Sunday, May 24, 2020

Want to Be Hot?

Experience is merely the name men give to their mistakes.

— Oscar Wilde

Blame Trophy Communism: in our everybody-gets-a-trophy culture, self-criticism is hard to come by. Which means a lot of weak work gets off the drawing board.

If you're a Trophy Capitalist, on the other hand, you don't worry: you know the market weeds out weaklings.

But self-criticism should be encouraged, if only to grease the market's skids.

Feeling shame about your work is just part of the game andas an old boss of mine always said"If you want the name, you gotta play the game."

This week, I had the pleasure of attending a Zoom meeting led by Andrew Wyeth's granddaughter and chronicler, Victoria

I asked her whether the artist ever destroyed work he wasn't happy with. Her answer was immediate: yes, like clockwork, every spring and fall Wyeth built a bonfire in his yard and burned work he wasn't happy with.

He didn't want it in the world.

Unless it stifles good work, self-criticism strengthens itDon't sweat your missteps, but, please, don't be so naive as to think they deserve a trophy.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and  difficulty," Teddy Roosevelt said.

You want to be hot? 

Build a bonfire.
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