Searching for Success: Have Faith and Never Give Up (4/4)

“Real success comes from those who have faith in themselves…”

Faith is a very powerful thing. Having faith in yourself will encourage your own success. Having faith will also allow you to be more understanding of the speed of which you may become successful. By this I mean that success does not happen in a split second overnight. Overnight success comes and goes; like a one hit wonder in the pop charts. Real success comes from those who have faith in themselves, work hard and continue to work hard; although we all need a break now and again.

“It’s easy to only focus on your own singular big goal and forget about all of the other achievements…”

It’s important to recognise your own work and success sometimes in order to restore faith. A good exercise is to simply sit and write down or review your previous work. Look at the planned goals you have achieved but also recognise the unplanned goals you have achieved. By this, I mean those unexpected achievements that you may have forgotten about or were offered to you by someone else. It’s easy to only focus on your own singular big goal and forget about all of the other achievements that may have been made possible by working on that goal. It’s also important to understand that in the process of reaching you goal, that it will often intertwine with others also searching for success in their field.

For myself, this is every single gig I have ever been offered by a promoter from a venue, every interview on radio or for a blog/website, each album sale or words of encouragement from a fan, or questions of advice from other budding creatives who may deem me as being successful. My creative success is the process of making music, this is where my personal goals and achievements and success lie, everything else is an amazing bonus, but also a nudge in the right direction of another future personal goal; to earn part of my living through chosen use of creativity.

Real success is a timeline of small successful achievements throughout life, and to add to this all of the bonus achievements that come with it. Success isn’t one singular moment or achievement, their may be one achievement that overshadows others or out-dates them, but it’s often those who give up after such an achievement who in the not too distant future will be met again by creative depression. Our drive as creatives is to continue to be successful with whatever big ideas or problems we put in front of ourselves, and by having faith that we will be successful will help us to keep moving forward, never give up and be successful.

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)

Life vs Creativity (2/4): When in Your Life Were You Most Creative?

Think about this for a while. You probably didn’t suddenly decide one day to be creative. You’ve most likely been creative throughout your entire life; but when were you the most creative?

I asked myself this question not too long ago, and it really started to help me understand how my creativity is affected by what was (and is) going on around me. My most creative and productive point in life was actually between the ages of 16-18. In this time, I studied 3 A-Levels whilst still living with my parents. I was lucky enough for them to feed me and keep the roof over my head. I studied and did what I needed in order to tick the boxes. I never felt overloaded with work, and I had an abundance of free time to use to my own means.

I was free…

I was free to use my time to my own means. I had chosen the A-levels that I wanted to study, and I had a drive to learn new skills. I was inspired by some amazing teachers who were passionate about their subjects, and who were passionate for us all to succeed. I felt comfortable. I felt happy. I saw a creative direction that I wanted to take and pursue.

Thinking about this time in my life made me realise something so simple that I was shocked I had never thought much about it before.

Time + Freedom = Creativity

Learning this for myself was a stepping stone towards creative success. All I needed to do was find the time and freedom from life in order to be creative… Right?

“But wait… Now i’m all ‘grown-up’ –  I have a job, I have to pay the rent, I have to buy my own food, my own clothes, pay the bills, pay to fix anything that breaks or replace it, clean everything, take the rubbish out each week, buy the Christmas and Birthday presents each year, oh and cover that extra shift at work, meet so and so for that meeting…” etc etc etc

Life < Creativity

We all grow up, and life starts to get in the way of our creativity. Life takes away our time and our freedom, meaning that it very quickly becomes greater; and more important than our creativity.Through experience however, I’m a firm believer that you have control over your own life, and that we must dictate how we wish our lives to be run. Life will always get in the way, so we have to learn how to work around life, and introduce creativity into our lives on a daily basis to fill the hole it once left.

In order to do this we need to revolutionise our workflow to be more productive creatives by using our time wisely. In previous blogs I’ve spoken about planning, and this will come into play when revolutionising our creative workflow, but the key to this comes in the actions we take when we are in the moment of that planned time; and we are doing the things that we have planned. In this moment it is about speed, efficiency and discipline;  something that can only be achieved through premeditation and practise. This is a step towards creating a happy medium. A place where we’re not fighting a battle of Life vs Creativity anymore, but an equal standing between the two.

Revolutionising Workflow = Life Creativity