...serenity in motion

Don't balk, just persevere

I am a balker.  To anyone who has ever had horses, they understand what I am talking about.  Balking horses refuse to go through gates, jump when the are told or fight to go through water be they rivers or a simple puddle on a road.  A balking horse will go every except the one you need them to go. I have seen them jump sideways to avoid doing what they are told.

I can be like that too.  I don't think anyone is immune to balking.  Small kids do it because they are learning to be people.  Teenagers do it because they are learning to be independent.  Adults do it because they are taking ownership and feel they have earned the right to be independent and elderly balk because they refuse to be treated like children.

Artists are balky because they are independent by nature and have had to find their own way in business and art.  When someone comes along and says, "You know what you should do?"  I don't know of any artist who doesn't flinch when they hear that spoken.  It is one of the most common things quoted on artist forums as "annoying things people say".  The problem comes in when we are so balky we stop paying attention and refuse to listen to good advice.  Believe it or not, good advice can come from a whole bunch of different sources and some of them aren't artistic at all.

I was at an event and one of the patrons was trying to give the Executive Director advice.  The ED listened to her!  What a novel idea!  The fact that the patron had very good ideas was moot.  I have seen several ED's  ignore people solely because they wanted to keep the illusion of control.  (Controlling artists is like herding cats who paint, just give up and start drinking hard liquor now.)  This ED looked at me and said, "I don't think past EDs listened to her."  I hope this ED is around for a very long time.

Ulitimately, in any time; especially times like these, we need to listen to everything we can and try to make good changes to keep us going.  Business that dont pay attention to current trends and aren't willing to change will wither and die.  We may be artists first, but we need to stay in business so we aren't just creating as a hobby while we work for someone else.  I try to pay attention to my attitude, and when I feel like a horse standing at a water hazard refusing to cross; I reasses my thought process.  There are these words that run through my mind at a time like that, "Old cow, open gate, Move Damn IT!"  I laugh at myself and Cindy (inside joke) and adjust my way of thinking.  I want to be around longer than a puddle will last, so I close my eyes and jump.  Care to join me?