“Then there is that charming story of Hokusai, the great Japanese painter and maker of woodcuts around 1800. Once somebody asked him for a painting of a rooster. He said, ‘Okay, come back in a week.’ When the man came, he asked for postponement; two weeks more. Then again, two months, then half a year. Then after three years the man was so angry, that he refused to wait any longer. Then Hokusai said that he would have it there and then. He took his brush and his paper and drew a beautiful rooster in a short time. Then the man was really furious. Why do you keep me waiting for years if you can do it in such a short time? ‘You don’t understand,’ said Hokusai, ‘come with me.’ And he took the man to his studio, and showed him that all the walls were covered with drawings of roosters he had been doing over the last three years. Out of that came the mastery.
The lesson [here] is that even improvisation and so-called spontaneous achievements can only be the result of hard work. No artist can ever reach the top if he does not start his day with rehearsing, a painter drawing for a few hours, a musician practising, anybody studying. Genius is not enough.”
There’s something so satisfying about having planned an event, having been assigned to a difficult task, and seeing it through – without it being a complete failure. The feeling of stress is completely gone, and I’m able to look back and see how quickly things came together with a bit of advice and planning. It seemed impossible, but all it really took was a little bit of time and care and effort. You really never know what you’re capable of until you have to do it. That’s a wonderful thing.