If anyone had read my last blog post it was evident that I was feeling lost about my direction and purpose. I wrote a journal entry expressing all of the pain, misery and anguish I felt towards my career. I felt so misplaced and misguided. I had no sense of purpose or reason as to why I was putting in all of this work.
Contextually within all of this, my personal life was a mess. I wasn’t taking care of myself or my health. I developed this unhealthy fixation on work, success and progress. So much so that I was becoming incredibly distant from people that were close to me.
My focus was relentlessly and exclusively on “work”. All I cared about was building a name for myself, being successful and reaching an income bracket. Which isn’t a way to cultivate any happiness or satisfaction. This misery I created for myself was making me lose sight of who I was.
In a nutshell, I was getting so ahead of myself, that I was concerned with things that hadn't even happened yet. Being arrogant I wasn’t thinking of myself as a “beginner” I was viewing myself as an established person who should have been within a particular set of circumstances.
Which lead to further disappointment for me. In the crux of a mental breakdown, I sought out a therapist to help try and figure out what it was that I was going through and where the root of this pain had developed.
What he ended up clarifying for me, was that from things that had happened to me at a younger age I was seeking “acceptance”. My focus and fixation on work, was me trying to seek acceptance from a wider community. My fixation on relentlessly working and “building a name for myself” was coming from a place of ego and arrogance. I wasn’t focusing on the work its self, and had been way too caught up in “what I thought the work would bring”. I was micro-focused on the results.
With this awareness, I realised how stupid it is to chase acceptance in a creative career. No matter how hard you try or how badly you want recognition; you’re never going to get it from the “majority” of people. Realistically you’re going to appeal to a small segment of people in the world, and the rest may criticise you and not understand what the hell you’re trying to do. Chasing acceptance in a creative career was honestly causing me so much misery and heartache, and I couldn’t understand why. My level of self-awareness was so low, I never fully comprehended or understood my motivations.
From this realisation and awareness, I started to take on the approach of thinking about my life as a segment of experiences. Which took me out of the mindset of continually focusing on expectations and results.
This fixation on results is so dangerous because it took so much love and passion away from what I was doing, and ultimately I was worried about things that haven’t even happened yet. With a mindset of chasing experiences, I’ve become more focused on dealing with what’s in front of me rather than worrying or concerning myself with a plethora of possibilities and things that haven’t and might not happen for me.
In short, the most significant and prominent lesson I’ve learned is to take each day as it comes. Not to get so caught up in the “what may’s”, “what might’s” and “when will’s” and just focusing on the immediate priorities.
Cheesy as hell, but the simplicity in taking each day as it comes makes me not entertain ideas that overwhelm me and make me feel worse about myself.
I’m hoping this inspires people to identify the things that are causing them underlining pain and hardship. I feel the sooner we recognise the things that are causing us to harm, the sooner we can liberate ourselves and focus on what’s important. And ultimately freeing ourselves from burdens that weigh us down.
Don’t be shy to start journaling to write out your thoughts and to explore your perspective to get to the deeper root as to what’s troubling you.