Be the Best at Whatever You Do

You don’t need to be an artist to be the best at whatever you do. Just try to do your best with whatever means that you have.

“Art when really understood is the province of every human being.

It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing.

When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.

The world would stagnate without him, and the world would be beautiful with him; for he is interesting to himself and he is interesting to others. He does not have to be a painter or sculptor to be an artist. He can work in any medium. He simply has to find the gain in the work itself, not outside it.”

Robert Henri

This is the first paragraph written in The Art Spirit by Robert Henri and its meaning is reflected throughout the book. Henri urges, not just artists, but all people of all trades to do the best they can at what they do. All of us can be creative, all of us can be an artist. Because art is not about drawing, painting, sculpture, or any of those materials. Art is about expression and all of us can express the best of ourselves in whatever we do.

The quote reminds me of a similar quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The recording of his speech below is so powerful that it enlights a creative energy in me that, I hope, is not easily quenched.

“Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.’

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill be a scrub in the valley, but be the best little scrub. On the side of the hill be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway just be a trail. If you can’t be the Sun be a star.

It isn’t by size that you win or you fail be the best of whatever you are.

When you do this you’ve mastered the length of life.”

Dr, Martin Luther King Jr.

Go out, do art, do it daily and be the best artist you can. Be a master with the skills you have.

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