How a forward looking attitude can help keep inspiration coming
After you finish up a chapter in your creative life, do close the book, turn the page instead and move on to your next creative chapter. Your best work is still ahead of you and an outdated resume is a sign that you are still in the hunt for further inspiration and not ready to call it quits.
The best is yet to come
Imagine if Beethoven stopped after writing his first symphony. If he had said to himself (in German): “Well, that’s it for me on symphonies. This one is as good as I can possibly get, why go any further? I think I will become a gardener.” Think of a world without Beethoven’s Fifth. If old Ludwig had decided that his first one was the best he was ever going to come up with and decided not to move forward and discover the sounds capable of inspiring the world.
Or imagine if Shakespeare decided that his sonnets were enough to guarantee his legacy and decided not to embark on a career in the theatre? If he looked at his collection 154 poems and then said to himself (In the Queen’s English):“Well that’s enough iambic pentameters for me. Imagine a world of drama without Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet and the rest of the bard’s legendary folio. Think about how many new sparks of creative ideas and inspirations would be left unlit in this World without Shakespeare’s plays.
Or imagine if Clint Eastwood decided that being a legendary actor was enough to him and decided not to move on to directing his own features. If he said “Well, I pretty much capitalized on the whole squinty eyed cowboy thing, I might as well hang up my poncho and buy some investment property. We still might have a Dirty Harry, but it would be a dry cinema landscape without his significant contributions from behind the camera these last couple of decades…
Do not get me wrong, Beethoven’s First, Bill’s Sonnets and Clint’s Characters are all amazing creative achievements as is any creative accomplishment that any of us manages to finally achieve after time and toil. But imagine, if these three artists had simply stopped after their first forays into creativity and decided to never move on afterwards. It would be a world without the Fifth, without The Tempest, without Million Dollar Baby. It would be a world that felt only partially complete.
So if you finally got that first book written, or sold your first painting, or even got that promotion that you have been working so very hard for, great for you. You earned it. But do not let your accomplishment stop you from continuing to move forward. Your best work is still ahead of you, so after you finish up that first chapter of your creative life, do not close the book, turn the page instead and move on to the next creative chapter.