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.

Creative Depression (1/4): The Need to Create

“…a constant nagging sense of failure…”

Creatives thrive on the need to create, and in order to create there has to be something to achieve that hasn’t already. The drive to create is a constant nagging sense of failure until you have achieved your goal, but once said goal is achieved, we constantly think of the next goal ahead; and until then the sense of failure kicks in again.

A musician like myself may write a new piece of music, and for the few minutes whilst I’m listening to that newly finished piece of music I feel amazing; but what’s next? Instead of taking time to enjoy my achievement, I have an overwhelming desire to write another new piece of music, and until that new piece of music is finished I’ll often subconsciously feel that catastrophic sense of failure.

“…we constantly seek improvement…”

This brutal cycle that many of us may recognise can be the demise of the creative. Our brains constantly think about our next steps and we constantly seek improvement, but rarely recognise how we have improved through our previous works. It’s too easy to be overly critical of ourselves by focussing on the negative rather than the positive; but these feelings can be harnessed. Depression can be adapted and converted into a creative drive in order to cease any form of creative block in the future. That overwhelming sense of failure can actually be manipulated into working for us as creatives, rather than letting it spiral into a pool of self loathing.

“…recognise your need to create…”

Taking the first step to understanding that your creative depression may simply be caused by a need to create may help you to positively change your future. I touched on this previously when talking about ‘Life Vs Creativity’, as when you recognise your need to create, you can make a decision to enable that need, and by doing so you can enable your own success as creatives in the future.

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.