The funniest thing to me about creatives picking a career path is we tend to be quite emotional people. Creativity often attracts people who feel a need to express themselves and have an outlet. Yet in a professional context creative work can have such a massive hit to our egos and emotions.
Naturally, as people, we crave acceptance. We desire that the things we project and the expressions we make are well received. We want our ideas to be celebrated and praised. But the hilarious part to me is that within a creative process it’s anything but validating. A lot of the process involves exhausting tasks.
One night at a gig I got to talking to an architect who had almost finished his degree. We were talking about what attracted him to studying a creative field. He told me he wanted to do something professionally that he could use to express himself.
As he was nearing the end of his studies, he was talking about how difficult the process had been and how he couldn’t wait for it to be over. The “ah hah” moment we had together was when I mentioned that; How funny is it that creatives pick a creative career yet as we tend to be emotional people it continually feels like a slap and hit to our egos.
Our ideas can be rejected, we can be told our work constantly isn’t good enough, and it takes many years of putting out average or embarrassing work to “get good”. It’s a constant process of fail, fail, fail and fail.
As creatives, we all want to fart out gold, with very minimal effort. We want our output to be as effortless as it is scrolling through Instagram to see all of this fantastic work pop up in a flash in front of us. We want to swallow the “greatness” and “never fail” pill and just keep flushing out the most incredible work the world has ever seen.
Yet we take the process for granted. The negative of this “constant positivity and follow your passion” mindset we live in nowadays, is our expectations aren’t equipped to deal with negativity. We’re not encouraged to weed through problems. We’re not encouraged to push through dilemma's and solve them. How often do you hear “If you’re not happy you should probably stop doing it”. I don’t encourage any type of behaviour that can impact negatively on mental health. But I’m finding more and more that fewer people encourage people to overcome significant struggles in their lives. We often don’t help people to reach their full potential and to dream bigger. Instead, we tell other people to do things that make sense to us and seem "easy."
We should be more encouraging to people in our lives to dream bigger, to anticipate the failure and to ultimately to never give up. Even outside of a creative context, this mentality to failure applies to such a broader life spectrum.
Moving back to my original point; as creatives, we’re attracted to a creative career for the beauty and ease of expressing ourselves. But there are so many more aspects to this lifestyle. And arguably those negatives can deter us and make us throw in the towel.
My solution, and as cliche as it sounds is: don’t give up. The number of times I’ve wanted to quit and pack it all in are the times that literally around the corner I reach a personal milestone, that makes me think “if I gave up I wouldn’t have experienced this achievement”. I would have robbed myself the glory of experiencing a moment of relief and solace that makes all the hard times worthwhile.
And it’s ok to experience these hard times. Experiencing negativity is ok. Its ok to experience a rough patch. These experiences make us stronger and lead us to be appropriately equipped to savour and take advantage of opportunities yet to come. We’ve all met people without much substance that leave a bad taste in our mouths. These people without much substance often come from not experiencing a lot of the negatives in life that make them unrelatable as people that don’t garner much respect.
Cherish the negatives, as it genuinely is your strength in the life you build for yourself. Stop wanting everything to be a rosy and happy journey all the time. Be thankful for your struggles and pain as it shapes you as a person and makes you more relatable. Keep fighting for those deeper and bigger goals and don’t let anyone stray you from your path.
Tag a friend of yours who’s going through a tough time that needs this message of positivity!