Is there a general path to success when it comes to our art? I’ve come to embrace that success is determined by how we grow and evolve as artists. On this episode, I’ll dive into what that looks like, the role each side of our brain plays in the process, and how to overcome the need for linear success.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:15] Why we think we need linear success
- [3:29] Bringing the right side of your brain into your art practice
- [8:28] The evolution of our art through trust
- [21:54] Cultivating curiosity, exploration, and wonder
Making sense of success
We all want to believe that there is a straight path to success in our art practice. From what I’ve observed, that’s never true. We can always see a linear order from the mountaintop, but that’s only because we can look down and see how we got to where we are. Hindsight is always 20/20! We tend to dismiss what didn’t work and only focus on what did. We also make it mean that the path we took was the “right” path or the “only” path that could work. Yet in the moment, we don’t get that clarity. When we’re in the trenches, it’s never a straight line. It zigs and it zags. It goes forward and backward, and sideways, and all over the place! What’s interesting is that we intellectually know this. There’s no paved road, but we still have this expectation that things should go in a straight line. Why do we crave a linear progression that allows us to check these imaginary boxes in our heads?
Right versus left
The answer is the left side of our brain. That side is widely thought to power our logical thought processes. It seeks to order, compartmentalize, and categorize any information that it’s presented. So of course, if we’re only engaging that part of our brain when thinking about success, we can’t help but view it linearly. We end up boxing ourselves into either/or thinking. The right side of our brain doesn’t view things in black and white, it sees the whole scale, with all shades of gray, and each step along the scale as something unique and beautiful. However, solely relying on our right brain is another pitfall on the “path to success”. We need the left side to make a decision about our art and commit to what goes on the canvas out of the infinite possibilities.
Balance your brain
We need to stop thinking about our art practice as “right brain versus left brain” and start figuring out how to incorporate both. Our creative process is found in the dialog between the two sides. It’s not one side or the other…it’s in between the two sides! My intuition is telling me that growth is found in that balance. Growth is when we expand our access beyond how we typically use our right brain in the creative process to, consciously and on purpose, bring that awareness and abstract thinking into more areas of life. Growth is finding new ways of doing that intentionally and continuing to expand our thought processes. This is how we evolve our art, by evolving our thinking. And in that evolution of thought, we find and develop our voice as artists.