If you’re anything like me, nothing has ever sounded as dull as simply “being normal”. Having a normal job and doing normal things like normal people. It turns you off because, deep down, you know you were made for more than that. You have a purpose, and “normalcy” is your enemy—or is it?
I just want to take a minute to say something that should be pretty obvious, but for some reason isn’t: People are not normal. People are complex, vibrant, mysterious, and deep—sometimes even beyond their own realization. You are one of those people. But unique people like you and I sometimes end up doing “normal things”—and we beat ourselves up for it.
We all have those days, right? The days when we feel anything but creative, and instead end up exhausted, burnt out, and unmotivated. I’ve had quite a few of those days recently, and they’re tough. It’s hard to get past the dead-zone and get to work.
Feeling unmotivated is one of the most frustrating and discouraging things we face as creatives. I mean, we want to do our best work, after all, don’t we? So what’s the problem? What’s causing this void in the creative well?
In today’s world, we’re experts at being offended. When we see something we don’t agree with—big or small, we don’t have a problem letting everybody know, whether via Facebook, Twitter, or word of mouth.
In this age of the internet, being offended over every little thing is easier and more acceptable than ever before. In fact, it seems some people exist on Facebook for the sole purpose of seeking out things to gripe about. And the problem is—most of us never stop to think about what this type of offense is doing to our influence.
Have you ever sat down to create something and found yourself comparing your work to that of others? Maybe they have an incredible eye for photography, or a beautiful way with words that inspires readers like nothing else. Maybe they’re super charismatic. Maybe they have a larger following than you do.
Comparison. We’ve all done it. Some of us fight it every single day. But others don’t fight it at all; instead, they let it swallow them up and kill their creativity. They allow themselves to wither and suffer in a pain of their own making. Comparison destroys art before it is even created.
As hard-working creative people, it’s easy to get caught up in our own minds and our own pursuits; our own lives. We succumb easily to the pressure that tells us to push ourselves to work harder and hustle more, because that’s what it takes to succeed, right?
Sometimes this pressure becomes so much that we actually feel guilty for needing a break. We tell ourselves we’re getting behind if we aren’t constantly working, and we push ourselves almost to the breaking point. And without even realizing it, we push out the people who matter the most.
Words impact us. It’s true. The things people say affect us, whether we show it or not. But what affects us even more are the things we say about ourselves.
Labels mean things. Some we identify with voluntarily, while some are cast on us by other people. Others, we adopt out of hopelessness, discouragement, or desperation. These labels sink deep into our minds and affect how we think, how we act, and what we believe about who we are.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. I’ll often spend more time analyzing my work than I do actually working. (Oh hey, I’m doing it right now with these opening sentences. What a great start.)
If you’re a perfectionist, don’t feel bad. You have great qualities, such as diligence, loyalty, and a desire for excellence. We need people like you and I in this world, but as perfectionists, we’ve got to learn how to manage our gifts, lest they become a hindrance.