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Have you ever had troubles to stick to one thing and push through to it?
Have you ever thought, that it’s because you haven’t found your calling yet?
Looking for answers in books or on the internet, you’ve probably heard things like:
Find out who you are and you’re going to be unstoppable!
Find your true passion!
Choose one thing and stick to it!
This isn’t bad advice per se. The problem is that it only scratches the surface.
If you’re a creative person, who would identify her/himself as a multi-passionate, or a scanner (Barbara Sher), or someone who just gets easily bored, you probably doubt your motivation all the time and have trouble finishing what you’ve started.
Getting the advice of finding your true calling won’t help in your case.
And I know it doesn’t because otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now.
I’ve been stuck in the world of self-doubt and analysis-paralysis for years myself and still am often. But nothing compared to who I was a few years ago.
Because I want you to avoid wasting years of your precious life, I’ve put these thoughts together in the following article.
It has the power to get you unstuck. The rest is on you 😉
My first advice to you would be the following:
DON’T TORTURE YOURSELF IF YOU DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT RIGHT NOW
To question what is your passion all the time is paralyzing. Especially, if you haven’t done anything yet. Don’t feel like you’ve failed because you still aren’t sure about what to do if you haven’t put any action into it until now. Just do it and find out WHILE YOU’RE DOING IT if it’s the right thing for you to do or not.
Think about it like this: Have you ever asked as a kid “Oh, I’m not sure if it’s the right thing for me. That’s why I’d rather stay here than follow my impulse to build a castle in the sand right now.”
Of course, you didn’t. You just grabbed your stuff and forgot yourself at the moment where your fingers touched the sand.
Unless you’re Moses, your passion isn’t a burning bush falling from the sky that dictates you how you’re going to spend the next 40 years:
You’ll have to TAKE ACTIONS to know what you’re made of.
This also means that you’ll have to force yourself at some point. It includes avoiding that sickness called perfectionism.
That would lead to my second advice:
FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT, NOT PERFECTION
My articles are far from being perfect. English isn’t my mother tongue, and I still make mistakes. When I stumble on an old review and read it, I sometimes feel amusement but also a sense of shame. Everything single time, I could find at least ten mistakes I should have noticed, but didn’t. Whether because I was tired and wanted to be finished on time – once I edited a video until 5 in the morning – or because I just couldn’t see it at the moment.
I still discover embarrassing stuff on my blog, but I know that I improved tremendously in the past year. And so can you. It’s evident, but:
The more you do, the better you get.
If I’d have compared myself to the YouTube professionals and filmmakers out there, I’d never put something online, ever.
This would lead to my third advice I’d like to share with you:
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
It’s fantastic to have idols because it’s a great way to learn. It’s a source of inspiration and something you can emulate for a while – until you’ve found your own style. But it’s not useful to compare yourself to others. Especially if those people are extremely successful and have been doing it for years. And you for six months.
Comparing yourself to others will make you feel miserable because there will always be someone more successful, more creative and smarter than you.
That doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. I’m sure you are. But you’ll always find a dude or a gal, that is better than you are in some area. Or an “it”, if we want to include A.I.
Comparing yourself to others is an endless quest.
On one hand, that’s a good thing, because that’ll keep you growing, and therefore make you feel alive. On the other hand, if it becomes an obsession, it’s a sure path to become one of the unhappiest people on earth.
Take that pressure off your shoulders and focus on finding something that is sustainable for you.
How do you do that?
Well, I think one way of doing it is by starting being honest to yourself.
What do I mean by that?
Get crystal clear about what you like. This ranges from favorite dish to existential preoccupations.
And If you don’t know what you like, starts with what you dislike.
For example, if you don’t like a film that you think you should like because renowned journalists, filmmakers and a majority of people like it or tell you to like it, don’t get confused by it. Especially in the world of independent films, being a snob in the “snob club” seems to be a great idea. Just stop right away and give yourself permission to have your own opinion.
And don’t get me wrong here: I have nothing against independent films. There are tonnes of independent films I like, but there is also tonnes of stuff that I “should like” and objectively don’t.
The more consequent you are in being honest with yourself, the more clarity you’ll get.
And the more freedom by the way.
PUSH YOURSELF TO SUCCESS even if you don’t believe in yourself a hundred percent yet
At some point, you’ll want to make money or have an impact with your creative work.
It’s true that there a slim chance you can convince someone if you’re not confident in your capacities. But if you wait to be perfectly confident, you’ll never make a move.
You can’t think your way into self-confidence, you have to gain experience to strengthen it.
For example, if you’re asking for money or attention – it doesn’t matter if it’s a funding, sponsor or an offer from your potential client – DON’T UNDERSELL YOURSELF. It’s well known, that artists have great trouble in acknowledging their own value.
Instead of announcing a lousy version of yourself in advance – just in case you don’t succeed – RAISE YOUR STANDARDS, commit yourself to succeed and get to work.
Announce your best self to the world and do your best.
Selling yourself cheap won’t either help you nor others. It’s not inspirational or trustworthy.
That sounds harsh, but I want to get your attention here:
If you want to be successful (or have great relationships btw), acknowledge that IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
No matter if you want to get a film funding, an order, win a competition or get an audience, it’s never about you, but always about the ones you want to entertain or touch. Focusing on your interest and strengths is still a great idea, but always have in mind, that you produce work that is going to be shown.
Of course, I understand the urge of creating without any purpose or audience. That’s is absolutely legitim and even vital. But if you do want to share your work:
Don’t be surprised if success is missing because you don’t care about your audience.
SPOILER: People want to be amazed, amused, informed or helped. They want to be touched and moved and there isn’t anything wrong about that. What they don’t want is being preached about how many hours of work you’ve put into your film and what a misjudged genius you are.
Develop ENDURANCE and DISCIPLINE and SHOW UP
There is no such thing as an overnight success.
If you’ve ever thought someone has had an overnight success, it’s because you haven’t seen what they’ve done before or you don’t know what hard work ist. Period.
And if there is, it’s not sustainable.
Because you’ve not built the muscle yet, to keep it up. Even if you’re very talented, success is a mental game that you can’t win, if you’re not prepared for it.
But know you can do it!
You’ll feel discourage many times. But you’ll have to put the work in no matter what. And on certain days, I guarantee you, that it’s going to be everything but glamorous. Nobody is going to care about what you do, but YOU’LL HAVE TO SHOW UP ANYWAY because that’s how you’ll get stronger and better.
If you stay consistent, you will be surprised at how things can change profoundly.
This also implies that it’s not worth it beating yourself up when you aren’t.
Consistency matters in the long run.
To finish, I’d like to share this famous Woody Allen’s quote with you:
“I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen. All the other people struck out without ever getting that pack. They couldn’t do it, that’s why they don’t accomplish a thing, they don’t do the thing, so once you do it, if you actually write your film script, or write your novel, you are more than halfway towards something good happening. So that I (said) [sic] my biggest life lesson that has worked. All others have failed me.”
Woody Allen, Interview for The Collider (2008).
So, be you be your best as often as you can and there are good chances that you’ll win the mind game of creative success!
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