Thursday, May 28, 2015

Defining Your Own Success

suc • cess

  • the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
  • the attainment of popularity or profit
  • the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted

Success is such a simple word, yet perhaps more complex beyond the facade. As an artist, no doubt the concept of success is a constant threat to one's creative spirit and at times a mystery, always within reach yet at the same time just beyond one's grasp.  To that end, I've been re-visiting books on my shelf I've already read, yet find myself fanning pages for quick overviews.  This leads me to Tony Luna's book, How to Grow as a Photographer (2006);

Quite simply, Tony presents the three elements of success.....Passion, Plan, Perseverance.  To summarize just one page in his book, let me paraphrase and add my thoughts to his outline.

  • The call to follow your bliss or find your unique talent and embrace its power
  • Not the same as "do your own thing"
  • You play an important role in the continuum of creative people linking the past to the future
"Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate abut something, then you're more willing to take risks."  Yo-Yo Ma

  • Passion alone is  not sustainable; one needs a dose of reality
  • A plan puts one's passion into context, provides direction and defines success
  • The plan identifies the path to "channel your multiple energies instead of imploding from the overwhelming onslaught of ideas you are creating."

  • This may be the most difficult of all three elements of success because it takes resilience and fortitude over and over and over again
  • This is when self-doubt creeps in and grabs a hold leading one into the despair of self-worth.  It takes guts, devotion, and a thick skin to continue after countless rejection letters.
  • Leads to questions like "why isn't anyone investing in my art"?   Or perhaps the overwhelming amount of time spent on the "business" end of your art consumes so much of your time and effort that there seems to be no time left for the art.
  •  When victorious after the storm of rejections, success is even sweeter and further affirmation that you indeed are an artist, a creative spirit with a formidable inner strength.
"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."   Martin Luther King

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