You Can Only Count On Trying
Jonatha Brooke is one of my favourite singer-songwriters. Her albums Steady Pull and Back In The Circus helped me get through my years in India, the soundtrack to a period of great personal change, playing as I drove through Delhi’s crowded, bustling streets, or in the background, as I sat on the verandah watching the afternoon light filter through the dust and settle on the teak trees around my home.
Reading Jonatha’s site recently, I found part of an interview where she talks about songwriting.
“You can only count on trying. It can be torture. It’s really hard. You just have to keep getting back in there, hitting that song again. I mean, you go to Nashville and you see what a craft it is and how hard people work. And they’re just getting in there, hitting it, day after day. It’s intense. But beautiful. And I just can’t quit it!!!”
We’re taught, from an early age, to focus on the goal, the reward, the payoff. Having something to show for our efforts always feels good. But, we can’t always be certain, when we set about creating something, that the results will be there. For all sorts of reasons we might not manage to transform ideas into reality, or sometimes the thing we make turns out to be not all that special or appealing.
The struggle, however, will always be there, waiting. You can count it. That’s why it’s so important to love the process of what we do, to respect the time it takes, to accept the frustrations and learn to find joy in the work, not just in the rewards that might come from the work. Because the rewards are not always there.
This might sound like a recipe for drudgery, but it’s actually the opposite, it’s liberating. This is one of ways to find real happiness. Instead of “living for the weekend,” this is the path to enjoying the seven-day a week reality of our existence; by learning to love the craft of what we do.
Do the work, hope for the rewards but remember, you can only count on trying.