If you're like me, you probably complain about the number of hours allocated to one full day. Twenty-four? They may be great for a Keifer Sutherland show but when you have to manage all the professional and personal tasks that come with being a modern and responsible citizen, there's never enough time to do all the crap you have to do.
Surprise! It just got worse.
With low costs of production, massive distribution, and proliferation of devices, those around you can now geek out on the stuff they love. Your friend likes crochet? Lovely. She can follow professional crocheters on Twitter (is that actually a thing?), watch instructional videos on YouTube, sell her stuff on Etsy, and join a private group on Facebook.
Who has time for small-talk when there's a listicle on the "Best Tea Cozies of 2016" to consume? You have a personal crisis? Too bad, so sad. She'll get back to you right after she watches the latest needle unboxing video. She may view it on her phone but devices aren't to blame. Hey, it's not the thing, it's the interesting stuff on the thing. And there's never been more of it.
We're at the point that we're not even trying to earn our family's love or our colleague's respect any more. We just want a little bit of their time and attention.
For that to occur, we need to be creative.
As we explored in our recently published book, Everyone's an Artist (or at least they should be), it's creativity that can get you noticed, get you heard, and give you the edge in everything you do. To do it, just think and act like an artist.
Wake Up Your Inner Artist
Artists can teach you everything you need to know about being creative. Don't worry, don't get your Dockers in a twist. You don't need to actually sculpt or paint or perform an expressive dance. You just have to think like those who do.
Realizing you're an artist is the first step in starting to behave like one.
Deep down, you're already an artist anyhow. Your creative spirit just got sucked out of you over the years. As a kid, you were a creative being who expressed yourself with complete disregard for others opinions. Now you're an adult who requires signature approval before you get tagged in an Instagram pic.
Admittedly, those of us in creative professions didn't help. We repeatedly re-enforced the notion that creativity was the exclusive domain of those who wore black and listened to indie music. Apple may have armed us with great creative tools but they extended the stereotype. Surely, you remember, "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes." It's one of my all-time favourite spots but it's wrong. You don't need to be a freak to be creative. You just need to commit to letting your creative spirit out, mini-van and all.
Realizing you're an artist is the first step in starting to behave like one. Here are some others.
Do it to do it.
Creative ideas aren't usually the problem, it's the motivation to see them through. How many times have you been engaged in conversation and said, "You know what would be fun? If we...". There's a spark in the energy and some giggles of anticipation but before long, you regress back to doing what you've always done. You retreat to the safe, the logical and the traditional even though you get excited about the idea of doing something fun and different in the discussion phase. See it through. Do it. You'll be happier (and more successful) when you do.
Focus on your art.
What always impresses me about successful artists is their focus. I'm sure they procrastinate but the good ones seem to fill their day with the creative task at hand. Painters paint and writers write while the rest of us spend the majority of our time on everything but our art (however we define what that is). Our calendars are filled with meaningless activities that take us further away from what we should be doing. By the time we get around to the important stuff, there's no time left to actually be creative. Prioritize your schedule, become efficient at low-value tasks, eliminate the time-wasters, and focus on your art.
Tame the trolls.
My background is in comedy so I'm well aware that there are people who like nothing better than yelling, "You suck!" from the back of a comedy club. That's what happens when you've made the bold choice to put yourself out there. Artists don't let the critics get in the way and neither should you. Every untraditional choice you make will be accompanied by a critic who disagrees and five more who hop on to the Negative Nancy bandwagon. No bother. They're just jealous that they didn't have the confidence to do it. You did. Be proud of that. Haters gonna hate but true artists keep creating.
Live for your own applause.
Standing before an applauding crowd is a pretty satisfying experience. All the work that goes into an artistic expression is realized when the process comes to an end. The external endorsement is great but there's no better ovation than the one in your own head. Creativity is hard and giving up along the way is a tempting option. Don't. The wonderful feeling of accomplishing something unique -- regardless of external praise -- will be far greater than the complacency of not trying anything at all. There is gold at the end of the creative rainbow but you'll never experience if you quit along the way.
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