This is a common story: a skilled artist or creative decides to become a designer because there is more job security. Or a lawyer. They never really develop their creative talent and feel unfulfilled.
Or the other side: a skilled artist decides to work at a cafe to have free time/brain-space to pursue art. They never build up enough money to buy a house they long for and always feel like they are scraping by.
Some people make compromises like that and are OK with it, but I’m here to say you don’t have to.
The idea that these two are in opposition is a culturally reinforced myth.
It takes skill and planning to create a vehicle (like a business) that lets you have all the security and all the freedom that you want, but it is possible.
But first you have to believe it is.
Why your brain is afraid of creativity
First, we have this cultural story, lots of them, about “starving artists”.
Then, we have our brains. They are hard-wired to want to, uh, eat. Not starve.
So if you feed the average brain this cultural story about “starving artists”, what is it going to want to do? Not be an artist!!
And that’s not bad. That’s it’s job. There is nothing wrong with fear. It’s just important to examine it and correct the stories that it’s based on.
Stop believing the stories are predictive
The stories about “starving artists” range far and wide and cover many types of professions. There is a lot of fear behind them. And a lot of real people played out these stories.
But that doesn’t mean that YOU will, or that it ALWAYS happens that way.
Our brains have a way of making our stories come true. So what story do you want to live? A creative person who always struggles with money? A financially secure person who is never quite satisfied? Or a person who has defied the odds, and created a way to make a good living that supports their deepest creative yearnings?
Feed your brain something more useful
Find some new stories. Find people who have the lifestyle you want – BOTH creative and financial. Find people who didn’t listen to that story, didn’t give up either need, who had a vision for more and followed it.
The beautiful thing that happens when you really believe this is possible – and that neither energy has to be sacrificed for the other to come to fruition – is that these two powerful energies – the will to survive and the will to be creative and free – they combine and become the will to thrive. And harnessing that combination will give you the power to create a life that you truly enjoy.
(This post inspired by Sarah Dopp’s post Feed the Freak)
Anthony Freeman says
Great post! It’s always sad to see so many immensely talented artists deprive themselves of success by indulging in fantasies of self-imposed penury. If you’re good at something and you put all of your heart and soul into it, success is inevitable. But if you say no to success, then there’s no point in becoming an artist in the first place.
@Anthony Heart and soul are good–I would also say to put your mind and body into it – as in, learn what you need to learn and do what you need to do to be successful. =)