Creating a masterpiece..!

HOW easy it is to fall prey to criticism. To spend hours, days and months, trying to create something beautiful, whether painting, writing or unique method of teaching, new technique of management and have it torn down to bits ruthlessly and senselessly. How easy also to spend so much time each day, dreaming of fame and reward for work we are trying to do that we are too scared to get started.
To such as those who want to create masterpiece, to make something unique and beautiful, do I address this piece: Polyclitus of Sicyon, a famous sculptor once worked at the same time on two similar statues, one in public and the other in secret. For the latter he consulted only his genius, but for the former he accepted every bit of advice and would make every little adjustment or touch up his critics suggested.
“Hey Polyclitus the nose is too long!” “The hand too short!” “Hey Polyclitus, the face is it man or woman?” And Polyclitus adjusted to the views of the crowd. After finishing both the statues, he exhibited them in pubic side by side. One statue was criticized, but the other that he had worked at alone and was the fruit of his genius was extolled endlessly.
“Athenians,” said Polyclitus, “the statue you criticize is your work, and the one you so admire is mine!” I have seen this sometimes in the geniuses of today, who listen to their own inner voice, not swayed by the crowd. Ch’iang the chief carpenter was carving wood into a stand for music instruments. When finished the work appeared to those who saw it as though of supernatural execution. The Prince of Lu asked him, saying: “What mystery is there in your art?”
“No mystery, your Highness,” replied Ch’iang. “And yet there is something. When I am about to make a stand, I guard against any diminution of my vital power. I first reduce my mind to absolute quietness. Three days in this condition I become oblivious of any reward to be gained. Five days and I become immune to any fame to be acquired. Seven days and I become conscious of my four limbs and my physical frame. Then with no thought of Court present in my mind, my skill becomes concentrated, and all disturbing elements from without are gone.
“I enter a mountain forest, search for a suitable tree; it contains the form required. I see it in the tree. I continue seeing the stand in my mind’s eye and then set to work. Beyond that there is nothing, I just bring my own native capacity into relation with that of the wood and then what I produce oh your highness you call ‘a work of supernatural execution..!”Read these two little illustrations again if you are trying to create a masterpiece: Polyclitus who did not listen to criticism to produce genius, and Ch’iang who focused on job at hand, not on reward and carved ‘supernatural works of art..!”

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