by Carolyn Edlund
Accomplishing what you want as an artist means you have to embrace the pain of getting there.
Recently I read an amazing blog post by Mark Manson about getting what you want that really reverberated with me, and has been on my mind ever since.
He turned the question “What do you want out of life?” around to ask “What are you willing to struggle for?” This insight has direct application for many of the artists I meet, because I hear so much about their goals and plans and ambitions.
The easy part is the wanting, and creating the vision of what your life will be like when you are living the dream after reaching your goals. The reality is that making it happen involves endless hours performing tasks and taking risks that may not appeal to you.
People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it. ~ Mark Manson
Are you willing to spend the money to get incredible shots of your portfolio, spend the time to write your artist statement, put together a website that presents it all professionally, research and prospect, meet the right people, seek press and publicity, market yourself and your work, negotiate and close sales? Are you willing to put up with all the hassle and the inevitable pain involved in getting what you want, over and over again? And can you embrace that?
There is suffering in the quest to accomplish anything worth having. Suffering is something that artists understand well. You will be rejected. You will miss opportunities, agonize over wrong decisions, and wonder whether you will ever make it. And sometimes, it turns out that maybe you didn’t really want it after all.
You don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not. ~ Mark Manson
Wanting isn’t enough. The attitude you need to succeed is not only determination and relentless commitment, but the willingness to endure a journey that involves inevitable struggle. Manson asks “What is the pain you want to sustain?” because the answer to that is what will change your life. “Our struggles determine our successes,” he says, and that makes a lot of sense to me.
At times I work with new entrepreneurs who are willing to plan, set long and short-term goals, create checklists and work hard to complete them, without wavering. They come back for more, knowing they are on an uphill climb, and see the gain. I know they are serious and that given enough time, they will get traction and move forward. Those small victories add up and give them a chance – a chance – to live the vision they have of their life as an artist.
Would you agree? What is the biggest struggle you face as an artist?