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Taking a Break

“The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” – Aldous Huxley

After 44 days of posting each morning I decided to take a break of indefinite length.

I had a HUGE epiphany the other day about the way creative people struggle with their work life. It gave me insight into my past, present and future. In consequence I have to make significant changes in my life right now and I don’t know where it takes me.

I’ll definitely continue to write on a daily basis, because writing is magic and magic makes me happy. I’m just not sure what exactly I’ll write about, for what purpose and where I’ll publish it.

Eventually I might end up where I started, but with a new level of understanding, like Huxley suggests. See you there!

Why Creative People Struggle

Creative people are blessed and cursed at the same time. Failing to understand how creativity works can easily result in ruining their entire life. What I’ll share below is something I just realized yesterday and it’s HUGE.

Definition of Creative People

People with a creative mind love to create things (obviously), they like the process of creation itself, they do art. Writers, traditional artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers of any sorts, software developers, marketing specialists and even some entrepreneurs. There are more creative professions today than ever before. People who are drawn by the forces of creation can choose from a wide array of fields.

How they are Blessed

Creative persons are full of passion. If they create something they put in everything they can, even a part of their souls. They enjoy every minute of the creative process, they’re giving birth to their own child, in a way. It’s not unusual if a creative person refers to creating art being sometimes better than sex! Someone who isn’t creative can’t possibly understand this.

What’s the Curse?

So far being creative sounds very good, right? It is truly a blessing. Unless the creative person falls into the trap most of them fall into. The trap of trying to use their art to make a living.

It’s like this. In this current ecomony there isn’t really a way around money. Either you have some or you die, being creative or not. Now, creative people usually try to find a job where they can apply their natural or learned abilities. That seems very logical, doing what you love for a living sounds like the dream. Except that it isn’t, at least not at first.

Almost all of the jobs where some form of creativity is required are also jobs where very strict constraints are put in place. Creatives who aren’t well established, famous artists (yet) have to do their art within the boundaries defined by – usually very uncreative – bosses. Think about the creative fields I listed above! All of them have to abide to laws, even entrepreneurs who have multiple bosses in form of clients.

There is a giant problem with that: Truly creative people can’t work within boundaries! Especially ones that are set by others. Creatives try to fulfill themselves with their work, they become one with it, they pour their souls into it. What happens next?

Their bosses (clients) judge their art! How can you judge art? You can’t. Art is not theirs to judge, it’s there to enjoy. But bosses (clients) do not think of the creation as art. They think of it as work done that needs evaluating. By doing that they devastate the artist. They kill a part of their souls with it.

Time goes on and these artists get depressed by not being able to enjoy work. Their creative energy is killed by a job that requires creativity but doesn’t allow for self-fulfillment. They are unable to create art in their spare time either, because after a whole day of frustrating work who could?

That’s why there are so many struggling artists out there, whether they are called artists or just creative people.

How to Avoid the Curse?

Luckily there is a very good method to avoid this common trap. It’s very easy and logical yet almost no one’s doing it. There is even a recipe for it. You can read all about it in my upcoming book that’ll cost you just $47… NO, I’m just kidding. :) Here it is.

To completely avoid the curse and have a fulfilling, awesome life as a creative person, from the beginning, even before you get successful with your art, you have to do the following.

  1. Find a part-time job that has NOTHING to do with your art nor any other forms of creativity, if possible. Find something that pays enough to live by but doesn’t require your whole day, one that stops when you leave work, where your boss won’t call you after-hours. Do the job but don’t be the job. It’s not a carrier, it’s a part-time gig.
  2. Create whatever you love to create when you don’t work, without anybody telling you how or what or how fast to create. No boundaries, no rules, no bosses (clients) to judge! No pressure to make money with it either. Find a job that uses up the less creative part of the day and leaves the creative part free for your art. For most people the morning hours are the creative ones but there are some who love to create in the evening. There are all kinds of part-time jobs that can complement each version. You just have to look for it.
  3. When you get well enough with your art opportunities will arise automatically. You will be able to gradually switch from your part-time gigs to something that pays much better but also gives you full control over what you do. Maybe you’ll get some fame and thus create according to your own rules that you can change anytime. Or you create something that people want pay for without telling you how to do your art. This will happen sooner or later if you allow for your creativity to flourish. And if it doesn’t happen? You still have a wonderful life because you can create each and every day, whatever you want.

If someone would’ve told me this simple recipe 15 years ago I’d be at a completely different place right now. If you’re still reading this it means it applies to you too. So give it a try and have the best life possible. You’re welcome! :)

Burning Bright & Falling Deep

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly, Roy. Look at you. You’re the prodigal son. You’re quite a prize! [...] Revel in your time!” – Tyrell, Blade Runner

There are those who strive to be balanced in their lives, especially when it comes to emotions: not too optimistic, not too pessimistic either.

And then there are those that thrive on the edges: rising to an emotional highpoint, enjoying the heck out of it as long as it lasts, then collapsing quickly to the depths of self-agony.

I think both can work out fine just not for the same person. I can’t tell much about being harmonious since I belong to the second group.

I often become very enthusiastic about some project, pour all of my energy and hopes into it and love each and every moment of the process. Then things turn and I begin to feel worse. At this point I let myself fall as quickly as possible until I hit rock bottom so that I can rise up again.

Having intense emotions, positive and negative, is essential for me, it makes me feel alive. Being in the middle is death to me.

Here is the takeaway: Know which emotional type you are and don’t try to force yourself to be the other one. It just won’t work.

The Trap of Accomplishments

Completing as many tasks as possible within a workday does not make life better.

Being always in a race with the todo list results in hating work altogether. Trying to derive happiness from the act of finishing is a bad tactic. The good feeling of completing something usually lasts only for a few minutes, but the bad feelings of the rushed process of arriving there lasts the whole day.

And yet, knowing all this does not prevent us from falling into the trap of accomplishments again. Because it’s so easy to think that crossing off those todo items will solve every problem and make us happy.

It won’t do any of that. It will make us feel stressed out and miserable.

Savoring every moment of work and celebrating a little when something is finished, that’s an approach resulting in a much higher quality of work and incredibly good feelings. Unlike racing, this is something we can sustain forever, making it a much more productive way of doing work in the end.

Remind yourself of that regularly. This post was my way of doing this.

How to Deal with Sheeple

“Sheeple (a portmanteau of “sheep” and “people”) is a term of disparagement in which people are likened to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. By doing so, they undermine their own individuality and may willingly give up their rights.” – Wikipedia

Sheeple are all around us. Beware, as they will suck out of you every drop of Enthusiasm, if you let them. They will drag you down to their level of miserable life, because they don’t want to feel worse seeing you Succeed.

It works like this. While you search for Solutions they search for reasons not to try and proof that you’ll fail. Like everybody else sheeple too want to validate their beliefs. If they let you try something new you might prove they’re wrong and that’s a feeling to avoid.

Therefore, if you want to acheive anything of importance you have to Shut Your Ears to sheeple, no matter how old and close friends they might be, and do what feels right.