What’s the biggest stumbling block every dreamer has? It has nothing to do with skills, money or even will, for the most part – it’s the lack of encouragement from others and not knowing how to handle that. When you create something and give your heart to a project, it can feel like a slap in the face when you realize that no one cares. No one wants to see it, no one wants to hear of it, not after one or two times at least. So how do you stay motivated and keep believing in yourself when you don’t get encouragement from other people?
Even that question is a bit problematic but still very real to many artists, writers, content creators and other creative dreamers out there. What I’ve learned through working on many of my projects is this: you will be very disappointed if you think the only value in what you do, is what everyone else thinks of it. People have opinions that have nothing to do with you and everything to do with their life, their choices, their problems, their day, their MOOD. How can you compete with someone’s mood that keeps changing throughout the day? Pleasing people is tricky business.
It is perfectly fine to want to share what you’ve created but is that the point behind your efforts? So that other people can see it and like it? The reason you’re doing it should be YOU. Your love, your passion, fulfilment, satisfaction, your dreams and goals, your JOY of creation. That way it doesn’t matter if anyone else likes it or not. Do YOU like it?
Your project is valuable and worth doing if it means something to you. Your own vision and perspective are unique and unlike anything there is, so as long as you keep doing things your way, it is significant and should be done and even shared.
Think of your work like abstract art. Some love it and can see deep meanings in it, some can’t really understand it but it still exists and makes the world a richer and more interesting place.
Just a drop in the ocean?
The reality is that trickier than pleasing people can be reaching those people, in a world where there is so much competition, especially when it comes to entertainment and/or social media. One project or idea is a drop in the ocean, and it can get very discouraging very fast when you can’t reach anyone with your content. Did you know that most youtubers are not successful because they become discouraged and stop posting in the first year of starting? Yeah.
Success takes time and effort, even tears especially in those times when no one is watching, or that one person watching gives you a dislike. But there is no shortcut. Working through those times is the only way you’re going to get through those times. It all comes down to how much YOU appreciate what you do. Giving up will lead you nowhere, that is certain. If you keep going, you never know what’s behind the next corner.
What’s your definition of success?
I watched Disney’s series “The imagineers” the other day. It shows how Walt Disney built Disneyland and made his empire bigger. He did what he dreamed of even though nobody believed in him. He reached for what he saw could be, even though no one else saw it and even told him it’s impossible, and we can all see how well that turned out. But what if he didn’t persist in his career? What if he took every negative opinion to heart? There would be no Disney today.
When the world slept on him and his work, he focused on making his animations even better and more determined. Maybe true success isn’t about how popular your work becomes, but how good YOU become at it and the fact that you never give up, even when times are tough. Whenever you feel discouraged, have a look at where you started. How far have you come? How much have you progressed? What can you do better? Is there something you can learn from those who are already where you want to be?
Success can mean inspiring others too. See, creativity is funny like that, it creates creativity. Maybe someone out there sees your project and is moved by it, finds comfort in it or feels inspired to start creating too. But you know, maybe not, and that shouldn’t stand in your way. You and I still keep creating because that makes life more fun right?
I want to share this page from a book Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a fantastic book, the best book I’ve read. I have printed and framed this page because it’s so beautiful to me and important to remember. Elizabeth writes about the struggles of creating and becoming an author:
And holding yourself together is indeed very difficult at times. I know I’m not the greatest writer there is and I don’t even know how many people are interested in what I do. I still keep writing and creating inspiring content because that’s what brings me joy and keeps my thoughts in order and I hope that these give food for thought for even one person. If I manage to inspire someone to take action towards their dreams, that is an accomplishment. While I’m at it, at least I know I’m working towards mine. 💛
How do you encourage yourself to keep going? What do you think success really is? Tell me in the comments! 😊