mostly because you’ll be too busy with your own work to even care about what someone else is doing. Besides, no matter how skillful you become, there’s always going to be someone else who’s considered ‘better’ than you anyway . . . so why weigh yourself down with the opinions of others? That’s a weight that far too many people schlep around over the course of their entire lives. And trust me, all it does is weaken you from the inside out.
The world doesn’t need another Mozart, O’Keeffe, Dimaggio, or Hitchcock. . . one of each was enough. Sure, go ahead and welcome their skills and achievements to inspire you, but then resist comparing yourself to them and instead honor your own journey by gently allowing yourself to become the very first YOU that ever was or ever will be. That’s what the world needs more than anything . . . YOU, in all your unique beauty.
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