Everything you do requires a choice. What you spend your time on is a decision to not spend time on something else. Some of the things you spend your time on, regrettably, have the effect of foreshortening the amount of time you have left. All of your activities come at a price, expressed in lost opportunity of one sort or another.
I get a little frustrated when I see artists dismissed as lazy, but talented. What annoys me is that it pre-supposes that their laziness is not a deliberate, legitimate choice, often for exceptionally good reasons. It suggests that a person’s worth is measured by the extent to which they apply their talents. Just being, it is asserted, is not enough. You must be something. I don’t agree.
It’s none of anybody else’s business how a person chooses to spend their time. Being talented does not oblige you to do nothing other than develop and exploit that talent, to the exclusion of all else, especially if the implication is that you owe it to others. No you don’t. It’s your life. You can do whatever you want with it, regardless of other people’s demands and expectations. You weren’t born to serve audiences, at the expense of pursuing other fulfilling things, while you’re alive. Who needs that kind of pressure?
So, most of us are talented, but lazy. And that’s OK. If you have many talents, that doesn’t single you out for a purgatory life of frenzied development of every talent you have, to world-class accomplishment standards. The joy may be in being goodish at a lot of things. So what, if you’re terrible at some of them?
You also don’t have to give up on things you love to do, just because you only have time to work hard enough to excel at only one of your talents. Choosing to spread your time out, over the many things you can spend your time on and derive enjoyment from, rather than focusing on being outwardly successful at just one of them, is a perfectly valid life choice.
If you work hard on your talent and find yourself enjoying it less and less, you’re allowed to quit. It’s not compulsory. Just because you have a talent doesn’t mean you have to stick at it forever, especially if it becomes a chore. Sometimes, laziness is just taking time out from working on your talent, until it becomes fun again. This is a perfectly good reason for laziness.
Becoming more talented takes really hard work. You have to make sacrifices. That means less time with those you love, less recreation, less reading for pleasure, fewer trips away just to experience new surroundings, less time taking care of your health and less sleep. You’ll probably dance less too, unless dancing is the talent you are working to improve. Those are all consequential losses. You can work really hard on developing your talent, but don’t ignore and diminish the importance of what you’re giving up.
Being less lazy is also something you can work at, but that’s a choice that demands sacrifices too. You’re not a machine, put on earth to be productive, but otherwise of no worth. That’s a narrow, utilitarian viewpoint, propagated by those that profit from your sweat. Sometimes, your very presence is all your loved ones need. It doesn’t matter that you’re not cranking out brilliant, creative masterpieces at the time. It really doesn’t.
How tragic to reach a point, in your life, where you feel you’re surplus to humanity, unless you continue to exhibit and improve your one most outstanding talent. You’re worth much more than that.
If you decide to work hard at something, it turns out that it’s easier to get less lazy, more brave and to obtain greater clarity about your fears, your work, your values and your purpose or mission, than it is to get more talented. That’s your choice too, but there will be sacrifices that must be made, no matter what you choose.
There is so much more to life than being productive and displaying your talent, the whole damn time. You can choose to remain as you are, if that allows you the time to do all the other things that make you happy and fulfilled. Don’t measure yourself solely by the number and quality of the artifacts you leave behind. Consider how much of your love, empathy, connection and wisdom you were able to share.
At some point, staying alive a while longer, with an adequate quality of life, surpasses the need to crank out one more fine, creative work. Who is to say that is wrong, or lazy? What does it matter if you neglect your talent, while you pay attention to this? Your talent evaporates, when you’re dead, so focusing on staying well preserves your talent anyway. Without life, it’s gone, no matter how outstanding it was.
Spending all your time dedicated to turning the planet into waste, through consumption of art materials, so that you look talented and not lazy, is actually the height of insanity, akin to burning the furniture and the fabric of the house, to keep warm. Encouraging others to consume yet more of what you make, so that your talent develops and you can’t be accused of idle indolence, is just as mad.
You need to experience all of life, not just the expression of your talents. Always be mindful of the sacrifices.