Learning Causes Curiosity

One thing that the practice of art has taught me, is that learning new info or techniques is the most invigorating thing to your art practice. This is a pure internal response. Unlike extrinsic motivators like money and deadlines, curiosity can ignite your work ethic and experimental standards from where you were before. Whether you felt you were plateauing or not.

Learning causes curiosity. Curiosity causes experimentation. Say you are a musician playing a new instrument. You already come with a set of knowledge that makes you proficient enough to play something decent on a new instrument very fast. This usually spurs an excitement that leads you to play and test your ideas freely. This is similar to an artist with a new medium, a rock climber on a rock face they have never seen, a computer engineer learning the latest code. This is what they call "the zone".

Experimentation causes refinement. Now you go with a slower pace. Enough time has passed that the initial excitement from  months ago is no longer strong enough to make you work all night. You have made enough bad experiment drawings to realize you aren't the master of the art. It holds you hostage. Staring at you with higher expectations for their siblings. You now work with much less ignorance but not necessarily more confidence.

Refinement causes confidence. This is a scary step to me. This one comes and goes. This step is solely based on self perception and I personally think we allow this to hold us back. For example, someone graduates from high school, they have a high confidence because of all the wonderful things they learned and how young and beautiful they are. Within 2 years, the self esteem has faded because of the lack of respect gained in the school or place of employment. They thought doctor was right after high school if they learned calculus. Many of us probably feel these ups and downs a few times, every year.

Confidence humbled causes outward thinking. Now that you have reached a point where your skill, or new skill, is highly rated and you have been pushed off of your high horse enough, you aren't as focused on yourself. Yes you will improve. Yes, you will make sure you can pay your bills, but at this stage that should be resolved. Think of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. After your basic concerns are met, you can being thinking of bigger ideas, societal changes, politics, and so on. This period is a gift. Love it. Use it. Be your unapologetic best.