“Genius (every great work of art) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” said Thomas Edison, the famous inventor credited with over 1000 patents. Steve Harvey, a successful comedian and TV host explained it this way, “Success is like struggling to get to a hundred push-ups and holding the position at a hundred for the rest of your life”

Every great artist or entrepreneur knows this to be true. Having an idea or being inspired to do something transformational, and transcendent is forever global. But giving that dream a life, is for those who chose to perspire in breathing into the balloon of their dreams until it floats.This is no easy task and it is for those who chose to forgo countless pleasures to do so. I could quote many examples, but let me use ancient wisdom from the Great Architect himself.

This is the wisdom and counsel of the divine. In the desert, the Israelites are asked to build a Tabernacle for the divine to dwell in. From Exodus 20-31, they receive the inspiration and the vision. But from Ex 33-38, the reading sounds boring. It is filled with excruciating detail. It is all “perspiration.” We see times, schedules, measurements, resources, division of labor, fundraising, expertise, connections, collaboration, aesthetics, and incredible attention to detail.

We read in one instance, “He made an altar out of acacia wood. It was square, 2.2m long, and 2.2m wide…(1)” and in another, “Each frame was 4m tall and 66cm wide, with two matching projections…(2),” and yet in another “For the entrance of the tent, they made a curtain of fine, linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool and decorated with embroidery (3).” Yes indeed, boring. Or is it? The question to ask is why would God include all these details and place so much emphasis on the measurements, design, and specificity of materials used? And why include this as part of the holy text we read?

Breaking it Down…

It is simple! He is giving the insight necessary for building enterprise; the blueprint for giving any dream a life of its own, the blueprint for creating space for your dreams and visions to live, to exist, to grow, and to have its own being and soul (culture).That is, a way for you to give it life for it to become something cherished, a tool for you to live your dream of serving others with your gifts and talents. Read as a story, you miss the point of the text. Read as a guide, you discern the subtle. What these episodes point to is indirect as he is. God’s blessings come through ideas and opportunities. But, if you want to enjoy the rewards; if you want to enjoy them for the rest of your life, you must perspire. If you want to write a book, start and run a business, become a great performer, master the art of speech, and so on, inspiration is not enough. You must be ready to do the following:

Set times, create schedules and follow them with such discipline. Form rituals and routines to force you to continue building your craft, talent, and business. You will need to connect and collaborate with people of different skill levels who will do what you cannot and shape your dreams into something people “need” not something you “want.”

You will need to pool resources, request help from investors and financiers. You will deal with the politics of people and problems; the politics of envy, the politics of hate and nay-saying.

Developing a matrix of connections will be necessary, ongoing learning will be a plus, learning the limits of your resources and people is a requirement; understanding the science of accounting, stewardship, and above all, accepting accountability for what you do and the resources in your care, is vital. I will explain each point in weeks following, offering short videos where necessary.

But, the point is total!
Make the decision to start doing, not talking only. Get educated in these bits of wits on your journey–the wisdom of traveling “2wice” on “1-journey” (See my previous note or listen to the Soundcloud recording). To build yours, get past the hype of “having a great idea” to working through the boring to “build a working prototype” of what your dream or idea is to look like. Work and rework the design until it is something of beauty that can be appreciated by others. Your dream could be for a small coffee shop, an ice-cream truck, a grand enterprise, or developing an epic show. Whatever is, it needs work. The time spent will depend on the grandness.

It is worth noting that the Israelites did all this while still in the wilderness. That means, your work, planning, and sweat, will most likely be done in hiding. That is, people will not notice as you work hard behind the scenes. “Having a vision is necessary, but sharing that vision is not,” said Rabbi Lapin. Just like the Tabernacle, as you create space through your work, the cloud of God’s glory will come into it. That is, your work will create room for glory and honor and success as the breath of the divine acknowledges your perspiration.

All this will take months, if not–years. If you start now, you finish early. You procrastinate, you finish later. So start now. Work smarter, not harder–but breath into your dream until it lives. Even if it means doing so alongside your job, taking care of kids, volunteering, or parenting. Yes, there are many variables, but work on the ones in your power. Yes, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., you might not finish the work, but you are not allowed to sit still, complain, and do nothing either. The desire for quick success or a quick buck success leads to one hit wonders. But, it ends there–”One hit” wonder. And the world is left wandering what happened. Long range success takes time, planning, and work.

If you don’t do anything about your dreams; if you don’t develop them and do what you can to give it life, your craft will remain silent and your dream will die without a voice. It will remain right where it currently is –


~ Ishmael Asaba

1) Ex 38:1, (2) Ex 36:21, (3) Ex 36:27, feature picture from here


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