Tenacity is an essential quality for artists, and is often contextually oversimplified and solely attributed to the experience of overcoming hardship for personal gain through tangible victories--however, it is a complex quality that necessitates and cultivates an active engagement with an artist’s craft and a self-awareness that is critical in navigating the highs and lows of a creative career. Tenacity is an artist’s ability to maintain a firm grasp of individual creativity and creative vision through seasons of change—resulting in continued artistic growth and enlightenment.
Although tenacity is traditionally considered necessary in the face of hardship and defeat, it is equally as important in the face of success—per the common adage within the entertainment industry: “You’re only as good as your last hit.” Throughout the arc of an artist’s creative development, the quality of tenacity belies a love for winning or a “love for the game”, and fuels and informs a desire for personal and creative evolution, achieved through the continual resurrection and redefining of an artist’s creative vision. Tenacity engineers a continual evolution in the life of an artist, anchoring them in the present, as they continue to sharpen their craft against the peripheral victories and/or failures of past projects or endeavors.
Within scripture, the Apostle Paul shared his strategy for acquiring and maintaining tenacity. Before his active spiritual engagement, as a follower of Christ, he lived a blameless life of religious perfection according to Jewish culture as a Pharisee and a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin. In order to successfully embark on his new life as an apostle and leader within the Church, he made a practice of regularly acknowledging the illusion of his past perfection in order to allow room for his continued growth. He exercised the following personal mandate:
“Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above.”
Similarly, the practice of forgetting the past and running straight for the goal—or creative vision—similarly cultivates a focus and tenacity that fosters continual growth and maturation of individual artistic talent—as it prevents the sedentary contentment of past achievements or the stagnation of hopelessness from previous failures to take root.
The active practice of tenacity facilitates and maintains the consistent engagement of an artist with their craft, while engineering the evolution of their gift and its expression towards timely reinvention.