For the sake of ourselves, let’s accept that we all go through this feeling of swimming in a pool of void. We tend to concede in fear, before we have any energy left for the good things that matter. Having this instinct means that about 60% of the time, we see the glass half-empty, and look for confirmation that we suck. It’s too much to accept that we are overwhelmingly capable of changing the world.
So many of us naturally deny that we have a problem that we now wear it as a badge of honor. The more anxious we are, the more we must convince ourselves we don’t have a problem.
This discordant zest for choking on our fear than speaking out is what gives us artists a loophole. Where we go out or lock ourselves in for days and just create (or procrastinate). What we really do is question the following:
What if I can’t come up with any good ideas?
What if I waste these expensive materials on something that goes nowhere?
Do I need to buy a better gear to get better pictures?
What if it’s not worth it?
Am I charging too much? Am I charging too less?
How can I outdo myself this time?
Why did I buy so many similar looking props?
Am I good enough?
Does this look similar to someone else’s work?
What the hell? Am I swimming in the void again?
The day is almost over.
Fear is relentless with criticism and disapproving attitude. Those negative voices are a part of our brain that’s wired for survival. Instead of grabbing a self-help book and master the art of not giving a f**k, use some and put that energy into learning about your problem. It could be anxiety, bi-polar disorder or panic attacks. LEARN. After (somewhat) focusing on the above mentioned, I have been adamant on pushing myself to do these new mental exercises. I came across these while swimming around in the pool, but, with a purpose to get better.
GREET FEAR LIKE AN OLD FRIEND
It’s natural to feel fear, and apprehension when you’re staring at a blank canvas/page hoping for a magical idea to pop out. Remember, resisting anxiety takes more energy than accepting and working with it. Acknowledge your darkest thoughts with a warm hug and work your way through each doubt that is stopping you to reach your maximum potential.
While you are in the zone of critical thinking and self-analysis, make the most of it by writing it down. Journal. Paint. Write a few sentences, scratch everything and then start over. The best ideas are often the ones that struck you the first time around, the second time is merely an imitation. So, don’t wander away telling yourself that maybe you need a break. Don’t go for a walk or watch a movie to ‘get inspired’ at that time. Sometime, you can do that, you’re only human. But Sometimes, suck it up and push yourself. Fill that void with something you genuinely enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be good enough, but just enough to keep yourself going.
PROCRASTINATE WITH PURPOSE
Procrastination is just anxiety with a bad rap.
We procrastinate to make space between decisions. When you feel like you need to flee, permit yourself to do so! But, put a time limit on it so you won’t fall into the deep wave of web surfing or “researching”
Step away from the screen, take two minutes to just sit down and breathe. I was reluctant at first, but it does help boost your productivity. I keep a bunch of my favorite books, (and chamomile tea) handy so that I can turn my procrastination breaks into inspiration interludes. Books can be a breath of fresh air, also, try to keep the page flipping to a minimum. This is to give you an energetic supercharge, not necessarily an idea for your project.
SPEND ONLY 20 MINUTES TO MAKE A DECISION
It may sound peculiar, but it sounds like great advice that some guy acquired from his professor, and he is not wrong. It is easier to make excuses for not moving ahead. Practicing this one builds your “creative risk muscle” and makes taking risks easier over time.
It also helped me procrastinate less, and think more productively about the activities based on the decision made.
This is huge. Start using it today.
FEAR > TAKING RISKS
Fear of rejection, fear of failing, mediocrity, disappointment and fear of going broke from expensive art supplies, materials, gears and props that yield no profit, keep us in a holding pattern. You may even have your very own pinhole camera built from scratch, or an expensive paper or an accessory that you just had to buy for yourself.
Creative people need to collect beautiful things! – remember this.
Although, no one talks about the giant and silent fear that resides within us, about acknowledging ourselves. Each time fear repels you away from a great assignment/decision, consider that you are running away from your potential and success.
I know it sounds ludicrous, but,
we are more terrified of our success than of our failure.
Creativity is like that old joke: Adam says to Eve,
“Stand back Eve… I don’t know how big this thing’s going to get!”
When you become afraid of your enormous potential, excited by the vast possibilities before you, know that you are about to make something that never existed before and when you do –
Breathe it in and acknowledge what is new.
While on your way to finding your true ikigai, appreciate the idea that process is the key to happiness here; you must stay on the road of the process long enough to see where it can lead you.
Feel better and brighter,