Being a creative can often subject you to wondering why the fuck you ever decided to commit to what you do. Usually wondering how the shitting hell you are going to pay your rent/mortgage let alone suppress the rumbles coming from your belly.
The industry, much like many others, is awash with the usual suspects. The ones trying to make a quick buck without really putting in any effort. The ones we curse when buying into bullshit "yeah I'm so busy" facades. Not to mention those who only resonate within their own echo chambers and only wish to live in a world made of cotton wool and candy flavoured unicorns.
But you're doing just fine if you always wish to be better. If you spend all your waking hours obsessing over the stuff you've recently sent away to a client. If you lose sleep when frantically looking for a pen (that works) only to scribble down an idea you will no doubt hate in the morning. You're the ones who really make a difference in the world. The ones who speak very rarely but whose words can often be heard for days, weeks and even years after.
I say this like I'm wise beyond my years and have the most affluent business in the land. I'm not and I don't. Im saying it because I'm thankful to those who I have recently met, worked with or merely followed on social media. I'm thankful for all the inspiration you have given me.
We all suffer from the inevitable "crushing lows" during any project. It's just a given. If you don't you are either very lucky or just pushing out next to nothing bullshit. What I've come to realise recently is, it's all about the way you over come it.
If you take a moment, have a brew and really think about what you want to achieve, then you're on to a winner. It's so easy sometimes to be caught up with all the small stuff. The small stuff that seemingly casts the darkest shadows over your initial ideas. It can sometimes take the smallest thing to throw you off course. Be it a tighter deadline, a change in the calendar or even an off the cuff remark. Anything. Fuck all that shit. Enjoy your brew, hell even make another if need be. Just stick to your guns and work with it. Never against it. Be cool. You've got this!
Sticking with your gut is what separates you from the rest. If what you are doing is ruffling a few feathers on the backs of those already doing it... KEEP FUCKING DOING IT! Make them feel the pressure. Change is coming and you're already at the front of the pack screaming and coming for their fucking heads.
People will always offer you their advice. It's up to you with what you do with it. Some may offer it to really help you. To open new doors and watch you succeed. Some may offer it to hinder you. To keep that door shut as to not let you into their rooms. Honesty is key in this world. Hiding behind smoke and mirrors will only get you found out further down the line or see you fall into madness.
The best piece of advice given to me as of late is "cut through the bullshit". This was said to me by Joe Brown of designdough. A simple and effective comment made in passing that has stuck with me ever since.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to show you a different way of doing things. It's easy to feel embarrassed when someone outside of your world has seen something different and potentially better. Your pride may be blocking the next big thing.
I can't think of a single person who has become who they are without being shaped, in someway, by incredible people. The ones who truly make us flourish. Whether it be a knowing look or serving us a big piece of humble pie. These are the folk we should never forget. Without them we wouldn't have what we have today.
If we are narrow minded and self righteous, we will never be able to conquer the wall in front of us... Only bang our heads against it.
The people who really stand out are those who really give a fuck about what they do. The people who would still do it even if you took away all the prestige and success. These are the folk who wear their hearts on their sleeves and recognise that when all the walls are broken down, we are human. We are no different to one another. These are the folk who answer my seemingly dumb emails and calls and allow me to interact with what they do. The ones who haven't forgotten where they started.
When the crushing lows hit, see it as an opportunity to improve what you are doing. If you are pacing your kitchen late at night waiting for the kettle to boil, this may be where the solution comes to you. This is your chance now to strengthen what you set out to achieve. To cut through the bullshit and really fight for what you believe in. Creating something meaningful takes a long fuckin time. It takes a long time because it's natures way of testing you. Testing whether or not you really want what you desire. It's like trying to swim up an already raging river but having melt water from a thawing mountain added to the flow. Yeah it fuckin sucks, but this is what is going to make you stronger. This is what's going to set you apart from all the others.
If you give up you are just going to be flushed down stream and hit every single fucking rock in front of you. This will make you bitter. This will make you add to others bullshit. This will make you close the doors on others through jealousy. Fuck that. That doesn't sound like you does it?
Keep fighting towards your goals. There will be good times and bad times. Just stay focused. Keep looking ahead and you will succeed. If you get dragged bag a few metres, get back to it! No one of any worth is going to judge you for a brief setback. Those on the river banks will taunt and jeer at you. But fuck those guys. They're happy in their own worlds, enjoying boring mediocre bullshit. That's not you. If it was, you'd be next to them instead of trying to do something different.
Cutting through the bullshit will give you clarity. It will help you see that we are all just the same. All fighting to be something more than those hurling abuse on the banks. Some people will be wading with their socks off, but they're too scared to jump in and really face the challenge of what you're doing. Yeah it may seem nice, they've got a beer in their hands and the sun on their backs, but fuck em. You're headed upwards to more beautiful surroundings. A place of calmness away from the raging white waters and noise. A place that you can enjoy the rewards of everything you just survived.
The best thing about it. You'll secretly have enjoyed it all. You'll be back again next year to do the same thing all over again. Because you're a fucking fighter. Chances are you'll have influenced some others to do the same. You'll admit that its hard but the grind pays off.
Before you know it you'll have become just like those who inspired you.
*Note. If you thought of salmon while reading my analogy then please imagine swimming as a human. Salmon die at the end of their journeys.