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 (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.