You’ve probably heard the expression, “Good. Fast. Cheap. Choose any two.”
Recently, I heard a variation on the theme. It was in a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Gaiman is a writer known for his graphic novels and comic books. One of his works made it to the big screen in the 2009 animated fantasy thriller, “Coraline” with the voice talents of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher.
In his speech, Gaiman encouraged the class of 2012 to remain true to their calling, even though it takes time and sacrifice. He said, “When life gets hard, as it inevitably will, make good art. Just make good art.”
The art that endures, he said, is that which reflects the artist’s individuality and personal vision.
Gaiman’s comments resonated with me.
Everyone, at one time or another, is challenged to sacrifice one value to achieve some other. At such times, it helps to have already made up your mind what’s important… what’s non-negotiable.
At those crossroad moments, I stop to recall what started me down the road in the first place. If it takes a little longer, or costs a little more – so be it. But if I sacrifice the “good” – the core value that defines my reason for embarking on any artistic crusade… well, then it really doesn’t matter how fast I get there or how little it costs.