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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.