Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Attitude in the Making

When I was in Boston a few weeks back, I couldn't resist the temptation to stop in at least one used books store.

I entered into Commonwealth Books on Boylston Street, which overlooks Boston Commons. They had a tremendous selection of dusty old volumes. If you're a book lover, it's a great place to stop.

I ended up getting a rather new book - Abstracting Craft; The Practiced Digital Hand - about the transformation of computers from tools to help create artwork to a medium for art itself. What I found fascinating about it was the concepts it describes on how people interact with computers.

My reading list is shrinking, and it's moving its way towards the top. So, I can't provide any type of review of the book right now. But, I wanted to share the introductory quote from the book, which I thought was a good one:

The true workman must put his individualized intelligence and enthusiasm into the goods which he fashions. He must have a natural attitude for his work so strong that no education can force him away from his special bent. He must be allowed to think of what he is doing, and to vary his work as the circumstances of it vary, and his own moods. He must forever be stirring to make the piece at which he is at work better than the last. He must refuse at anybody's bidding to turn out -- I won't say a bad -- but even an indifferent piece of work, whatever the public wants, or thinks it wants.

-- William Morris

A friend, on writing advice to another, on the difficulties of starting out in business noted that attitude was one of the most important elements of success. The type of attitude that Morris writes about above. A confidence, a faith in yourself that no matter what obstacles, or what shortcomings may face you, that you continue to move forward.

When I wrote about the value of mistakes a couple of days ago, one of the things I took for granted in the writing was that most people get up from a fall, brush themselves off, and begin again. But a lot of people don't.

The attitude to fashion something better than you've made before is related to the attitude to rise above problems, and your own mistakes.

How do you develop that attitude? Like most things. One step at a time.

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