Creating something of value requires sacrifice. Whenever a pursuit produces admirable results – directing a hit movie, writing a book that changes lives, exploring an uncharted forest, climbing the world’s highest mountain, raising a child to be a good person, with talent and values …
These results are paid in blood, sweat and tears. Behind each of these achievements is a story of sacrifice. Sacrifice of health, or fortune, or personal relationships, or career, or many other things, and probably a combination of several of them.
There are many people who are not willing to make the sacrifice. That’s why the world is full of mediocre art, amateur sportsmen, unfinished and unremarkable people.
But that’s alright. No one is forced to sacrifice that which they do not want to sacrifice. There is no expectation that each person should produce something of unique, significant value to the world.
But do know that this is a decision that you must make at some point in your life – and be aware that there is price to pay.
There is a rhythm in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. There is a rhythm in the Way of the merchant, of becoming rich and of losing one’s fortune, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling rhythm.— Musashi Miyamoto, The Book fo Five Rings
The rising and falling – fortune and misfortune, life and death, happiness and misery. No king rules forever. Life is a sequence of rising and falling, of death and rebirth.
During your life, if you are learning and growing, you will rise and fall many times. If you try to build a fortress around yourself to prevent the fall, you will not grow – and you will inevitably fall anyway.
And when you get out from under the rubble, and you see the world outside the fortress after so many years of self-imposed exile … Will you recognise it?
It’s all about training and all the time, but it’s not all about the work. The craftsman keeps his tools sharp by enjoying yourself, something you could take into account in your own art – going back to having fun with it instead of constantly doing it out of responsibility and toward grand designs.
Something can be both serious and fun at the same time, and indeed it must be if you intend to reach any meaningful level of skill.
Playing the right games makes your tools sharper.