© Rob Edwards
published in ANVIL Magazine, April, 1996
WORDS TO LIVE BY
I once asked a sculptor how he could possibly start with a piece of marble and end up with a beautiful statue. He replied that he simply chiseled away everything that wasn't the figure of the statue. Perhaps if we deleted the things in our lives that weren't contributing to making us what we want to be, we'd eventually end up who we want to be.
One road to success is to find a need and fill it, as blacksmith John Deere did (see the blacksmithing story, "Find a Need and Fill It"). Of course, there has to be a sense of quality about what we do and how we do it to achieve any meaningful standard. As John Deere, "the man who gave to the world the steel plow," said: "I will never put my name on a plow that does not have in it the best that is in me."
Jerry Hoffmann, in his latest edition of the Blacksmith's Journal, says: "The secret to producing good work is in taking the time to explore beyond the boundaries of ordinary thought. If you find yourself saying: 'That's good enough,' then it's probably not. By its own nature, blacksmithing offers an opportunity to go back to an era when quality wasn't determined by the restraints of time."
At the American Farriers Association convention last month, Dr. Doug Butler gave one of the best motivational presentations I've ever attended. He used slides, video and solid commentary to analyze what makes us want to be farriers and/or blacksmiths, and how we can get better at it. He summed it up best with: "Balance is the most important thing in horseshoeing . . . and in life."
In the last January issue of ANVIL Magazine, "Blasts from the Bloomery" section, the recommended resolution for April was "Draft a letter to all my clients regarding the impending 5% raise in prices as of June 1st . . . and mail at the end of the month."
So here's the message for this month: Get rid of the garbage; carve out your niche based on quality work; take the time to think creatively; keep your life in balance, and demand the money that all that is worth.
Return to the Anvil Commentary listing page.