Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Self-Image - Remove the Negative, Add the Positive

If you remember the last time we met, we talked about success. We determined that YOU have to decide what success means to you. No one else can decide that for you. You must also never let your quest for success as an artist impact any other area of your life negatively, because you are never truly successful if you have to sacrifice another part of your life in order to attain success.

Today, I would like to talk to you about having a healthy self-image and how important that is to being a successful artist.

What I mean by having a healthy self-image is that you truly believe in your ability to become successful. It’s not arrogance that causes this belief in yourself. It is a dogged determination that you will work hard enough to achieve your dreams that causes this belief. Believing in yourself is quite possibly the most important step in becoming successful. Let me repeat that again, and pause a moment to let it sink in.

Believing in yourself is quite possibly the most important step in becoming successful.

You might be thinking to yourself right now that artists aren’t really suppossed to be materially successful. Artists have to always struggle to make ends meet. Art after all is just a hobby, right?

Your friends, family and even other artists will often tell you that as an artist you just have to accept the fact that you will never make any money. You will just be dirt poor, and you will always be fighting for your next meal. They are the friends and artists that feed the myth of the so-called “starving artist.”

Well, if you begin to buy in to that nonsense; if you begin to listen to the naysayers; and if you start believing what they are saying as being truth then chances are that you will begin to live out that “truth” in your own life. You will find that you never seem to make any money with your art. You simply find that success as an artist is always just out of reach.

On the flip side, if you block out the nonsense; if you begin to stop listening to the naysayers; and if you reject the myth of the “starving artist” and believe that success is attainable then you will begin to find that doors start opening up for you. Good things start happening, and you find yourself starting to become successful as an artist. You will begin to see that success as an artist is well within your reach.

Henry Ford is famously remembered for saying “whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

That is SO true. Belief in yourself is key.

Let’s not get all starry-eyed into thinking that it is easy to believe your way into success, because it’s not.

It is hard work.

It will be opposed.

Remember when I referenced “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield a couple of weeks ago? He talks at length about “resistance” being the very thing that stands between the life you currently live & the life you wish to live. You will find that it is no different with believing in your self. You will find that things will conspire against you in such a way to try to break your spirit; to try and make you doubt that success is attainable. You must resist the temptation to buy into those things that stand in your way of greatness.

A word of warning, if being an artist is truly your calling (and I have a feeling that most of you listening already feel that you are called to be an artist. It is, in fact, written deeply in your heart) then expect to be heavily assaulted in this area. You will need to guard yourself at all times against negativity.

So, how do you guard against negativity? How do you nurture a healthy self-image? How do you maintain belief in your ability to succeed as an artist? What if you don’t believe that you can succeed as an artist? What if you have already bought into the lies & myths surrounding the very idea of being a successful artist?

To be sure, there is a lot to unpack here. There is a depth to learning how to develop a healthy self-image and how to develop a belief in yourself that I believe will take more than one blog/podcast to fully explore. With that in mind, it is my hope that this particular blog/podcast will serve as a brief introduction of things to come.

One of the first things you can do to nurture a healthy self-image & guard against negativity is to tune out all negative thoughts & stop letting negative information gain access to your mind.

It could be as simple as turning off the television. It could be as drastic as changing the friends with whom you associate.

I know for me, I had to stop listening to talk radio in the mornings on the way to work. I also had to stop watching the news on television. Although both provided a great deal of useful information, they are both very negatively slanted.

Once I stopped listening to the negative, I laid the foundation for something better to take its place. The same will be true for you.

The next thing you can do to nurture a healthy self-image & guard against negativity is to tune in to positive thoughts & start letting positive information gain access to your mind.

This can be done in a variety of ways. You can read positive and uplifting books, and you can listen to positive and uplifting podcasts on your iPod.

For instance, reading authors such as Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Dan Miller, John Eldredge and John Maxwell will help put positive thoughts into your mind.

I have found that reading those particular authors along with others, and listening to podcasts such as the Daily Audio Bible keep my mind filled with positive energy.

As Zig Ziglar states, “Your input determines your output.”

By feeding your mind positive information, you will in turn produce positive output in your own life.

Once you begin having positive thoughts of your own and you start seeing yourself positively, it becomes much easier to envision yourself as being a successful artist.

And envision you must.

If you cannot envision yourself being successful as an artist, then you will not be successful.

So, which will it be for you?

Will you continue to let you mind be filled with negative thoughts, or will you turn the tables and start putting positive information into your mind?

It’s your choice & I know that you will want to start feeding upon the positive & rejecting the negative.

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