Yes it’s hard, but there’s no hesitation now. Only certainty.
I had a moment this evening when hanging out with the wife and kids where I remembered exactly how it was I pushed myself to go from being helplessly unable to pass the 2nd level of JLPT to getting the highest level in a period less than two years. How I transformed myself from a goalless, directionless lump to the motivated (yet admittedly unsuccessful) person I am today. It was actually the memory of an ex-girlfriend of mine. I dated a girl in college who was as motivated as I am today, and rode my ass constantly about the fact that I had no direction. Nearly 5 years later I was studying for a language proficiency test half a world away and I can remember clearly waking up every morning during my JLPT study period, jumping in the shower, and thinking to myself with an incredible emotional intensity, “You know what? F@ck you!” I would then begin my daily routine which would often span a full 7 to 8 hours depending on my work load at school. It’s silly, and probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but feelings of inferiority have, paradoxically, pushed me to drive myself harder in all endeavors over the past 5 years.
Maybe there’s a little bit of inferiority complex driving me still, but a big part of my motivation the past few months has been coming from a book I’ve been reading, Awaken the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins. I used to only know the man by his reputation and parody, but after listening to an interview with him on the Tim Ferris podcast, I purchased the aforementioned book and have found him to be an incredibly sincere and straightforward person. Passing the JLPT was a no-loss endeavour, but beginning a career in art with a family of 4 has seemed like suicide since the fateful seed planted itself in my head. But here we are. After making my way through Robbins’ book, I’ve become as determined as I can to make this work. And, probably contrary to what he would encourage, I had this memory of an ex-girlfriend, now an entire decade removed from my life that exploded like a nuclear bomb in my brain (I found out recently she got a phd) and all kinds of emotions have come flooding through to push my motivation to even higher levels. I’m going to do this. I WILL MAKE ART A VIABLE CAREER OPTION FOR MYSELF. The 10 month plan is set, the dominoes are in place. The first one has begun to fall. I’ve proven to myself time and time again that I can learn anything I put my mind to, time to show the world.
As a result, I will be focusing on fundamentals a lot more for the next 5 months. I hope to update MFL and the upcoming new comic whenever I can, but it will be on a much looser schedule than I expected as I will have my face planted diligently in-between the pages of a sketchbook for the next while.