What is it that drives us to succeed? What is it that feeds our thirst to survive? Meaningful questions? Rhetorical questions? Maybe? More questions? Yes.

How many times have you looked out thinking that you are almost there to only realize that the destination is not at the end of that tunnel’s light, but it is just beyond the (next) horizon? The world of an artist is never ending, yet, one craves for a destination. For an emerging artist that destination may be getting a part in a stage production, or perhaps as an intern or any employment in the creative industry for that matter.

But what happens when that destination is elusive for that young artist as the struggle mounts to find meaningful employment? The years tick on. Do you still wait or do you still look and work towards the end of the tunnel?

Recently, an opinion was discussed that being an optimist is not the ideal view; rather one should be a realist. An optimist will keep saying that all will be right. But what happens when it is not all right? The optimist will keep at it. A realist on the other hand will digest what is at hand and circumnavigate to make it work. In short, a realist understands that if option A is not working, then it is not all right. A new approach is therefore needed. It is time to go with option B or next option in order to reach the end of the tunnel. With that in mind, what do you see when you look at this picture of the mountain goat? How did the goat get there? The goat desired something and it got there – it reached its destination. Which path did the goat follow – that of an optimist or realist?

When does an artist make that reality check to push on or stop? Does one continue being an optimist or face reality and call it quits? What factors will contribute to that decision?

Where do artists stand on this?

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The image used is from the November 2010 issue of National Geographic. Photo by Joel Sartore.

Text by David Quammen:
“Mountain goats in Montana’s Glacier National Park may travel thousands of feet a day – vertically. This one descended a sheer rock wall to lick salt and other exposed minerals. Nutrients that aren’t as available during the long winter may trigger the hankering”.



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