Scholar on a walk featured in Ink Figure Painting by Wu Hsien-sheng. We are imagining that he is contemplating the Artist's Riddle.
What is the Artist's Riddle?
This is your most important asset as an artist. It is something that is indisputably under your complete control and yet it is constantly being competed for by others – most times without you even knowing.
The Answer to the Artist's Riddle?
The answer is: your focus
Why is Focus So Important?
Choosing your focus effectively is the first step in every successful creative endeavor. The way you choose your focus actually determines what inspiration you have access to. Choose it effectively and you grant yourself access to inspiration directly from infinite intelligence. Set an effective focus, hold it over time and the aggregated wisdom from a thousand master creators is galvanized and at your disposal. Choose it poorly and you will be beset with obstacles, unanswerable questions, and a thousand other thorns in your path.
Different Types of Effective Focus
Hard focus is the type of focus that most of us are accustom to. It is that intense, indistractable state of being that is useful when accomplishing tasks. The more precision and the higher the stakes, the more important that you lock-in this type of hard focus.
Soft focus is less well known but just as useful. It is the type of focus that is usually attained on walks in nature or during meditation. It is the act of focusing on something general or unengaging which has the effect of emptying your mind of other thoughts. This makes room for inspiration! Soft focus is great for brain-storming or stress relief.
Guarding Your Focus
Everyone is competing for your focus. Friends and loved ones want you to focus on what they are interested in. The television wants you to focus on its stories. The news wants you to focus on the latest real life drama unfolding in our reality. Companies want you to focus on how their products can solve the problems of your life.
None of this has any relevance to your goals as an artist. It is therefore important that you diligently choose your focus, guarding it from those who wish to squander it on things that are less important to you.
Determining the Effectiveness of Your Focus
Your emotions are your key indicator as to how productive your current focus is. Focusing effectively on what you desire, feels good. Doing so persistently overtime will raise your general emotional state to the point where you are experience emotions like contentment, joy, and passion on a regular basis. It is from this state of being that everything you ever desired will begin to flow effortlessly into your experience.
And it all started with setting your focus!
A more modern style of painting featured in Ink Figure Painting by Wu Hsien-sheng. She looks like she has answered the Artist's Riddle.