“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step?” Leo Tzu
I have written a lot lately about knowing what it is you want to say in your art. Well this week I am turning the table and asking: What is it that you want to get out of the process of being creative and art making?
Is your art life an exciting journey or do you have a destination? We all enter the creative process with an idea of what we want to do or where we want to go with it. Some artists create because that is who they are; and they are on this creative journey for the joy it gives them. The journey itself gives meaning to life. Other artists are more goal orient and have set up bench marks that they want to reach by a certain point or have a specific destination in mind.
So, what is more important the journey or having a destination? Some people argue the point that if you do not have a goal in your pursuits you will never get anywhere, after all goal setting is a term burned into the human psyche from an early age. Others argue that it is the journey that counts. That the act of creating is fulfilling enough and that a destination is not important.
Knowing why we start our creative journey will affect how we approach our art. That’s not to say that we can’t change our mind at any time. Nothing in this life is so fixed we can’t re-evaluate what we want out of something we do.
But I wonder sometimes if the goals we set for ourselves keep us from enjoying the journey? One aspect of any journey is taking risks, another is accepting the stumbling blocks. Knowing what we want to achieve and being prepared for the stumbling blocks, if we don’t reach each bench mark as we have planned is important. We must be mindful that it is through our failures that we learn. So many artists become discouraged when they don’t make it into a specific show or win an award. They allow these set backs to take the joy out of the journey.
I personally think the key to obtaining real joy in our creative lives is to focus on enjoying the journey, taking the time to enjoy the process and not worry about the outcome in each project we tackle. This doesn’t mean that we have to give up on our dreams and our goals. It’s admirable to be ambitious; it’s great to want to accomplish enormous things in our life. The key, however, is to simply find the right balance. Discover a mindset that allows us to pursue big things without sacrificing the joy in creating.
Michael Neil in his book Supercoach said, “Obsessing about goals is like playing a game of fetch with yourself, using your happiness and self-worth as the bone.”
Trust yourself more and don’t be dependent of validation from outside sources. “All sorrows, all bitterness, all sadnesses, I forget them and ignore them in the joy of working.” Camille Pissarro
I know, I am enjoying my journey. I hope that you are enjoying yours also.