As I talk with business owners, the common thread to the discussion is that “grit”—passion and perseverance for long-term goals—is the key to their success. Why do so many of us think working with grit is easier said than done? I’d like to suggest that beauty has something to do with it.
What do I mean by beauty?
In my teens, I aspired to be like Yo-Yo Ma on cello. But I realized around age 19 that while I had great passion and relative skill to perform as a professional cellist—beauty!—I did not possess the necessary grit.
I am forever grateful for the years and hours spent becoming a cellist. That experience taught me much about the technology of mastery. “Technology” is literally the story of an art or technique. I learned one needs both grit and beauty to master the cello, tennis, or any anything worth doing.
Want to see grit in action?
Watch this video of Joshua Bell, one of the premier violinists of his generation, playing like a common street musician in the DC Metro:
Joshua Bell is a virtuoso violinist who commands thousands of dollars per MINUTE in Carnegie Hall performances. He plays an 18th-century Gibson Stradivarius worth tens of millions. When interviewed about his Metro experience, he reported, sheepishly, that he was at times even embarrassed at the indifference of hundreds who passed him by during his 43-minute performance. But oh, how beauty echoed through the Metro that day!
Click HERE for another way to describe the union of grit and beauty in a fabulous PBS special, “The Two Gentlemen from Cremona.”
Bell relates a story about what happens to him on the days he doesn’t want to practice. As he’s contemplating not practicing, he looks at his Gibson Stradivarius. He is drawn to the beauty of his Strad, sitting in her case, and cannot keep himself from lifting her gently from the case, raising her to his chin and…beginning to play. The hours of practice are the grit behind mastery. But both the beauty of the instrument itself and his inner commitment to continue toward that illusive asymptotic level of mastery keep him moving forward.
I have come to realize that my art is empowering others to be great “artists” at what they do—crafting “technology” businesses that reflect their unique genius and personality, despite the ongoing disruptions of the last decade. In the spirit of my art, please comment below to tell me if the tool below helps you become a better business owner.
Here’s a practical application of putting grit and beauty to work. Ask yourself these simple questions and take action now:
- Is the subject of my current complaint within my control? Can I actually change it? If so, see #2. If not, take out the head trash and don’t waste time on it!
- If it is within my control, when do I need to deal with it? If now, see #3. If later, schedule a date to address it and tell a friend or trusted advisor who will hold you accountable to this task.
- If I need to take immediate action upon this issue, what single next step do I take? How will doing this help me experience beauty?
What keeps you up at night? How do you know if it’s 1, 2 or 3 above?
Share with us the beauty that keeps you going!
Originally posted 2012-06-04 10:14:23.