In Show Your Work, Austin Kleon suggests adopting the spirit of an “Enthusiastic Amateur.”
This was a healthy concept for me because I became a “Stuffy Professional” early on as a music student.
The “Stuffy Professional” is bloated with ego — only on some grand stage can their art be experienced.
The Enthusiastic Amateur, on the other hand:
- Openly shares what they’re working on — more than willing to give anyone a ‘look under the hood’
- Is so excited, they don’t care what people think
- Can’t help but share what they learn, as they learn it
- Is energized more by process, than product
When I was in music school, I spent SO MUCH TIME in practice rooms, coachings, rehearsals, masterclasses, and lessons. Not once did I share any of that process.
But now when I return to music, it’s with a lighter — Enthusiastic Amateur — spirit.
With ego out of the way, I’m free to show the process…
And all the good stuff is in the process: insight, lessons, growth, and progress.
Amateurs [are] just regular people who get obsessed by something and spend a ton of time thinking out loud about it… Raw enthusiasm is contagious. The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.
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