Recently I’ve been watching a number of great documentaries about people who are masters in their fields. I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a thoroughly inspiring depiction of 85-year-old master sushi chef Jiro Ono and his lifelong passion and devotion to his craft; I watched a documentary about Drew Struzan, a master illustrator who has made some of the most well-known movie-posters of all time, like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, etc. Lastly, I watched a documentary about Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, a master at blurring the lines between art and politics. All highly recommended.
I love learning more about people who are exceptional, and have worked extraordinarily hard at attaining the level of excellence they’ve arrived at. Let’s face it: nobody gets to be a master without an unbelievable amount of energy and time put into perfecting a skill. Naturally, this is something I think about a lot, as an artist myself. I sometimes wonder how much effort I should put into perfecting my craft to become a true master… I certainly don’t work morning to night fine-tuning my singing, like Jiro Ono seems to do to this day when it comes to his sushi. I’m simply not as specialized in one area as he is, however much I would like to be. Yes, part of it has been that I’m easily distractible, but also I’m passionate about a number of things–one of them being life itself. Learning to live a well-balanced and healthy life are things that I’m incredibly passionate about right now.
So what am I saying? People, like the ones I mentioned are inspiring because they show us what can be done. For someone to break barriers, and go even further than those who came before displays what is possible, and makes it easier for the rest of us to exceed ourselves as well. The whole world improves because of these rare masters.
Mastery is incredible and awe-inspiring, and I often wish to attain it (and sometimes maybe I do!). My interests are perhaps too wide-spread for me to ever become a Jiro Ono, but there are still many things I can learn from him. I can learn to show up to do my work consistently; I can learn to simplify and organize my life; I can learn to put my best effort in every day, whatever I am doing, and I can learn to always keep growing and evolving. It is Jiro’s passion to create something new and mind-blowingly delicious every day, that keeps him going. Thus, whatever keeps me moving forward, I should follow that. Chances are those things will lead me to be more masterful at being Janita. Time will tell, what that means.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”