I saw a story on CBS about Wally Boot who has worked at the Steinway factory for 50 years. He was born on Steinway Street and has learned how to make every part in a Steinway, but what he makes is so much more.
At the end of the story, Charlie Rose says “there is a word for people like him – artists…” and the other host innocently says “born on Steinway Street and 50 years later making pianos”. It illustrates an important distinction for your work. Are you an artist or just a worker? It also begs the question — Do you see art in the work of others?
You can always get something cheaper, but can you get something that embodies the passion of the people who create it? Do you value the passion within you that makes what you do in life special, and do you strive to develop it?
I frequently see examples of both perspectives, people who believe that value is solely monetary, and others who increasingly care more about the experience – what goes into it and where they get it. But as work increasingly becomes cerebral, social, and creative the latter perspective is one we must embrace. We must value the artist, especially in ourselves.
Watch the video and think about the attention given to the felt hammers.