It has been stated many times that passion is a key to success, whether in business, research or art. Passion can be defined as an intense, enduring motivational feeling or conviction, which extends beyond romance and sexual activity. Passion is one of several emotions we all feel.
Schopenhauer said that art is the physical expression of emotions. This insight is both profound and useful. It is profound perhaps because of the simplicity it brings to understanding art. It is useful in that it focuses the creator of art inwardly on their own knowledge. Maurice Sendak, not surprisingly, said it better--"knowledge is the driving force that puts creative passion to work".
However, why are so few of us able to use knowledge to produce art? Part of the answer is found in this quote from Isabel Allende, "Writing is always giving some sort of order to the chaos of life." Writing and art comes from the processing of emotions and knowledge in order to reach an understanding. Therefore, art comes from a commitment to reach understanding and the commitment is grounded in discipline. Ursula Nordstrom stated this point beautifully, "emotion combined with the artist's discipline is the rarest thing in the world".
While this post focuses on art, the "trilogy" of passion, knowledge and discipline is a recurring pattern in most creative people regardless of their area of interest. The theme of "order from chaos" also recurs not only in art but also in science and math and perhaps other fields.
This post was inspired by a post on Brain Pickings, "Conjuring Cohesion and Purpose: How Ursula Nordstrom Cultivated Maurice Sendak’s Genius".