THE ATTITUDE OF THE ARTIST
Artists solve problems and build things. They believe in freedom and voluntary mutual help. To be accepted as an artist, you must behave as if you had this kind of attitude yourself. And to behave as if you had that kind of attitude, you really need to believe it.
But if you think that adopting the attitude of an artist is only one way to be accepted into the culture of artists, then you have missed the essential point: we must believe in these principles to derive personal motivation to continue learning. As with all creative arts, the most effective way to become a model is to mimic the mood of models – not only intellectually but also emotionally.
So to become an artist, repeat the following sentences until you actually believe them:
1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
It’s great fun to be an artist, but it is a fun activity which requires a lot of effort, and motivation. Champion athletes get their motivation from a physical pleasure to perform with their body, to overcome their own physical limits. Similarly, to be an artist you must feel some excitement to solving problems, sharpening skills, exercising your intelligence.
If this way of thinking is not natural to you, it must become so if you want to become an artist. Otherwise, you’ll find that your energy will disperse towards distractions like sex, money, or social recognition.
You also need to develop some faith in your own learning capacity even if you do not know what it takes to solve a problem; if you solve only part and you learn something, then you will successfully solve the next section, and so on until the problem is resolved.
2. Nobody should ever have to solve the same problem twice.
Creative brains are a valuable and limited resource. Do not ruin it by reinventing the wheel when there are so many fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
To behave like an artist, you must convince yourself that the thinking time of other artists is valuable to the extent that it is for you a moral obligation to share information, solve problems and give solutions so that other artists can solve new problems instead of constantly returning to the same.
(It is not necessary to believe you have to give out all your creative output, although the most respected artists are the ones who do. It is quite compatible with the values of the artist to sell a sufficient portion to pay for food, rent and computers, support the family or even get rich, as long as you never forget that you are an artist during this time.)
3. Routine and boredom are unacceptable.
Artists (and creative people in general) should never focus on boring or repetitive tasks, because it means they are not doing what only they can do: solving new problems.
To behave like an artist, you must be convinced enough to automate the boring parts of your work, not only for yourself but also for others (especially other artists).
(There is one apparent exception to this rule. Artists will sometimes do things that seem repetitive or boring to an observer to empty the mind or to acquire a new skill, or for a special experience, but it is always by choice: a person capable of thought should never be forced to do a boring job).