The Athlete Vs The Artist

April 11th, 2012 | By


I don’t know one friggin’ thing about professional sports and I really don’t care. However, I have sat in about a bazillion sales trainings where we’ve done nothing but watch video compilations of Michael Jordan and Lance Armstrong with the hopes that we’ll get motivated.

The funny thing is . . . it actually works!

There’s just something about watching great athletes that makes me want to go out and work like a Puritan! Athletes rock when it comes to hard work, dedication and discipline. For some reason, great artists don’t really inspire these qualities as much.

Artists generally represent spontaneity, inspiration, and, often times, disorder. They sleep in. They wait around for ideas to pop into their heads, etc. (If you don’t agree with my analysis so far, go watch Rocky 4 and then immediately watch This Is Spinal Tap. Record your level of motivation to go out and work after watching each film).

Truth is, this perception is whack: great artists and creative people have to bust serious A to generate and develop their ideas. They have to have a strong athletic discipline if they want to create good work. Most good artists I know wake up early, schedule their time, save money, and stay healthy.

So, if you’re stuck as an artist, stop acting like an “artist!” Approach your work like you’re Usain Bolt or Kobe. If you’re an insanely good athlete who’s trying to take it to the next level, start approaching what you do like you’re Mozart.

Mix it up!

5 Responses to “The Athlete Vs The Artist”

  1. Robby Winterton says:

    It seems there’s a bit of Apollo (the disciplined athlete) and Dionysus (the wild rockstar) within each of us, a sort of yin and yang, polar complementary opposites or contrary forces which, like male and female, must learn to truly dance together for there to be a full realization of self-actualization. Rarely have I experienced this balance in my life, but looking back it seems to me it is in those moments when I have found this balance that are the moments when I’ve truly felt happy.

    This duality seems to exist all around us: the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night, the separation of land and sea, the creation of male and female, body and spirit, light and shadow, hot and cold, etc… Like I said, it seems that this duality exists all around us and that there is something to it that is important in it towards life, and purpose, and balance, and happiness. I assume there is both a disciplined athlete and a wild artist in all of us that when they learn to dance together brings about great fulfillment.

    • Ya, I agree. It’s as if athletes are viewed as agents who ACT upon their circumstances to bring about change, while artists are acted UPON by external forces (like inspiration) to create art. I think you need a healthy balance to become great at either.

  2. Horace Grimshaw says:

    Dude — this is totally awesome… Although it’s giving me pause since I have ZERO athletic discipline … I need to work on that.

    If you have a link to some of those Jordan / Armstrong videos you’ll have to post them for me to watch every morning to stay in the game.

  3. Artist says:

    I am an artist and watch Rocky movies non-stop. All of them. Always. Rocky was an artist. Discipline is an art.

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