I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t have dreams and goals outside of my current situation. Whether it was dreams of being a cowboy or Indian on the open range as a child, being a rockstar as a young man or being a successful artist/ entrepreneur as an adult. However, the means to accomplish our goals- especially as an artist- can be a bit challenging. We often have to look a little deeper for guidance and support on our path to success than those that take more traditional and predictable paths in life. Finding work as an artist or opportunity as an entrepreneur is not as simple as skimming the classified ads. We not only need to create art, products, businesses and so forth but we need to create opportunities.
For the last few years I have been doing a lot of thinking, studying and analyzing of my efforts with the intention being more successful as an artist and a business person. There are many motivational books, products, seminars, workshops and so forth available these days- many of which can offer some excellent guidance as to how to be successful- but I often wonder what factors are at the core of being successful so that I can better establish my foundation for making progress.
A successful business owner friend of mine recently brought up the issue of being willing to take risks as a factor that separates the average life from the extraordinary life. It dawned on me that before one takes material risks one must be willing to take emotional risks. Taking actions outside of our daily regimen can often seem scary or uncomfortable even in light of existing in an uncomfortable situation. We can get stuck in the comfort of the discomfort that we are familiar with so to speak. In our efforts to progress we most often need to climb stairs as opposed to waiting for an elevator.
Emotional risks are those little steps. The daily steps. We need to have the courage to overcome our fears and doubts and the critical voices of friends, family and keeps pushing on despite internal and external pressures to quit. If we allow doubt, fear and obstacles to make us quit then we are also accepting what life gives us as opposed to what we can get out of life. Being unwilling to take the emotional risks can often put us in a state of complacency that prevents us from taking even simple actions that could make our lives happier, easier and healthier.
Part of learning to take risks is learning to trust ourselves. There is a world of opportunities out there. So many that one person could never take advantage of them all. However, doubt can often shut down our thinking process and halt our best-intentioned actions. Doubt can make our world seem smaller, our opportunities fewer, our capacity lesser. If we live our lives believing that we have the capacity to do many things it makes us more open to insight and opportunity and helps us to maintain our motivation even in light of obstacles. As they say “When the going gets tough the tough get going”. Sometimes being “tough” is just believing that we have the capacity to achieve our goals. We have to be willing to expend whatever effort is necessary and endure whatever pain or discomfort that we may encounter to be successful.
Successful people are often not the most talented, wealthy, educated or lucky people but are instead the people who were willing to risk internal and external pain, discomfort and/or failure in order to achieve a goal greater than themselves. One has to be willing to see one’s self as being capable of being more than they are today, worthy of success and deserving of the rewards earned from hard, smart work and dedication. They are willing to endure today’s struggles to achieve tomorrow’s successes.
If you would like to achieve great things, see wonderful places, meet amazing people and experience all that life has to offer take a chance on yourself. Or I suppose you can just take a seat.