“Art as expression, not as market campaigns”

The title of this post is in quotes because I didn’t make it up… it’s a lyric from the song “Natural Science” by Rush.  It actually popped into my head today as I watched a landscaper carefully shape some ground cover plantings with a weed wacker.

Jasmine ground cover (similar to the stuff my guy was working on)

He was taking such care, yet his movements looked effortless.  The end result was quite stunning and I thought, “this guy’s an artist”.  Maybe not in the painter/musician/dancer/poet terms of the word, but certainly in terms of someone who cares about what he is doing, i.e. his craft.

So then I thought, couldn’t we all elevate our craft to the artist level?  To me it starts with understanding the definition of the word “art” (from Dictionary.com)

Art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

I think there are three words or phrases that pop out no matter what your chosen craft might be (i.e painter, musician, leader, salesperson, writer, carpenter, teacher, landscaper, insert any profession here).

They are:

Quality – We all want to do quality work, but is that a sliding scale?  Your quality will be measured against others and by others.  But, it’s imperative for you to measure the quality of your output based on it’s relationship to your previous efforts. Is your quality getting better?  If so, you are moving in the right direction.

Appealing – We all need our work to appeal to someone, but will it appeal to everyone?  Certainly as a musician or painter, the answer will be no, and that’s okay.  You may have a narrow niche audience for your craft, but if you consistently provide a high quality product, they will be a loyal bunch. What this looks like for a leader, for example, is being able to adapt your style to appeal to the various individuals you will be leading.  You need them to be loyal so you can produce a quality product.

…Of more than ordinary significance – This is the kicker. We can provide quality and appeal to our audience, but what’s the significance?  In other words, who cares?  And more over, who cares more than an ordinary amount?  When YOU care more than an ordinary amount, it shows in your work. When that amount of attention is given to providing an experience, service, or product to someone else, they can’t help but notice and appreciate the effort you have put in. They may even call it stunning. They may even call you an artist.

If you haven’t made a plan improvement for 2015 yet, feel free to use this as your guide.  Elevate your quality and appeal, and deliver more than ordinary significance in everything you do.  Can’t wait to see what you can accomplish!

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!!




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