Searching For Success: Don’t Make Excuses, Make Decisions (3/4)

If you find yourself making excuses for not having achieved a goal, take the following into consideration…

1. The goal you set was unreasonable
2. You don’t care enough about the goal in order to achieve it

If you you take statement 1, and have come to the terms that the goal you set was unreasonable, then all you need to do is simply rethink your goal. Take the goal and stretch the timeline to something that’s more reasonable, or reconsider the steps that you need to take in order to achieve your goal. By doing this you may find that reaching your original goal may come more easily. Perhaps you need to simplify what needs to be achieved first in order to ease yourself in to the larger picture. It’s easy for us to set ourselves too high an expectation, and setting such high expectations is another way that creative depression can creep in.

If you’ve come to the realisation that statement 2 is true, then this isn’t time to worry. Take it as a wake up call. Maybe you would like to be doing something different, or have said yes to a job that you should in fact have said no to in the first place. Maybe it’s too early to be focusing on this job, or maybe it’s too late. Find another goal that you feel passionate about now and focus on that. Perhaps you will come back to your original goal, perhaps not. Whatever you chose will be the best decision for you.

When I’m in the creative zone and writing music, I often find statement 2 to be more true than statement 1. The reason begin that I may have started writing a piece of music, but despite having spent a lot of time on it, I in fact don’t like it; which leads me to not caring about it enough to finish it. This is often a sign that I need to move on. I can spend hours, days, weeks, months or years working on said piece of music, but until I find that creative spark that leads to my fascination in the piece again, I know that my time can be better spent on something else.

Don’t be afraid to set projects aside, don’t make an excuse, make a decision. Ask yourself: Does this piece of work deserve anymore of my time as much as something else? Will I achieve more by doing something else? Will I be happier if I do something else which I will more likely succeed in?

These questions may not just relate to your creative decisions but also your life decisions. Think about everything you do in life. Does each thing deserve your time as much as your creative work? Will you achieve more if you stopped doing something in order to focus on your creative work? Will you be happier and more likely to succeed if you make these decisions?

The answer to the majority of these questions are likely to be yes. Make a decision to change rather than use anything as an excuse.

Searching for Success: Just Do It (2/4)

You’ve probably seen this cliched and probably copy written term used over and over, but it’s core meaning could never be more true. In order to be successful we need to come terms with the fact that we need to mentally and/or physically do something in order to achieve the goals we have planned to be achieved, but often we can allow other things to get in the way of our own success.

Personally I will often blame ‘life’ (See Life vs. Creativity), but I know that if I am going to consider life to be a hurdle that I must jump, then I also need to consider whether my goals are too unreasonable for myself if they do not take life into consideration. However, I still understand that a goal will not be achieved until I do something to aid it’s achievement.

Procrastination is easy to succumb to, and by giving into it we can encourage creative depression to creep in and take control over our own success. It’s often hard to believe that if we simply fight procrastination enough in order to just do something that the creative juices will start to flow and we will be one step closer to achieving our goal. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been sat binge watching box set series instead of working on my creativity; too easily allowing the next episode to play disregarding the time flying by. At the end of the day I ask myself where the time has gone wondering why I hadn’t gotten anything done, thus introducing a self loathing induced by my own self discipline.

Creativity is an exercise that when practised will naturally evolve and encourage us to take the next steps needed in order to achieve our goals, but until we just do it and get into the zone of acting on our goals, we won’t be successful. It’s not until you understand this and have the discipline to practise it that you will become successful.

Searching for Success: Setting Reasonable Goals (1/4)

“If we constantly increase our expectations we’ll never know when we’ve succeeded…”

Success to each person can have different meanings. It’s important that when we first set out to be successful in our chosen field that we set a goal; otherwise we may not accept our own success. If we constantly increase our expectations we’ll never know when we’ve succeeded in achieving our goals, and to begin with we shouldn’t set any goals that are too unreasonable or un-achievable. We need to start with a simple goal, map out what needs to be achieved (See Planning Creativity). and make sure to review our work and acknowledge our own success (see Creative Depression (3/4): Recognise Your Achievements, Overcome and Adapt)

Take this blog for example…

I set myself a goal to write a blog entitled ‘Searching for Success’. By beginning with the aim to write a blog to that subject matter I knew I could write a draft. I could then edit that draft to make sure it wasn’t too specific or too generic. I know that once I’ve finished writing it, I can hit publish. I know that by doing this I have been successful in achieving my initial goal. The goal wasn’t unreasonable or unachievable and I can now look back on it as an achievement.

Devil’s advocate might say however, “You’re only successful when 1000 people have read your blog”. I know that for myself, setting the goal of encouraging 1000 readers to read my blog wouldn’t be unachievable, but I would personally deem it as unreasonable. Setting such a goal would require a more time than I could justify dedicating to this project, yet simply writing a blog and publishing it can be justified.

“Understanding what success means to you personally is important…”

Your own opinion of success is personal. For me success is achieving what I’ve set out to do in the first place; not successful recognition by somebody else’s opinion. Understanding what success means to you personally is important, and having sensible goals in order to allow for success aid in the fight against ‘Creative Depression’.

Lastly, I’d like to just link you to a video that inspired this subject. Disregarding any of the stigma around the speaker, his words are valid to any creative. He talks about defining your expectations in relating to success in the music industry. (starting around 30s in, and lasting for around 5 minutes)

Creative Depression (4/4): Find Help For Your Personal Battle

“Breaking through depression can be a very positive experience…”

Depression covers many feelings that through my own experience I would never want anyone else to feel, but at the same time it’s these feelings that make us all human. Breaking through depression can be a very positive experience when taken on in the right manner, but you need to remember to ask for help.

Depression is a very personal thing and it can of course be spoken about with others but speaking rarely leads to the real truths in order to ‘fix’ it. Said truths can simply be too hard to understand by another, or sometimes they may seem fickle or lead to a misunderstanding of the cause or seriousness of the depression. Sometimes it be so convoluted and intricate that there can’t be any understanding due to the ever changing mind-map of someones brain, it can often be hard to summarise thoughts correctly in order to tell someone about them and It takes a very smart mind to do so; this means that we don’t often speak truthfully and openly about depression. We put a mask on in order to hide it, make excuses, or simply not recognise it at all. We don’t want attention but sometimes we need to reach out for a hand in order to gain a better understanding.

“Depression is a personal battles that we fight with every weapon we can get our hands on…”

I often say to people that I like to read a lot of self help books, and this is probably why I write in the way that I do. The reason I read self help is simply for advice. 75% of that advice could be utter nonsense that doesn’t relate to me, but 25% might ring true, and lead to a self revelation that can help me to move forward. Depression is a personal battles that we fight with every weapon we can get our hands on, personally self help enables me to fight that battle perhaps in a way a pill might help another.

Ask for help in your field of work or study, as it’s common that the battles you’re facing have been fought by others in a similar way, but maybe only 25% of their experience is relevant to yours. At least you can take that 25% to ensure you make your own better.

I have no training in Clinical Depression, and these articles or any other I write are not done via official research into the subject, but simply a personal opinion on how depression can often relate to creative people.

Creative Depression (3/4): Recognise Your Achievements, Overcome and Adapt

“Each time we create we create something beautiful…”

At the end of the day, we are trying to dull a sense of failure. In order to do this, we have to understand what failure truly is. We also have to recognise that we are not failures in the common world. Each time we create we create something beautiful even though we may not see it through our own eyes; we have to learn to understand it in this manner.

A helpful way to dull the sense of failure for myself, is simply to write down my achievements. Perhaps I’ll look at the past week, month or year. Write everything down that you have achieved; and I mean everything. Nine times out of ten I’ll be astonished. I would have forgotten about certain things that perhaps before I hadn’t considered to be achievements, or maybe I forgot I had achieved something within the time frame set.

“…make a decision to ensure you don’t fail…”

It’s best to recognise your achievements to overcome any sense of failure. Think about your own wellbeing, your future and who you are and what you want to be. If we consider failure too much we’ll end up spiralling down again. It helps to understand that if something has gone wrong and you genuinely feel that you have failed then it is so, but make a decision to ensure you don’t fail again in the future; be selfish.

I’m being openly honest by saying that in order to rid a any sense of failure for the future, we have to be selfish. No one should have to suffer through depression, and if you are suffering with depression then there’s only one person who truly can help you to get out of it, and that is yourself. We may often try to fix the past but why not think about how you can fix the future instead?

So this is what I’d like you to do…

1. Get a pen and paper

2. Write down your achievements for the past year

3. Make note of the workflow you used in order to achieve it

4. How was this achievement made similar to others in your life?

5. Adapt it and make it better for the future

If you read my previous post ‘Life vs Creativity (2/4): When in Your Life Were You Most Creative?’, you may find that thinking about when you most creative in your life and how that relates to your achievements will help you to adapt your life in the future in order to overcome any sense of failure.

I have no training in Clinical Depression, and these articles or any other I write are not done via official research into the subject, but simply a personal opinion on how depression can often relate to creative people.