General George S. Patton and John Quincy Adams were poets. Churchill was a painter. Karol Wojtyla, Polish priest who became Pope John Paul II, was, in his younger days, a playwright, director and stage actor, as was Vaclav Havel. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, German priest who just became Pope Benedict XVI plays classical piano and is (like Karl Barth) a Mozart aficionado. Jefferson designed Monticello. Secretary of State Dean Acheson was an accomplished woodworker. The young Theodore Roosevelt was a taxidermist. Albert Schweitzer was a world-class organist and Bach scholar.
And so on. Do you see a pattern here?
One of secrets of Great Men of past is that they cultivated creativity and artistic expression in their lives. Sometimes Great Men consciously chose a craft or a fine art as an outlet, a creative diversion from intensity of their daily lives. And sometimes Great Men had no particular objective in pursuing creative expression, it just simply happened as an overflow of who they already were. They created, just as day follows night.
You can be creative, too, and reap incredible benefits. That is, if you use right tools.
My new web site, http://www.ConversationFromthePast.com, will help you live a creative life of adventure and challenge you to expand your horizons and reach new frontiers. At Conversations From Past, men are challenged, edified and encouraged to embrace what Theodore Roosevelt called The Strenuous Life.
We challenge each other to live lives of steadfast resolution, to overcome obstacles, to win in spite of a thousand repulses or defeats, to never fear to try a new line of attack because of a previous setback.
We urge each other to grasp, to rise and struggle, even against incalculable odds, to attempt, to make bold move.
We also recognize that as we live lives that we desire, we will also be object of begrudging, resistance, hostility and resentment. Bold, intensely masculine lives create friction. It is not just historical irony that greatest peacemakers in history of world have met with violent death; it is simply way of this world.
One of best ways to deal with these difficulties, these assaults, is to seek a creative outlet, an artistic expression.
But, you rightfully ask, how do I get started? Great question. The answer is surprisingly simple.
Just start and don’t look back. As Churchill wrote of his own painting career (which was by any standard very successful, especially since he had a few other things on his plate):
[T]he first quality that is needed is Audacity. There really is no time for deliberate approach.
In other words, if you feel like painting, do what Churchill did: get out paints, buy some canvas and get started. When you make a mess, then go do some background reading on techniques, identify where you went wrong and then forge ahead again, this time without making precisely same mistake. By trial and error you will quickly get basic skills you need in order to satisfyingly express your creativity through your painting.