I'll get straight to it. We all are fighting battles no one else seems to understand. It's rare when we get to connect with others that share similar struggles, but it's really just about opening up and being willing to share the "imperfections" of our worlds with each other, that testimony may help uplift others. Here's 5 of the most critical and common life lessons I've discovered along the way.
1 - Patience is NOT idleness.
The most contradictory phrase I’ve ever heard and I hear it quite often, “don’t worry, have patience, your success will come.” That doesn’t mean sit back and expect it to arrive on its own. What it really means is don’t let the frustrations of little failures or mistakes deter you from pursuing what you desire.
2 - Practice makes perfect.
This little mantra can be such an eye opener, it applies just about anything and everything in life. As creative professionals especially in today’s social-repertoire it’s all too common to have endless discussion about the tools of our trade. The latest software or newest innovative instrument or the latest sample pack or sound library matter far less than the fundamentals and exercising your creativity. Those tools apply to the craft, but your unique approach can be defined as the essence of your soul being shared with others, and that… is priceless. Refining your unique skills will take you leagues further than simply acquiring the latest tool in your craft.
3 - Surround yourself with greatness.
There’s so many permutations of this one, but it’s true. World class studios believe in it, otherwise they wouldn’t put so much focus into internships and grooming their potentials for succession of their engineers’ legacies. If you want to learn something, fill your world with it, and you’ll absorb it far faster and with greater depth and understanding than without.
4 - Rinse, Lather, Repeat.
For me, it tends to go in a cycle of these 5 stages and never in the “proper” order:
- “This could be cool”
- “this is tough”
- “This sucks”
- “I Suck”
- “This is cool”
For those that have seasoned themselves in the humility of lamenting over creative projects, submitting to your muse is no easy task. It is so easy to succumb to the perpetual “artist syndrome” – where ones work is never finished. If your work is never “complete” and you are forever unready to relinquish it to the world, you know what I’m talking about.
There is a way out of that mode, though that requires outside validation. Don’t be afraid to share your work with the world, embrace it and let the world help you grow. Don't get caught up in whether or not there should be a "proper order" to doing things, in the end it won't matter how flawed you think your content is, so much as the idea you're trying to get across: the message, is heard and well received.
5 - Success is not a straight line.
Creative professionals struggling to catch a break should really pay attention to this one. As a struggling creative myself I know it all too well. Be prepared to fail, multiple times.
The secret is to take each failure as an opportunity to learn how to succeed. Even those that have obtained major success still run into hardships at every level of business, large, and small. Just remember you are no different from those mega-successful people, and that they too don’t have an “easy” path; that’s just an illusion the information gap creates.
These little lessons can have a huge impact once you figure out how to apply them to your situation. I've noticed these are probably the most common ones we all have to experience at least once to be able to grow. There are so many other life lessons that can transcend a specific passion, interest, or job field. Share your story and any life lessons you may have experienced in the comments below.