Hustle, grind, embrace the suck, making your bones. Learning how to put in the work has been one of the most beneficial practices I’ve learned yet, (though by no means perfected). Hard work on its own is no guarantee. Look at the lives of just about any artist, musician, or writer. Chances are, there were long periods of time when they were working at their chosen craft and little to nothing was coming of it. But because they put their time in, they were able to emerge later on with a clearer idea of themselves and their art than if they’d burst onto the scene with immediate success.
I think of it as the opposite of being a prodigy. Prodigies are marveled at for their tremendous talent, and it is a real talent, but it seems to me that people who learn how to grind are the ones with staying power. The beautiful thing is that anyone can learn to grind, all you need is time and the fire in your belly to move forward in the face of boredom, apathy, or even straight up rejection.
There’s nothing pretty about the grind. Usually, this is the part of the movie that gets turned into a montage. Tight editing tricks and an upbeat score make this part of the story race by, but it real life it can mean years of coming home smelling like hamburgers and fries, only to pick up where you left off on a project that may never see the light of day.
Don’t be afraid of grinding away, try to learn as much as you can about the life you’re living. Think of it as turning up the contrast in your life. Have you ever seen a photograph where it was obvious that the contrast was off somehow? (Yes, yes, I know that this can sometimes be a stylistic choice). Contrast is needed to bring depth to a work of visual art, otherwise, it can appear muddled and flat. The grind does this for your life. The grind brings the depth you need to draw on to make work that has depth and resonates on a personal level.
Learn to love the grind.