There’s an old concept in the military. It’s a concept often held to by strong men and women doing dangerous jobs, but it’s just as valuable for people who live gentler lives. Artists both of brush and pen benefit when they live by this.
It’s the concept of “being a Grunt.”
A Grunt may fall many times but always gets up again. A Grunt doesn’t let anyone stop them from eventually reaching their goal, even if they are slow to get there. A Grunt isn’t the best in the world, not at first, but they continue until they are. A Grunt handles failure and knows it’s not the end.
By contrast, Gazelles are naturally gifted. They pick things up quickly and they seemingly sail by obstacles, leaping high over them. They apparently don’t have a care in the world. Then, something gets in their way. But since they don’t understand what to do when they fail, they give up. It’s over. Meanwhile, the Grunt keeps slogging on, slowly and steadily approaching their goal.
I was a Gazelle. I’m trying to learn to be a Grunt.
When a painting doesn’t turn out the way I wanted, I’m trying to learn to do another till I’ve achieved my goal. When a story or article fails, I work on it till it’s good. I’m learning that failure is not the end, it’s just a bump in the road, and the key is to continue. To keep going.
In losing weight, in gaining health, in art, in writing, in singing, in sports, at work, and everywhere, we want to be the Gazelle… that’s natural, but we should want to be the tireless, indomitable, persistent Grunt.
The greatest artists in the world have been Grunts…