Someone said that success is 10% talent and 90% perspiration. I would say that about sums it up.
There are some few great geniuses in this world who can “just do” but even the very successful will typically state that it takes a lot of work to look like you are hardly working.
When you are young you are striving to learn, to get better, to achieve. When you are in the middle of your life, you are seeking to deepen your expertise, broaden your experiences, to stay fresh while remaining grounded in the past. As you grow older you work to keep what you can, to maintain rather than lose, to reduce expectations of the physical body but to expand the philosophical and spiritual aspects of your art as you, hopefully, pass your acquired wisdom on to the next generation. This cycle has ever been and will always be, and it is to be honored by those who are seriously on the path of artistic expression as a life choice.
There will always be people who “get by”. They do the minimum required to carry on and spend much of their time in other pursuits. There isn’t anything essentially wrong with this but it cannot be so that these individuals deserve accolades in the same way that those with greater commitment should command. It is always distressing when someone who is famous gets an opportunity just because of that fame even though that particular recognition has nothing to do with the opportunity.
Years ago I saw a production of “Damn Yankees” which starred Joe Namath of football fame. He had just retired from playing. His knees were shot and he could barely walk so he surely couldn’t dance, he couldn’t sing, he was no actor, but there he was, the lead in the show, alongside Donald O’Connor, one of the greatest musical theater stars of the 20th century. Guess what, Joe sold tickets. He was lousy (to be nice) but he was a NAME. Maybe Joe perspired when he was on the football field, but as a music theater performer, not so much. He would have had to work hard to get a damp brow. Is this still kind of thing happening? Every minute of every day.
If you are one of the people who spends 90% of the time perspiring, don’t be down. You are in the best company. Your colleagues appreciate your efforts and they know how much you invest in your art. We honor each other even when the world doesn’t return the favor. It is in this consciousness that we carry on the elegant lineage that has come to us and will go on when we leave. It is a noble task.