Some time ago, I heard a quote about sticks which has stuck in my mind:
“Learn to love getting the short end of the stick, you get a lot more sticks that way.”
Sadly, I’m not not sure who said it as it was not a direct quote. But there is something I absolutely love about this mentality. Correction: I love the idea of living with this mentality, actually doing it, turns out, is much harder.
It’s all about humility, being willing to accept less and be happy with it. For us creatives, that’s not always easy. We expect the best of ourselves and we want to get the best from others. I don’t know a single creative who doesn’t hope for recognition, affirmation and appreciation of their work. But the sticky truth is, what we often receive is far less. Often, after all our efforts, we get the shaft.
Getting shafted is no fun. Whether it’s being ignored, rejected or even attacked, it can be quite hard to stick to creative living. But here’s the thing: when you learn how to deal with that mess and keep being creative anyhow, something amazing happens: like precious metal refined in fire, you too learn to accept the good with the bad, you become a more whole person less dependent on the praise of others and more able to enjoy creativity for its own sake.
When you’re willing to take on the small, thankless jobs for a time, you’ll eventually get better ones. When you learn to ignore the hurtful criticism, you’ll be more ready to receive and learn from positive feedback, whether congratulatory or corrective.
Luke 16:10 tells us:
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.
So, the next time someone gives you the short end of the stick, take it gladly and be glad it’s not a poke in the eye with that same stick. Little sticks aren’t impressive, but remember this: a big ol’ bonfire starts out with a bunch of little sticks. So let all those “short sticks” be your kindling for something big, bright and beautiful.
It only seems appropriate I close with one of my sister’s favorite jokes:
Q: What’s brown and sticky?
A: A stick!
Hey Creatives, has there been a time in your life when getting the short end of the stick turned out for the better? Let us know in the comments below.