The Importance of Hard Work and Perseverance with Jonathan Chmelensky

The Importance of Hard Work and Perseverance with Jonathan Chmelensky



In this episode, I talk to Jonathan Chmelensky, a professional dancer. We cover topics such as the importance of hard work, challenges of being a professional dancer working today, the ways to keep being engaged with our craft, how to tackle the hard moments on our professional path, and much more.


Jonathan Chmelensky is a Paris-born ballet dancer, currently based in Copenhagen. As a ballet student, Jonathan traveled around the world to compete and to perfect his skills, and that journey took him to train in Paris, NYC, and in Havana at the National Ballet School of Cuba.

"Hard work, daily-based—routine creates results."

In 2007, at the age of 19, he was recruited to join the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen and has been with the company ever since. In 2013 he was promoted to soloist and in 2018 to principal dancer, which is also his current title.

  • Introduction [00:00]
  • Episode Introduction [00:52]
  • The Importance of Hard Work [02:30]
  • Routines of a Professional Ballet Dancer [06:27]
  • Challenges in the Dance Industry [12:48]
  • How to Develop As a Creative Professional [15:16]
  • Short Episode Break – Support the Podcast [17:48]
  • Jonathan’s Current Challenges [18:31]
  • How to Stay Motivated Through Hard Times [27:39]
  • How to Be a Better Creative Professional [30:51]
  • Episode Outro [32:42]

    Jonathan: “Your best performance can be achieved quite young. What you work for the rest of your career is actually in bettering your worst performance.”

    This is the Creative Voyage Podcast, a long form interview show with the mission to help creative professionals to level up. I’m your host Mario Depicolzuane. I’m a creative professional myself active in the fields of graphic design, art direction, and creative consulting. In this podcast, I present in depth interviews with some of the world’s most inspiring creative professionals revealing the stories that shape their lives and careers, plus actionable strategies to help you take your mindset and skills to the next level. I invite you to join me on this journey.

    Mario: In this episode, I talk to Jonathan Chmelensky, a professional dancer. Jonathan Chmelensky is a Paris-born ballet dancer currently based in Copenhagen. As a ballet student, Jonathan traveled around the world to compete and perfect his skills and the jury took him to train in Paris, New York City and in Havana at the National Ballet School of Cuba. In 2007 at the age of 19, he was recruited to join the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen and has been with the company ever since. In 2013, he was promoted to a soloist and in 2018 to principal dancer, which is also his current title.

    As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous podcast episodes with contemporary dancer Fukiko Takase, I’m fascinated by dance and believe that it’s one of the most holistic, creative outlets. I find some of the principles which professional dancers have to adhere to incredibly inspiring, such as respect for their bodies and relentless routine and directly applicable to any other creative pursuit. In that realm, Jonathan is no exception, so it was such a pleasure to explore these ideas with him.

    In this episode, we’re going to listen to the highlights of the conversation I have with Jonathan in Copenhagen during the 3DaysofDesign in May 2019. It is the last of the three interviews I had during that series which was recorded in front of a live audience at the Audo a hybrid space facilitating and celebrating human interaction, connection and artistic expression.

    In our conversation, we cover topics such as the importance of hard work, challenges of being a professional dancer working today, the ways to keep being engaged with our craft, how to tackle the hard moments on our professional path and much more.

    Jonathan was raised by a single mother who was working long shifts, so from time to time, he was taken care of by his grandparents. Both former professional dancers, they were also considerably busy. They were teaching ballet. However, their jobs were more flexible to have a kid around. As a child, Jonathan would often sit on the side during their classes.

    Jonathan: My first memory is just these lines of little girls doing ballet and being corrected by my grandmother, being all standing in the line at the bar and then me just sitting in the corner and just bored to hell. I’m just watching what they were doing, because that was distracting than just – there’s so much you can do with a toy or something along the side. then I was just watch and my grandmother was very methodical about the way that she would place each load girl to the correct position, the correct form.

    Jonathan: It’s a bit funny. One of my first memories is actually me just spontaneously just like, I had seen that obviously many times, that reform. Like okay, stretching of the knee and positioning. Then one day I don’t know why, because again of boredom, I just stood up and myself went to fix the little girls who thought it was my grandmother. They were just so stiff. It was like, “No, it’s not supposed to look like that.” My grandmother would fix every single girl individually. Maybe in my head I think, if I help her out maybe we’ll go home earlier or something like that.

    By being an active child generally and often present during those sessions quite organically, Jonathan joined those classes and officially started his ballet training at the age of 12. Jonathan’s creative journey began when he was very young, so I was curious to hear what advice he would give to his younger self and also to individuals, or just entering into the dance profession.

    Jonathan: I mean, to be very honest, it’s horrible to say, I don’t know if I would do it again if I knew how hard it was, how much of a personal investment. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic. As you say, there’s a lot of highs and lows and not everybody has a stellar career from the second they go in it works for them. Just everything clicks. You meet the right person at the right moment and all of a sudden, you’re there.

    Jonathan: For other people, it’s a long marathon of highs and lows, of failures and denials and frustrations. I’m happy I stick to it. But if it was to do it again, it’s long – and even if the career of a ballet dancer is relatively short, it’s a long journey. I love what I do, don’t get me wrong. I love it every single bit, but not everybody has the star career you see in movies.

    Mario: Yeah. Then you got a following down that path, there are young people who are starting and going into that profession and exploring that discipline and probably seeing you, or some other dancers in there like, “Okay, I want to be there. I want to do that.” Do you have any advice you would give to those people, to young professionals?

    Jonathan: I would say, I just read the autobiography of a tennis player who said he’s hit 2,500 balls a day since he’s five-years-old. That is because his father had calculated that if he does so, then he will have hit a million balls a year. Then by the time he was 15, he could turn professional because he could hit 15.

    Jonathan: What I mean is no matter what people say, if you put the heart, bone work behind your art form or your craft, there is a moment that things will work, that things will click. I think I was very stubborn like that and it got me a long way. It was Andre Agassi, by the way, the autobiography. Sorry, I just skipped on it.

    Jonathan: Yeah. Just did sheer concept of master your discipline, to the point where no matter if there’s a personal interaction, a personal affinity between people that these people can’t deny the fact that you are masterful in what you do. That’s my advice, to say just pure hard work, daily-based, daily routine creates results.

    As the author Neil Strauss put it, “Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it’s relationship, business or a hobby.” I would add that the evidence of our commitments is our schedule, our habits and routines. As Jonathan already mentioned, there’s a mountain of hard work behind his profession, so I wanted to hear how’s that reflected in his day-to-day life.

    Jonathan: The routine starts relatively early. Get in at 9:00 at work at the Royal Theatre in Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen, start the warm-up process. When you’re young, when you’re maybe in your 20s, early 20s, you can get away with basically what I say murder. You can go straight into the studio, straight into rehearsal, just whack stuff out. With age, unfortunately you learn through injuries, or through other people’s mistake at times that you need to warm up, get ready, really start your day slow, so that your body has the time to warm up properly.

    Jonathan: Start at 9. 10:00 morning training until 11:30, which is basically your – I wouldn’t say any ballet girls training, but in a more advanced level like that, like bar training and then center with that ends with jumps and turns. Then we start rehearsals that go until 4:00 in the afternoon and then you come back at 8:00 for the performance. We have a four-hour break. We come back at 8:00 for the performance. The performance starts at 8:00. 

    Jonathan: Let’s say you start getting ready at 6:00. You have a two-hour break there. I personally, because of the eating routine that you don’t want to feels so – 6, again same thing; warm-up, getting ready for the performance, mental state, big time. Everybody has their routine, everybody’s a little bit maniac. I am, I know, the pencils needs to be a aligned properly and if one doesn’t move, then I need to do the whole thing again. I’m exaggerating, but there is some type of ritual that you install for yourself to put yourself into a state of calmness to perform. Then finish at 11:00 the show, go home, get an extra meal in and then wake up the next morning at 7:30, same thing.

    Mario: Yeah. How often is that? Is it on a daily basis, or is it – 

    Jonathan: Well, performance days. We have a little bit over a 100 performances a year at the Royal Theatre. Every third day, it resembles like that. Every other day, that’s without the performance. We go until 4 or 6 depending on the day.

    Jonathan: It’s full-on. We rotate performances. What we rehearsed during the day is not what we’d would perform at night. We rehearse the programming that comes after the one that we’re performing at the moment. We’re continuously rotating, learning steps, rehearsing. That’s a little bit the routine.

    Mario: Yeah. Then do you also go on tours?

    Jonathan: Yeah. My fixed position is here the Royal Theatre, so that’s where I’m associated with. Of course, there is this possibility of me traveling around and guesting and that’s on top of that schedule. That’s an extra load for me to do and there’s only so much I can actually do, because of those parameters of having to perform and work daily at the Royal Theatre.

    Mario: I mean, I really find that quite fascinating, because you really have to dedicate yourself 100%. Where with some other creative professions, you can wing it. When I do graphic design, or art direction or something, you can, yeah, you can be half sick, or hangover, or you’re tired and you can get away with it, or you probably won’t jeopardize doing it tomorrow, because you won’t most probably get injured. You might influence the result, because it’s always better if you’re ready and you’re in the best shape.

    Jonathan: I’m going to say I’m a really hard friend. Most of my friends and some of them understand, some of them don’t. Most of them do. I am being harsh. But I’m not the friend that you can say, “Hey, let’s go on a Thursday night. Let’s go and have a couple of drinks spontaneously,” it’s because it will take a toll on me and potentially take a toll on my career. God forbids, because I’m hangover, because I’m tired, because this and that, I happen the next day to twist my foot by lack of awareness of my body, then that’s it. That’s the domino effect of everything that you really build up. Everything can go down. That’s one of the sacrifices you get by working with your body as an instrument.

    Mario: Yeah. That brings me to a question of balance. In one way, it sounds like it’s hard to have a balance, but I assume that you have to have some outlets, or some ways to offset that and manage it to keep sane in a way.

    Jonathan: Absolutely.

    Mario: I’m curious, how do you approach that? 

    Jonathan: Well, we have one day a week where we’re free. It’s quite hard to refresh your mind and be – by the end of the season, you’re really exhausted. There’s really not a lot left in you. Also will. I mean, it is again as you said, a daily schedule, very active daily schedule, very taxing. Yeah. I take two months of traveling, basically. I think a month and a half of traveling and without dancing. Definitely a month without dancing. Because then you do come back – I mean, first of all, you miss it. There’s like, it’s so much part of your DNA that it’s like coffee in the morning. If you have coffee every day, as much as you might not like the taste of it at some point you’re like, “Okay. I function better if I have the morning coffee.”

    Jonathan: It’s the same thing a little bit here. All of a sudden, your pains start appearing after month of non-activity and you’re like, “Okay, this is not going well.” Then you get into it. I always try to travel. The last place I traveled to is where I can train as well, so that I can do a morning training, get back in shape and get going for the season that was coming up. Yeah, traveling. Yeah, disconnecting, disconnecting. Trying to a little bit live a, I don’t know, more normal life. That sounds so obscenely – No, no. Just really having like visiting family and just really not trying to watch any ballet whatsoever. That’s my way to cope with it. I’m not sure it’s healthy, but I’m sure I should find a better mechanism, but that has worked so far.

    At this point in our conversation, I’ve asked Jonathan to share what he thinks are the main challenges of being a professional dancer working today. 

    Jonathan: Dancing industry basically is entertainment at its core. It is old-school entertainment and I think that there’s just so much entertainment in the market nowadays. It’s an art form that you need to take the time to appreciate and to learn. It’s hard to just go in and watch a ballet and just say, “Oh, that’s my thing.” It comes with taste and you can go and see a Swan Lake, but what about that new piece from Wayne McGregor that goes and it’s much more obscure and is cool, but I’m not sure it’s for me kind of thing. When there’s so much more entertainment in the world with the phones, with the cinema, with everything basically, that is much easier to the eye and much less restraining time-wise and economically. I mean, it is expensive to go to a theater. That’s one of also the big challenges of the real theater as an entity is okay, how do we justify the people buy tickets for something?

    Mario: Yeah. How do you – I mean, you’re part of that industry. How can you, or other dancers contribute to that? 

    Jonathan: Well, I’m a romantic in the sense that I do believe that the more we’re going towards technology, the future and screens and distance, it’s becoming more and more rare, this thing of the moment. Right now, like tonight we’re having a performance of La Dame aux Camélias, which was created 40 years ago by a choreographer John Neumeier. We are all tonight, all 60 dancers that are part of this production are going to go and create something, are going to perform this piece that’s been choreographed. But this performance will be unique in a sense. 

    Jonathan: At no other time will I be in the state that I am right now, performing and portraying this character. This type of magic of just gathering and you can watch it live, you know what I mean? It has not a billion views on YouTube. It has 2,000 people watching in the audience and you’re a part of that, you’re part of this experience.

    Jonathan: I hope that the more we go in the future, the more there will be and then again, there’s this connection of human interaction that there will be put a price upon the moment, the mistakes, I mean, to that extent as well. Just we’re here and we’re going to watch something that nobody else is watching.

    One of the themes I explore through this podcast is growth. Even though it can be a painful process at times, I find it to be a crucial factor for achieving a sustainable satisfaction in both career and life. In one of his interviews, Jonathan said that the ballet has been a way for him to concentrate and focus his energy on improving himself, so it seems that he’s successfully managing that part of his career and using his craft as vessel to achieve that. I was interested in hearing what Jonathan is currently doing on that front.

    Jonathan: I try to involve myself more and more in creative process. I try as much as I am now teaching some of the older kids from the ballet school of the Royal Theatre just to have that in my side pocket and see okay, to explore okay, movement teaching young kids the craft of course, but also slowly shifting towards the artistic side of ballet, not just to interpret, interpreter, but shifting. I’ve done some choreography and there’s something that I’m will for sure pursue more as the time goes by in the next couple of years.

    Mario: Yeah. How do you go about like as a inspiration outside your field? Is that sure that’s a big part of it?

    Jonathan: Of course.

    Mario: It’s how you live your life, but are just any other sources which are not let’s say, particularly connected to dance or ballet, which have influenced you in a profound way? 

    Jonathan: I mean, painting a lot. Every time that I travel, I go to museums and try to discover not only the main pieces, but just – again, this thing of being in the moment of seeing it live. It doesn’t matter how much I zoom, then all sudden it’s there, feeling the paintbrushes on it. It’s just so unique. I try to imagine what state of mind was that person, was the artist in when they got to do that. As well just talking with other professionals as well, just professional on the art, or design, or just hearing their background, what they’re doing. It’s almost, wow.

    Jonathan: There’s just so many people in the – not so many people in the world, but we were in a bubble at the ballet many times, but we don’t realize how much there is, how many different – every daily thing that you take for granted, there is just so much research and so much thought. Just having a low window in those worlds, for me is always like very refreshing being in the space right now and just then you’re like, “Well.” Yeah, there’s a lot of thought behind this. I’m not the only person working really hard.

    Hey friends. You’re listening to the Creative Voyage podcast. We’re in the middle of this episode, so it’s time for a short break. If you like this podcast, I’m confident you’re going to enjoy the Creative Voyage Monthly Edit, a newsletter for which every month I ask a different creative professional to curate 10 brief recommendations of cool things to inform and inspire including books, articles, products, portfolios, podcasts, and more, and deliver it exclusively to your inbox. It’s a newsletter curated by creatives for creatives. To sign up, visit Thanks, everyone. Let’s get back to the show.

    By being the principal dancer at the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, I think it’s fair to say Jonathan enjoys relative success and industry fame. As we’ve heard, it was built over the decades through hard work and a good share of ups and downs. I wanted to hear what are Jonathan’s challenges at this point in his career.

    Jonathan: Well, it’s this idea that I’ve now done most of the big classics, the big roles, those roles that I’ve always wanted to do. No matter what I’m going to do, I’m just going to come back to those. I will never have the same type of excite, perhaps, or the buildup to a big premier. When it’s something that you’ve wanted all your life, all of a sudden you’re saying, “Okay, but I’ve done that. I will gladly do it again.” That’s not that, but it’s just to say, “Okay. Well, I did check that box and now I’m just going to come back and check it again.”

    Jonathan: This has been my main focus from many, many years. I’ve eaten ballet, I’ve done everything and all of a sudden saying like, “Okay. I guess, I just need to not repeat myself, but I’m just going to do that again.” Instead of saying I’m working – It’s like again, I’m very inspired, but there is definitely a point where and you have touched all this dream points and try to come back with a fresh eye and fresh mindset into these things, not saying to yourself, “Well, I’ve done that well. I know how it’s going to go. I know the rodeo.” Going back to yourself and then finding that in you 100% energy that you’ve had the first time. That is something I cannot feel upon myself, but definitely will be a thing.

    Mario: Let’s talk a bit about in how you can express yourself as a creative, because it is a creative outlet and depending on different disciplines, there’s always different best practices or different rules within each of those. What I find fascinating with dance, especially a traditional dance as ballet, at least to me, it seems that there is a lot of rules and it’s like wide strict and you as a person who is quite bound by a lot of different forces. I’m curious, how can you express yourself and be creative within that framework?

    Jonathan: I’m in now in the lucky position where I’m a principal dancer, which means I do have the title roles generally. For me now, my way of interpreting a role, I’m asked to inject my persona into these roles. Like what is Jonathan Chmelensky’s interpretation of the role of Siegfried in Swan Lake. I’m in this unique position where I have the freedom. I’m given the freedom to mix myself into the task.

    Jonathan: It’s harder for the work of assemble, that’s hard at times, such as the swans in Swan Lake. You can have such an aesthetic art form that you can have 24 girls on a Y22 doing their own. It has to be very precise and very – and that’s the upside. How do I personally? It’s when the creative process of with a choreographer that comes into house will usually say to you, “Okay. So show me something. I want you to go this direction.” That’s where all your background, your baggage, all your memories come to you and you say, “Okay. What do I think is cool? What do I think I look good in.” There’s a lot of parameters that are – the first time, you’re confused. The first time, you have no idea how to even start the movement. You just freeze. You’re just like, “What do you mean?” 

    Jonathan: It has happened. Everybody has gone through that phase of just – the character just like – that’s a little bit of… Okay, now but I think like, what about a movement of your leg perhaps going this way? He maybe initiates something. Why would be – then I would like for the girl to finish like this. How can we transfer this? Again, what I’ve seen on my experiences come in and then I was like, “Oh, yeah. Wait.” Body memory of practice, of past pieces that I’ve done.

    Jonathan: There was this moment where I could twist and then just grab the girl’s leg a second and that just comes with experience and time. We learn it’s some subdivision of the craft of the dancer. That’s that. Yeah.

    Mario: Like most professions, it’s also important to think about and what’s next? What’s coming? We do live in more destructive times, so there is always a – I think it’s a job of being a professional to dedicate a part of your time to think about, “Okay. What’s going to happen potentially in five years or 10 years or 20 years? Is my profession even going to be around?”

    Mario: Then if we talk about ballet in particular, you said the career of a professional ballet dancer in itself is not that long. I’m curious, how do you approach that and what’s next for you potentially? Or what are some of your next steps?

    Jonathan: I mean, as realistic as I can get, my main point of expertise is ballet and of the curse of it. The blessing and the curse. As a ballet dancer, you get into this as a profession very early, like by 19 you’re a professional and that’s it. You have to work. It’s hard for me to say to myself, “Okay. I’m going to run this until I’m 40 and then I’m going to go and change.” It’s unrealistic thing. Who is going to hire a 40-year-old with no experience in anything? Who in their right mind would say give a job?

    Jonathan: Of course, there is a very not only pragmatic, I love this profession and I love ballet and I love theater. That will of course, take me to continue within this artistic realm as specifically what it is. I have some ideas of what I’d like to do, but I need to have myself more. I’m still very focused on my career as a dancer, because I think I need to live this one all the way through, to address my – not my demons, but to get myself addressed. 

    Mario: Do you have any – it ties into the question before about balance. Do you have any other specific hobbies, or some things that you’re doing? I mean, because all these can usually be an exit strategy for – 

    Jonathan: Right. Not last summer. The summer before actually. I took a job as a bartender at Mikkeler bar in Viktoriagade, because I was re-questioning my whole existence a little bit. I was stuck a little bit mentally, professional. I was like, “Okay. I need to get out of here,” because this is about to – not going –The inspiration was staying to get then. 

    Jonathan: Then I went out to apply for the job. After some visitation, I think they needed somebody to cover for the summer and I went there and I think I was a pretty good bartender. It was more this thing where it was like, okay, well, there is a task to do and I think I’m – ballet dancers, because of we’re disciplined, or we’re just very good at the functionality of it. I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to do this 500 stickers on it. I’m just going to do it as fast as possible.” Almost again as a challenge. I think everybody ran me was like, “Well, okay. This is it.” 

    Jonathan: Yeah. I definitely do have this – and I will be able to catch up with all my friends. In all these years where I couldn’t attend a birthday party on a Wednesday and I’ll be the first one there. Yes, absolutely. It will be a natural, I mean, it can’t go on forever at a certain level. I’m also, I’m active physically all the time. I know that every other job is just being – every other brand shift, people who love what they do, that the next project is in their mind. They brush their teeth, they think about that project. “How can I better it?”

    Jonathan: I am very aware that I’m not special in that sense that my job is my lifestyle. I mean, as horrible as it may sound as before, I don’t have much time for hobbies. I am very aware of the unhealthiness of this, of the paradox of this like, okay, this sounds like a ticking bomb. I think that bomb would have exploded a long time ago if it wasn’t because I’m okay with it. I’m okay that that’s my lifestyle. That’s my career. That’s my lifestyle and that with everything that it goes with it.

    Jonathan: Again, I always use that example. You wouldn’t go on the dark web with your computer if your job was in your computer, you know what I mean? You wouldn’t go and download any type of software and just say, “Oh, I think it’s going to be fine.” It’s the same thing with other physical activities that’s out there. You don’t want to break anything, or you very rub yourself in bubble paper.

    Mario: I mean, I think it is very inspiring.

    Jonathan: Yeah. I enjoy good food. I do have a social life in that sense. Again, I’m inspired by anybody who is dedicated to the point where they’re trying to perfect their art form to the best they can and I get to enjoy that and I put a big value in that.

    As creatives, part of our craft isn’t only what it takes to perform a good job and making sure we prepare for it well, in a way what chefs would call ‘mise en place’. However, even if we plan and prepare for “everything,” things still are not guaranteed to go well. As a famous quote by Mike Tyson goes, “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” I believe those difficult moments and our responses to them is what separates an amateur from a professional. I was curious to hear how Jonathan manages those types of situations.

    Jonathan: Well, actually as a performer, you discover – I mean, at this point I’ve discovered that your ultimate performance, your best performance can be achieved quite young. By the time that you’re a professional, maybe hired a company even, I’m not exaggerating, but I’m putting in a white term, so you can perform your best. You can have the best performance. What you work for the rest of your career is actually in bettering your worst performance. 

    Jonathan: What you get with experience is first of all, you learn how to deal with your mental state throughout the day. “Okay, I’m shaky right now. The day has been a little bit of a off day.” The next thing is about, “Okay, I’m in pain with my shoulder today, so how am I going to deal with doing the task while not irritating this shoulder? Okay, my balance is really off today. How do I during the seconds that there is in between the steps, manage to correct that?”

    Jonathan: Like that, you actually diminish the distance between your best and your worst performance of the day. That comes with experience. That comes with many shows. You say, “Okay, but that didn’t work like you said. Okay, well I’m going to go – I’m off my balance. I’m going to give an even more energy a 100% and just throw myself into it and it’s going to work.” Then you discover, it’s not going to work. Well, that’s okay, live and learn. Okay, next time. “Okay, I’m just going to take a deep breath. I’m just going to pull my horses back and then I’m going to just continue and let the best step just go in the background and then move on to the next fresh.” All right, that works.

    Jonathan: For me, it was really again, that Andre Agassi was very revealing because tennis is a very alone sport. You’re very much on your own during. Somehow, a ballet dancer during a long performance is a little bit like a tennis player. Is only left by himself and adversary is the performance. How do you conquer that performance a little bit? I mean, again, of course experience, but also just diligence, coming with a plan. Worst case scenario. What is my best worst performance I’m going to be able to do is – and rehearse for that. This is my that rock bottom, because it’s still by that level you know how to do a really correct job. The untrained eye would not see the difference. You yourself know it. Maybe some of your colleagues that are watching though, but the naked eye wouldn’t see it. Just rehearse that. No matter, day in, day out, you get that same result that you want to have. That’s my way of coping with that.

    We’ve come to the last topic of discussing with Jonathan. As with previous guests, I’ve asked him to share three pieces of advice based on what he learned so far on his professional journey.

    Jonathan: One would definitely be take away the personal aspect of other people’s talent, other people’s good things. Because if he’s your competitor of some type, of some form, then one has a tendency of maybe, “That’s so him.” I could imagine that could be the same for anything. Well, that’s just so typical. Maybe take away that thing of being like, “Am I envious?” Then just see where lies his qualities, but that actually that he really does. Take that. Understand that and maybe apply that to yourself, but he does for instance as a dancer, you could say, “Okay. I don’t have a arch-nemesis.” But let’s say I had a arch-nemesis and say like, “Well. Okay, I just can’t stand that guy.”

    Jonathan: If I’m really honest, I can see that he is capable of I don’t know, changing characters, or portraying that type of character so well and so heartfelt. Then take that. Take that and include it to yourself and into your work and say, “Okay. Well, maybe that’s good for me to try to do that without copying him, but maybe go in that direction.” Definitely, the other thing is that routine, yourself a routine definitely is one of the main things of success for me and that’s what I’ve based a lot of my career on is really just this repetition, this idea of accepting the repetition, accepting the not boring, but accepting that ritual aspect and embracing it.

    Jonathan: Yeah, and third, giving your best every day. How can I be my best today? How can I really knock it out of the park?

    Mario: Yeah, amazing. I love that. Thank you.

    Jonathan: The pleasure is mine. Thank you so much for coming, everybody. 

    Mario: Thank you to everyone.

    Hey, everyone. That’s it for this episode. I hope you find it useful. If you like this podcast, tell a friend. I want to thank Jonathan for coming on the show during the special live recording of the podcast and the Otto in Copenhagen. Jonathan is a walking testament to the value of hard work and it is inspiring to see how he coupled that with his talent to achieve remarkable results. I’m grateful for the stories and honest insights he shared with me.

     Links to Jonathan’s work, as well as to some other things mentioned during the conversation can be found in the show notes at Also, you can follow on Instagram, join The Monthly Edit newsletter, and if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe.

    Until next time my friends. Take care.

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