(Remember, when talking about ‘art’ think: pursuing meaningful and engaging work. In our case – the craft of building world-changing and edifying businesses in a dignified way.)
Here’s an excerpt from Edith Schaeffer’s Hidden Art:
…a Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.
Does this mean that we should all drop everything to concentrate on trying to develop into great artists? No, of course not. [DAN: This is where Edith and my opinions diverge. If you define art as the pursuit of meaningful work – in our case business and entrepreneurship – then the answer to that question is ‘yes’ (and more often than not, as any entrepreneur will tell you, it’s a “bellz yes!”)] But it does mean that we should consciously do something about it. There should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty. Whether you are married and have a family; whether you share a house or a flat with one or a number of people; whether you still live with your parents; whether you live alone and have guests in from time to time; whether you are a man or a woman: the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than a gradual drying up of creativity, and blindness to ugliness.
She goes on to talk about how looking at other great artists or studying art appreciation can leave us feeling discouraged. Any entrepreneur or starter will tell you of the emotional and manic-depressive roller coaster that is starting and growing something meaningful. It’s too easy to get mentally bogged down with doubt and dissatisfaction while looking at other change-makers doing so well. She continues:
We may thing ‘If only…’ – If only I weren’t so tied down with the mundane things of life. If only I had had a chance to go to [business] school. If only I had time to develop instead of being caught in this job. If only I hadn’t this endless round of housework and crying babies to overwhelm me. ‘If only…’ feelings can distort our personalities, and give us an obsession which can only lead to more and more dissatisfaction, as well as making us into ‘Eeyore-ish’ and uncomfortable-to-be-with people!
…it may be helpful to consider some of the possibilities all of us have of really living artistically, but which are often ignored. People so often look with longing into a daydream future, while ignoring the importance of the present. [DAN: a trap many ambitious and forward-thinking entrepreneurs fall into constantly.] we are all in danger of thinking, “Some day I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life which will develop my talent”, without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people’s lives, develop the talent, and express the fact of being a creative creature.
(Underlining added by me.)