9 lessons about patience and creativity at Inspire Everyday 2018

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Filmmaker Samantha Lee and actress Meryll Soriano talk about the importance of patience in the film industry. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Last Saturday, Ayala Museum opened its door to the public for a full day of arts, culture, and entertainment. Visitors roamed around the galleries, took photos at the booths, ate rolled ice cream, watched ballerinas dance and young classical musicians play, and listened to discussions from renowned actors, creatives, and artists in the country.

CNN_4214.jpg CENTEX dancers open the event with a special ballet performance. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

CNN_4289.jpg Guests visit the CNN Philippines Life booth to share their sources of inspirations. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

CNN_4353.jpg Guests pose for photos at the CNN Philippines Life booth. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Ayala Museum partnered with CNN Philippines Life for the third year in a row, and this year’s theme was focused on the value of patience. We invited filmmaker Samantha Lee, actress Meryll Soriano, artist Anina Rubio, actor-musician Pepe Herrera, sculptor Ramon Orlina, and conductor Jeffrey Solares to talk about how patience has helped them in their respective careers.  

Here are nine insights from the discussions that you may also want to apply in your life.

You encounter patience differently than others.

Samantha Lee says that it took her seven years after graduating from film school to make her first film, and some thought that that was already a long wait. “Honestly, I thought it was going to be a longer wait because I was waiting for my voice for what I wanted to say,” she says. “Patience in that sense can’t be measured.”

Patience tends to be dependent on time, and in terms of the perception of time, Lee says it is usually based on the context one is in (what industry, which country, etc). She cites work hours in the film industry in Los Angeles, which is 12 hours a day, with overtime pay for every hour exceeding that 12 hours. Whereas in the Philippines, sometimes they work for as long as 23 hours and the call time for the next day would not even be moved to a later time.

“It takes patience to navigate the world at large and it takes patience to be in the industry that we’re in.”

CNN_4264.jpg “Just write. Even if it’s the ugliest, worst movie ever," says filmmaker Samantha Lee on the topic of whether to wait for inspiration to strike. "As long as you can have that sense of accomplishment that you can actually do something." Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Patience can be developed over time.

“With the film industry, I’ve acquired [patience] for working a very long time,” says Soriano. Lee also mentions that you just need to find one thing that you’re willing to be patient about and dedicate your time to that one thing.

“You got to love something so much that you’re willing to do everything, sacrifice everything, even time,” adds Meryll Soriano.

CNN_4293.jpg A section of the second floor was reserved for a coloring nook for kids. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Be patient in seeking inspiration.  

As people working in the arts, Soriano and Lee agree that inspiration doesn’t always just fall on their laps. “Inspiration will come to you but you have to seek for it as well,” says Soriano. She also shares how renowned screenwriter Ricky Lee wakes up at 4 in the morning to write even if he isn’t going to use the piece. “A lot of the older artists that I have worked with … would always say, ‘Work everyday.’ Even Mr. Ricky Lee said that. You go to work.”

Lee, who also writes her script for her movies, says that it is important to just get to work. “Something is better than nothing. You have to go through the process,” she says. “Just write. Even if it’s the ugliest, worst movie ever. As long as you can have that sense of accomplishment that you can actually do something.”

CNN_4345.jpg Actor and musician Pepe Herrera and artist Anina Rubio, who both have experienced shifting jobs and fields through the years, encourage the audience to embrace and enjoy change, even in one's career path. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Social media can be great for marketing yourself, but it takes a toll on your patience.

Anina Rubio says that although social media helps artists put themselves and their work out there, she finds that it does very little to enhance our patience. In fact, she even takes long periods of hibernation from social media, and either turns her phone off or puts it on airplane mode before going to bed.

Pepe Herrera thinks the same way, and has even gone as far as only allotting 30 minutes of social media consumption in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night, otherwise he says he will be “sucked in.”

“Regulation is really important,” says Herrera, who sets an alarm for the allotted 30 minutes. “Otherwise mag-do-domino effect ‘yan sa patience mo, sa focus mo.”

CNN_4362.jpg Ayala Museum is open to the public for free during Inspire Every Day, allowing guests to visit the galleries, as well as the changing exhibits. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Embrace your pace.

Both Rubio and Herrera took years going from job to job before finding their voices in their respective careers. Rubio, who used to be an engineer, an IT professional, and an organic farmer, says that the “summation of all my work experience gave me the confidence boost to showcase my work.”

Herrera, who graduated from the UST Conservatory of Music, worked on a cruise ship as a singing waiter before he decided to pursue performing full-time. When asked by an audience member to give advice to those experiencing a “transition phase” in their lives, Herrera says: “It's healthy to change your mind kasi we're constantly evolving.”

“Enjoyin mo,” he adds.

CNN_4306.jpg Herrera and Rubio discuss the importance of self-care and unplugging from social media every now and then. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

When something tests your patience, remember to take a step back.

Even when we’re doing what we love, we can still find ourselves stuck in situations which test our patience. For this, Herrera and Rubio agree on the importance of taking breaks. When you find yourself getting frustrated, take a step back and remove yourself from the situation first.

In the same vein, immersing oneself fully into creative work can lead to burnout and stress. Herrera says it is also important to give yourself time to be alone. “I really need moments of being with myself … I take breaks. Physical, mental breaks.” Meanwhile, Rubio has a daily ritual where she takes herself out on “dates.”

CNN_4391.jpg Manila Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Jeffrey Solares conducts the Junior Orchestra at the fourth floor galleries as they perform "Kruhay," a song based on a Bornean folk tale. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

One way to motivate yourself is through competitions.

As the executive director of the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Jeffrey Solares says that one of the best ways to motivate musicians (and artists in general) is through competitions.

Under his baton, the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra recently bagged the first prize in the String Orchestra competition category at the 12th Summa Cum Laude International Music Festival in Vienna, Austria this year.

“We did everything so that we could secure that,” he says. “We studied what the other first prize winners did ... we asked them to memorize the program, even the way they bow, the way they walk onstage ... all those little things wala kaming pinalusot.”

CNN_4407.jpg A long-time music teacher, Solares urges that the best teaching method is love. “When there’s love, there’s no need for patience,” he says. “With love, you’ll get creative.” Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Love is a great method for teaching.

Learning and teaching a new skill can be difficult and frustrating, and often requires enormous amounts of patience. When it comes to teaching music, Solares says “everybody wants instant results. But it really takes a long time.”

As a long-time music teacher who advocates for the Suzuki Method, Solares says that love can be the best teaching method, as it forces you to find innovative ways to teach. “When there’s love, there’s no need for patience,” he says. “With love, you’ll get creative.”

diptych.jpg Renowned glass sculptor Ramon Orlina talks about the decade-long journey it took for him to become recognized for his work, and the patience and determination it took to stick it out. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Patience makes perfect.

Architect and pioneer glass sculptor Ramon Orlina says he had been working with glass for 10 years before he got his big break, when a metal sculpture of his was showcased at the Wisma Atria in Singapore.

He advises artists to have perseverance, focus, determination, guts, and grit, to pursue art, as success will happen over time. He points to the exhibited works in his personal museum as living proof of the value of time in developing one’s art. He says, “Makikita mo na hindi nangyari lahat ‘yan [agad-agad]. Lahat ‘yan natutuhan ko slowly. Dahan-dahan. [With] patience.”