The most brilliant minds of history have imbued humanity with an appreciation for creation, their work illuminating a path on the perennial quest for knowledge. Some of these individuals inherited supreme talent whilst others worked tireless to fasten their genius. Regardless of innate capabilities, in order to achieve one must, as Voltaire suggested, cultivate their own garden. Habitually the public observes intellectual and artistic figures without consideration of the time necessary to engender a masterpiece, missing the essential element of achievement – sustained patient effort.
Michelangelo was sure his work wouldn’t seem wonderful if people knew how hard he toiled on his craft, unfortunately, this is a common trend with the masses focusing too much on the result and ignoring the process required for manifestation. To extend the boundaries of what’s known, contemplation must ascend higher than the quotidian. By allowing imagination to open their minds, the greats demolished limitations of what was thought possible. When learning becomes a lifestyle one seeks acquaintance with what’s yet to be discovered.
In the 21st century civilization has found a way to synthetically commodity nearly everything, in the process the appreciation of nuance has depleted with people wanting exact results now. This approach to existence, stemming from the progress of the past few centuries, has lead society to base intelligence on test scores rather than aptitude at applying information. With the answer being merely right or wrong, many who foster the potential for greatness allow it to slip away due to the encumbrance of expectation. Within everyone resides latent intellect and creativity, yet the mind needs to recognize its own potential.
Imbedded with the most advanced conscious of all earthly animals, humans have the ability to change their attributes through concentration on and refinement of skill. Our development is a continual process and learning allows an individual to acquire new information, enlarging their perception of reality. To learn is to grow and without exposing ourselves to new ideas we can never extend past our current intellectual audit.
An interest in learning habitually galvanizes a fascination with living. As children our curiosity encourages us to smell, taste, touch everything coming between our peripherals. Growing older, most untether their connection to the inner child as interest in life centres on only what is denoted “necessary”. When one acquires an appetite for contemplation that deep inquisitiveness known in youth is provoked, the mystique of life is again ignited and encourages investigation. With activation of intrigue learning is rightfully witnessed as an integral means of advancement, as Samurai philosopher Myamoto Musashi stated, “Once you know the way broadly you will see it in everything.”
Pushing many greats into an expedition of consciousness is a predilection for wondering. Not settling for regurgitating words, the curious thinker intends to gain true cognizance by building further analysis on what was previously recognized. Wonder allows the mind to imaginatively open ushering in influences from a multitude of realms, observing patterns, one can engender new theories and test their legitimacy in reality. Every time ‘I wonder’ comes to mind it seeks information; with the question asked, an answer can be pursued.
Effort is the catalyst of achievement; even if one has the appropriate tools, when applied erroneously the work will loiter in inferiority. It’s what one does when no one’s watching defining the person they become. Excellence will remain out of reach to those neglecting their garden.
When one hears the name of greats echoing through history they often take them to be supreme humans, those who have been selected by the gods to bequeath the world brilliance, however, whilst many may have been immortalized in statues, before they were stone they were flesh. What separates the ordinary from extraordinary is the decision to become exceptional, they didn’t wait for providence to arrive but went out into the world and attained what they had already claimed inside their mind.
With bare basic education yet a curiosity towards the arts, Leonardo Da Vinci began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice for famed Florentine artist, Andrea del Verrocchio. Whilst starting with rudimentary work, over the next two decades he persevered meticulously on his craft and, being in a hub for the humanities, developed a strong intrigue in the many fields of the human experience. Having established an interest in knowledge and learning he was able to transfer his skills from one sector to the next, from painting to architecture, machinery to sculpting, and did so with virtuosity. He was the true embodiment of the Renaissance man.
An anecdote shared by a women told the habits of her brother. He read everything in the house, magazines, encyclopaedias, letters, food labels, instruction manuals, nothing was off limits. Spending hour upon hour engulfed in the linguistic form enabled the formation of talent inside this inquisitive young man. As he matured the time came for him to devote himself entirely to his artistic quest and is said to have written 5-6 hours a day. Sure, his gift may have resided before he started writing, but it wasn’t until he applied consistent effort did light finally shine upon it.
The man’s name – Ernest Hemingway.
With the introduction of Jimi Hendrix to the world the 60’s zeitgeist was forever changed. Arguably the greatest guitarist to walk the earth, Jimi was self taught and received his first guitar at the age of 15. Spending hours listening to Muddy Waters, B.B King and Howlin’ Wolf inspired him to spend further hours creating his own interpretation of sound. Although working with famed musicians, he wasn’t getting recognition he deserved in the U.S and moved to London; enter the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The only way he was able to become a supreme shredder was utilizing time to hone his craft and having faith in what he was creating.
Those who have become great possessed an aptitude for overcoming adversity by turning problems into challenges, using obstacles to fuel the fire of endeavour. Discomfort yields growth, but when one develops an affinity for the benefits of discomfort, real maturation can occur.
The names of the greats still echo not because of a single talent but an ability to manifest imagination, the application of sustained effort ensuring their achievement. Not everyone can be a genius, yet all can extract an essence of excellence by committing to their ambitions. With the tools at current disposal it’s auspicious to seek out knowledge for oneself, by making learning a hobby the world becomes an increasingly intriguing place.
The greats have cultivated their gardens and left prime fertilizer for us to tend to our own. In routinely examining their work the dormant intellectual and creative seeds inside can be watered and, with nurture, bloom.
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