65 • Talent doesn’t hurt.

Your content on stage is not identical with its container, the performance itself. The objective quality of your performance is important but the audience's perception of your performance is vastly dependent on your own concept of yourself, and initially almost independent of what you perceive as your actual performance. It is similar to the authority of a General: it exists because everybody, especially the General, believes it.

That creates a paradox for the artist: Your self-image, your own concept of who you are as an artist, depends appropriately on your performance abilities, while - and that may be the crux - your image, your idea - real or imagined - of your performance abilities emerge inevitably and continuously from your artistic vision - real or imagined.

You have to find a way inside this upward meta-helix and auxiliariate your self-image with your performance abilities and - very important - vice versa. The relentless development of technique is paramount. Becoming an artist is a matter of decision reinforced by action. I mean desire and deliberate practicing. A great artist develops by the same principle on an unfathomable scale.

Talent - the special ability to pursue excellence with purpose - doesn’t hurt.

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