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How Positive Thinking and Massive Action Make Success


Positive thinking without action gets you nowhere!

There is so much written and talked about positive thinking. There must be something to it. I can contribute much of my success to positive thinking… along with taking action.

Positive thinking does you no good if you are not taking action. And, if you are acting on the wrong things even with positive thinking, you’re sunk.

I believe a positive attitude comes out of self-belief and the desire to succeed. Working on plans with realistic outcomes is how you boost your enthusiasm and self-confidence. Having success at what you are doing will help add to your outlook, but you can’t count on attitude alone to be the driving factor in your success. You need solid plans and consistent action on them.

If positive attitude and self-belief are helped along by conceiving achievable, well-made plans, just know your success results from taking massive action on those plans.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

So, how do you get there? Where is the instruction manual?

For many, the first step is learning to identify any actions or thoughts that are holding you back from moving towards success. It’s not enough to know where you want to go if there is head trash holding you back from going there. I’ll come back to that thought.

If you want to be successful and have the career you dream about, you have to learn to make time for doing the right things at the right time. I think the best you can do is to focus on one thing at a time. That is, isolate yourself from distractions that pull your attention away from doing what is important and urgent right now.

The myth of multi-tasking

I don’t believe in multi-tasking. It doesn’t work. I think the notion came from computers that can multi-task. You know, download a video while allowing you to write a blog post. The thing is, your computer is blazing fast. It operates in nanoseconds.

Here’s what you may not know. It is only processing one thing at a time. It just switches back and forth from doing one thing at a time so fast that it seems like things are being done or processed simultaneously. Those bits, bytes, ones, and zeros are flying at close to the speed of light, but only accomplishing one task at a time.

You are not a computer. You cannot multi-task efficiently. You will suffer if you try to do your marketing at the same time you are trying to make art. If you have Facebook, Twitter, your email account and Instagram open at the same time, you are screwed, more precisely, you are doomed. You cannot get near the traction possible if you just focused on doing one thing, the most important thing, at a time.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

You might need to get serious and ask yourself why you allow so many distractions all at once. You might not know any better, or there are bigger underlying reasons.

Multi-tasking can sometimes mask some other more serious issues

But, if you go deeper, there are other reasons you are deceiving yourself with the myth of multi-tasking. You might find it an easy way cover up what is plain old procrastination. If that is the case, then you need to go deeper and learn why you procrastinate. There is a dichotomy. You want success, but you find yourself wasting time on activities that are a low priority while top level things are left hanging.

Are you sabotaging your career, or are you on the wrong career path?

It could be you are sabotaging your career because you are afraid of failure. Or, maybe you are afraid of success. You may suffer from the impostor syndrome. (If you do, you are not alone. It’s a common problem.) Or, maybe you have entirely different underlying reasons why you are not working on what is important.

If something is holding you back, it is time to get in touch with your higher self and learn why. Or, maybe you need to readjust what your true vision of success looks like. You may be aspiring to something that is not your goal, not your path, not your life.

The most important four inches to your success are between your ears

I’m not here to armchair psychoanalyze your motivations or career. I can only say when I encounter an artist who is not meeting her or his potential, I can usually see a pattern of thinking that is causing their problems. In many cases, they are their own worst enemy when it comes to avoiding doing the things necessary to gain the success they want.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

You already know that no one is going to come along and anoint you as the next “It” artist. That’s the getting found myth. It is just as damaging as the starving artist myth. Both operate on the flawed notion that artists should make art for art’s sake. While that sounds good on paper to some, you can’t eat it. And, it’s not going to help you get recognition now or when you’re dead.

Why isn’t the next Van Gogh reading Art Marketing News?

Much as I would like to think the next Van Gogh is reading this newsletter, I know it is not so. If you think that is you–the next Van Gogh–please let me know and tell me why you think it is true. If you can convince me you are right. I will quit doing everything I am doing now and go to work for you full-time on straight commission.

Okay, you’re not Van Gogh. Neither is anyone else. Besides, consider this.

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde

Not being Van Gogh doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable, fruitful, prosperous career. You can make that happen. I believe you need close to equal amounts of artistic talent, positive thinking and taking massive action focused on the right outcome. You put those things together and work distraction free on one thing at a time, and you will succeed. I will go further and say you will create success beyond your imagination.

Success boils down to creativity, productivity, and exposure. It’s all about the math. You want to make an excellent career selling art. To do that you have to know you are making art people want to buy. Hopefully, you are aligned, so the things you like to make are things people like to buy. If not, you have a problem only you can fix.

Taking the right next steps is the crucial evolution of your success

If your art is salable, then the next step is to get it seen by the right people. And, the additional step is to make sure enough of the right people get exposed to your art on a regular basis. It’s like building two pipelines at the same time. The first carries your compelling art output. The second carries your properly selected prospective buyers. If you fill both on an ongoing and improving basis, you cannot fail.

Is this easy to do? No, that is why there are so many artists who are struggling. Not only is it not easy to do, but most also have no idea what to do or when to do it. Moreover, many others know what to do, they just don’t want to do it. Maybe that’s you. If so, the best thing you can do is to have self-realization you are the problem.

Perhaps you can get help to fix why you are the problem. Or, you might just accept that you are more comfortable with the status quo, such as it is, rather than making yourself uncomfortable in a push for bigger, better things.

No one is throwing stones around here. Life’s too short, and most do enough self-damage on their own

Just to be clear, there is no shame in the accepting the status quo. We aren’t all set to drive ourselves to the highest peak. It might be the very best thing you can do is to accept who you are and to be comfortable in your own skin. There is a lot of value, and I think good mental health in having such a realization and being okay with it.

I think people innately know when their drive is beyond what is normal for most. Likewise, I also believe that we are aware when we are okay just being okay and that we don’t have to be the be all to end all. High success has its perks. It also has its drawbacks. There are lots of sacrifices those at the top make that those on the bottom don’t want to make. Family time, personal time are among the things that often go first when someone is driven to succeed at the highest level. And, those are just the start of what goes into high-level achievement.

There are always exceptions, but they are rare, and I think nearly impossible to predict that any one person can achieve balance in their lives when they are given over to driving for success against all odds.

I admit to setting aside and enjoying my couch potato time. Life’s too short not to IMHO!

I’m right in there myself. There is so much more I could do, but I don’t want to do the work. I want to enjoy time to read a book, take a walk or watch HBO or football. That just means I’m not going to work 24/7 just to write another book, create another online training program, or produce a series of webinars.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no slouch. I just know myself and am at peace with the goals I have set and the pace at which I am attacking them. I have some outsized goals I may never hit, but I know there will be many satisfying results even if I don’t.

What makes you happy?

Here’s what works for me when it comes to a career. Working makes me happy. Helping artists succeed also helps to make me happy. Learning about everything I need to know and do to create an online learning experience for artists that will propel their careers to new heights makes me happy.

Seeing artists respond to what I’m doing to help them and getting their unsolicited testimonials about how something I taught them changed their careers… well, that goes beyond making me happy. It is what powers everything else.

Get inside your head. Interesting things are happening in there.

I encourage you to think about what you are doing, why you are doing it and to honestly ask and answer if you are on the path where you want to go. If you’re not, then take the time to retool. If you are, then think about single-tasking on your most important goals and finding ways to get positive reinforcement. Use those things to make plans to take massive action on your goals.

Do those things for yourself and your career. Your results will be nothing short of fantastic.

Carpe Diem!

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  1. I would agree about devoting attention to one task at a time when it’s a matter of making an art piece vs completing a marketing piece. Also about finishing one art project at a time, even if you have more than one sitting undone. Just now I am facing an agreement to move in six months; it means I think finding a small place I can buy rather than rent. My rent has been comfortably low. I cannot afford to stop making art and cards or marketing them while still researching and finding the most suitable property I can buy and maintain.

    1. Thanks for your insights and comments. Best wishes on the decision and purchase should you go that way. Home ownership is great in many ways. In some ways, it’s a drag on your time and expenses that you don’t realize until you are in the situation. Not to discourage you, but just keeping it real.

  2. Wonderful article, Barney. Lots to think about, since I’ve been struggling with how to work my art business and another one. Fortunately, I now see a way to combine them and am in the process of “retooling”. And thank you for pointing out that “we aren’t all set to drive ourselves to the highest peak”, and that it’s okay to think that ” … there’s so much more I could do, but I don’t want to do the work”. I think it’s important to maintain a balanced life. Thank you for your insights!

    1. You’re welcome and thank you for your comments. We don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but our own. When we align ourselves with something that is what we want, it is a freeing thing. If anyone is disappointed in what you or I do, especially if we are being true to enlightened ourselves working on realistic plans, then that is their opinion and their problem to sort out why they feel that way or want to project on you.

  3. Barney,
    What a GREAT post, and a reminder that multi-tasking isn’t always better. As a woman, I take pride that I can generally get ten things done at once, while men in my life have a hard enough time on more than one. But with art marketing, I am finding that it is just not cutting it. I have taken your wonderful course, and bought a few of your great books. Instead of taking one chapter or video at a time and running with it until I have that up and running, I jump around all over the place and don’t get much done Now, I do have a full-time decorative arts business I am running, while babysitting two days a week for my grandchildren, so I don’t have the luxury of sitting in my home studio for any length of time where I can focus and concentrate on moving forward. Everything is done in bits and pieces as life allows. And because everything is so fragmented, it’s hard to even remember where I left off. This makes me realize I need to put some systems in place and stick with it. Maybe Monday evenings do X, Tuesday evenings do Y, etc., etc. At least it will be a system. And I can’t figure out if I should market locally or online first, so i try to do both, and wind up getting nothing accomplished. I have such big aspirations and do believe it’s possible, but it is certainly happening at a snail’s pace. I try to psychoanalyze myself and wonder if I am somehow sabotaging myself, but then I give myself a break and realize that there are only so many hours in a day to try to do/have it all. Thank you for being SUCH an advocate for us artists. You always continue to inspire me and make me push myself forward. I can’t wait to report back when I achieve some of my goals.

    Debbie Viola

    1. Debbie, you accomplish more in the time you have than most, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Do remember you are not in a race. It’s okay not get everything done at once, or even soon. Some stuff can wait. You have the basis of a plan outlined here. Try following it for a few weeks. I bet you will amaze yourself. First, that a lot of things you thought mattered really don’t, and second, you are happily surprised to see so much getting done on what’s important. I started using unroll.me a few weeks ago. It allows you to unsubscribe or roll up your unimportant emails into one daily delivery. My Inbox felt lonely at first because I either unsubscribed or rolled up nearly 300 emails. I don’t miss them and don’t even look at the roll up digest every day. What I do have is more time with fewer distractions. Thanks for your kind words.

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