Happiness is overrated?
The painting "Pond" continues. I often ask myself why the struggle toward perfection is, for me, a constant. Working well means total immersion, time disappears and the march toward perfection is accomplished. Is this happiness? I often think happiness is best found in moments when I look at an accomplishment and feel, "That is good." This sound Biblical, as I believe God felt this way after creating the universe (as depicted in the book Genesis, but don't quote me on this as my religious knowledge is limited). In any case, on Tuesday October 5 Tony Schwartz wrote a guest blog at Harvard Business Review entitled “Happiness is Overrated.” Schwartz is the author of "The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working" and CEO of "The Energy Project." In the blog Schwartz wrote:
“Paradoxically, when we seek happiness as the ultimate state, we’re destined to be disappointed. Absent unhappiness, how would we even recognize it? If we’re fortunate, happiness is a place we visit from time to time rather than inhabit permanently. As a steady state, it has the limits of any steady state: it’s not especially interesting or dynamic. … [It turns out] that pain and discomfort are critical to growth, and that achieving excellence depends on the capacity to delay gratification.
When we’re living fully, what we feel is engaged and immersed, challenged and focused, curious and passionate. Happiness — or more specifically, satisfaction — is something we mostly feel retrospectively, as a payoff on our investment. And then, before very long, we move on to the next challenge.”
I feel similarly in my making of art.
Yesterday "Pond moved closer to completion. The fat lady's body and the head of the middle figure are just about finished. I better not predict a finish date again, as I continues to be surprised with the amount of time this painting requires. I promise just this: "Pond" will be completed. Otherwise, two drawings were made. I like them both. They both felt good while being made (happiness?). Yes, maybe happiness resides in knowing and feeling while doing, as I sensed while making these drawings. "Pond" does not feel good while making, it feels like work. Most of my drawings do feel good while being made. I believe I will feel "happiness" when "Pond" is completed and completed well. So, there are different kinds of happiness. If you have read all of this blog today I hope you feel some satisfaction despite my leaving you with more questions than answers. Here are the drawings from yesterday:
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