I found that as long as I had one goal that I was striving for, a goal that, once completed, I believed would make me happy, I would never achieve greatness.
Greatness is not achieved by working towards one goal and stopping there. It’s about constantly evolving and creating new goals once the first are reached.
A goal is designed to be attainable, but if it’s attainable why stop there?
It is easy to find someone to look up to. In fact it is an all important part of life to find a role model and source of inspiration. In today’s media age, everyday an Instagram photographer, vloging star or fashion celebrity peaks your interest and, whether you are willing to admit it or not, some part of you wishes you had their life, their opportunities or their skills.
When I first decided to dedicate my life to the pursuit of creativity my first thought was to create an Instagram account to showcase my creativity as well as create an outlet for my passion for travel and adventure.
Put simply I wanted to grow to 1000 followers in 6 months.
My naive self thought that as soon as I had a thousand people who appreciated my work and photography, who would help me deny my self doubt, that I would be happily satisfied with my creativity. I would then know that I wasn’t wasting my time and that I would now be successful and creatively fulfilled.
6 weeks later I had the thousand followers I so desperately wanted. But nothing changed. I still felt unhappy with my success, I hadn’t become this overnight sensation I had somehow anticipated and I hadn’t had any tourism boards contact me offering an all expenses paid trip to Cape Town for a week long Instagram takeover. I had absolutely no patience for the hard work and time it would take to build my inevitable fame.
“With the immediate feedback that social media provides, our patience has gone close to zero”
Of course I was entirely foolish to anticipate that success and fame would come in the blink of an eye, but my biggest mistake wasn’t that I thought instant fame would change my life forever but that I convinced my self that 1000 Instagram followers would bring me happiness and contentment in my creativity.
Here’s the thing. The number of fans, followers or clients you have will never change your mental state of unhappiness.
Now I’m not saying its wrong to pursue a following of your work. I’m very proud that there are thousands of people out there who appreciate my work. But creativity is exactly that; creative. It’s not the fame that drives creative person, it’s the love of simply making things.
“True happiness in your work will never come from other people’s praise but from your own satisfaction that you are doing the best work you are capable of.”
My three steps to finding creative happiness
Finding creative freedom is simple, but it's not exactly easy.
Yes, I really mean that. Inspiration is good, but don’t let it overwhelm your own creative freedom and exploration. It’s great fun to explore amazing works of art, creativity and photography but it can easily discourage you from even trying since you are convinced that what you create now will never be as good as the work in front of you.
I have created the work I’ve been happiest with, the work I thought was truely my own, when I have taken a break from other sources of inspiration moulding my creativity.
In almost every piece of design work I undertake there comes a point where I just don’t know what to do next. I can’t see how a particular piece is going to fit or how to take what’s in front of me and turn it into something I’m proud of.
I find that if I just start making something, it all comes together. Stop spending countless hours looking for the right inspiration to continue, just make something and you will be surprised with the results.
I know, you don't want to hear that what you are seeking may take years to achieve. But, simply put, it will. It took me a year of study and two years of on-the-job creativity to start creating work I was truely proud of.
These are the steps I followed, that allowed me to grow in my own signature creativity and make things I am truely happy with.