As artists, we all want our work to matter — for us and for those who enjoy it. But that “want” or desire can be more than it appears at first glance. It can be a false desire that drives us in strange and unprofitable directions, OR it can be a true desire that moves us to a place of commitment. Results come when we are committed, when we are willing to take repeated action consistently for as long as it takes. You manage your mindset and become the person who figures it out. The BONUS is that when you do achieve your desire you will have learned new skill sets and built new habits that enable you to build future success easier, faster, and with greater skill. This episode is about that.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:06] A topic you may not think about often, but can create incredible results
- [0:35] Definitions are always helpful: false and true desires
- [4:49] Filling our art with our true selves (true desire)
- [6:41] Why it’s important to know the difference between true and false desires
- [9:10] How desires relate to commitment
- [19:59] Characteristics of an artist who is committed (“figure it out” is BIG)
False desires are substitutes used to change an emotional state
Sometimes what we truly desire is hidden or masked. I often ask artists what they want from their art or career and they don’t know. I find that what we really want is masked by a “false desire” that we occupy ourselves with. To me, a false desire comes from a place of scarcity or lack. It typically has more to do with changing your emotional state than creating something that is truly meaningful. For example, you may feel nervous about interacting at a social event so you resort to food or alcohol to keep yourself on an even keel. In the art space, it could look like a desire to have a massive social media following to validate that they are doing well. In both situations, the thing desired is a pretty neutral thing (alcohol, food, social media), but the are being used to NOT feel something — insecurity and nervousness in the first situation, low estimation of their value in the second.
True desire comes from a place of expansion and growth
True desire comes from a place of seeing how we can fill our art with our true selves, to be the fullest expression of ourselves that we can possibly be. It’s an ache to explore and discover who you are and what you’re capable of. It’s not trying to prove anything or validate your worth as an artist. And it doesn’t need permission to exist.
This is what most artists really want — to freely create and to freely express themselves through their art. So it’s really important to gain awareness of the difference between a true desire and a false desire. When you can be aware of the difference you can make a decision and commit.
How to discover what you truly want and commit
Your body and your emotions can help you understand if the options before you are what you truly desire or not. And you don’t have to get deep into the nuance of what you’re feeling to take steps in this direction. For example, if the thing you’re wondering about makes you feel open, or light, or energized, it’s probably a true desire. If it makes you feel closed, shut down, or icky. When you tune into your body you might notice physical sensations that go along with the emotional responses. Some people are more tuned into the emotional side, others are more tuned into the physical side.
In the audio, I describe an everyday situation that involves an office, a wrinkled dollar bill, a vending machine, and a bag of chips. I tell the story to help you see that you know what it means to be committed to an outcome, to show you the difference between wanting chips and doing what is needed to actually get them. Commitment is willing to feel any emotion and will continue taking action toward its true desires. That willingness is the currency for getting the things you really want.
So listen to hear the commitment-oriented questions I suggest you learn to ask yourself to make the outcome you want inevitable. Artists at all skill levels will relate to this and I’m confident that when you learn to move from want to commitment, you’ll see amazing changes in your process and your outcomes.
Resources Mentioned on this episode
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