Leonard Cohen on Hard Work
Continuing with the theme of doing over dreaming, Brain Pickings did a wonderful piece titled: Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting.
Leonard Cohen is one of the most prolific songwriters alive and he is quick to cast dispersions at "inspiration" as a force of creation.
“Almost everybody’s work is hard. One is distracted by this notion that there is such a thing as inspiration, that it comes fast and easy. And some people are graced by that style. I’m not. So I have to work as hard as any stiff, to come up with my payload.”
Even Leonard was plagued by this sense that this is all so much easier for other people. I feel this all the time. I look at the work of the artists I most admire and I assume it's just easier for them. What if it's not?
What if the people that do amazing work are just the people that show up more often and just never give up?
“Freedom and restriction are just luxurious terms to one who is locked in a dungeon in the tower of song. These are just … ideas. I don’t have the sense of restriction or freedom. I just have the sense of work. I have the sense of hard labor.”
I love how Leonard compares hard mental work to building muscles. But its in his connecting working hard at something to living a more fulfilled existence that really strikes home for me.
"It has a certain nourishment. The mental physique is muscular. That gives you a certain stride as you walk along the dismal landscape of your inner thoughts. You have a certain kind of tone to your activity. But most of the time it doesn’t help. It’s just hard work.
“But I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.”