How to "Make It" as an Artist
I love old-timey technology so much. And today? Well, we're discussing space suit prototypes, of course.
Imagine what it was like to make a space suit before anyone had ever been out into space. All they could do is create, tweak, course correct, restart, and keep pushing forward until they finally found something that worked. And as artists, we often wonder if we can figure this whole "creative" thing out and make it as well. We wonder if we can make a great living, bring in clients, perform, write, etc. for the rest of our days without needing to take on 100 extra side jobs to sustain ourselves. Well, I'm here to tell you that, yes, you can indeed "make it", so long as you focus on a major skill: the ability to course correct. What does it mean to course correct? Considering we're all humans, it's impossible to be 100% on-target all the time. We're not always going to be practicing as much as we should, creating as much as we ought to be, or networking 24/7. Though it seems counter-intuitive, meandering off the path, making mistakes, and letting habits slide isn't too big of a problem… so long as we focus on correcting ourselves and getting back to our life's work ASAP. When we realize that we're practically guaranteed to be off-path Things get a lot easier, especially when it comes to the voices in our heads that are constantly telling us that we're not good enough. Our goal is never to be perfect, but to just nudge ourselves back in the right direction over and over again. How do we course correct, then? Well, we want to be like an airplane, of course. Even though most any flight we take is managed heavily by the autopilot, the plane is technically off course 99% of the time throughout its trip. For the majority of a flight, the autopilot gently nudges the plane back into the proper direction hundreds of times a minute. The plane is basically never perfectly angled, but so long as it keeps getting those nudges, it'll get to where it's going without any issue. That's exactly how we want to be thinking about our work, our life… everything. Most every single one of us knows what we need to do to get back on track. Instead of thinking ourselves worthless for not practicing 8 hours a day, we simply nudge ourselves back to practicing 10 minutes a day, and grow from there. And when we slip again later on down the line? Well, we just nudge ourselves gently back on course. Repeat this process forever. And we want to be doing this as soon as we notice we're off course And that noticing may happen instantly, or it may take years, or even decades. The time frame doesn't really matter, so long as we catch ourselves eventually. The second we notice, we make a plan, and get back to what matters. "But Akash, you jelly-filled puffed marshmallow cookie," you ask "can things really be that simple?"
It really is that simple, yes. Out of the many ludicrously successful creative people I've met in my life, not one has a perfect work ethic. But the ones who are constantly crushing it are the ones that bring themselves back to center as soon as possible. It may be simple, but it certainly isn't easy. So, what did we learn today?
We're going to be off course in our lives and careers 99% of the time. That's to be expected and is no problem in and of itself
The goal isn't to be perfect in every way, but to correct ourselves when we fall off course
We just want to nudge ourselves gently to get back to things, not beat ourselves up
My birthday isn't until May, so you have plenty of time to find an authentic, functional space suit prototype to give me
So while we may not be building space suit prototypes We're still going to run into a lot of trial and error and course correction. We're going to be "off" 99% of the time. The goal isn't to make it so we become perfect paragons of productivity, but to simply allow ourselves to get back on course with gentle nudges as soon as we notice that we're off. That's the master skill.
And if you need support to keep putting you back on the path
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