Letting Go Of Expectations
Hello and welcome to another drawn out rant by yours truly. In this post I'm going to ramble on about one of the hardest obstacles I tend to face throughout my creative endeavors; expectations.
As any creative person can tell you, fixating on expectations can be a crippling experience. It causes stress, anxiety, self doubt and is ultimately why being an artist can be a very daunting and enduring process. But rather than complain about what makes being creative difficult, I'd rather explain about what makes it so amazing. Harnessing creativity is a very powerful trade and has the ability to conjure up limitless possibilities. For me personally, creating art can be incredibly therapeutic and has the ability to help me cope with and/or express what I'm going through. When I am in the zone, it's just me and my artwork, music helps makes it more immersive as well. Maybe it transports me back to being a kid and having the raw unfiltered ideas pour out on paper. Back when I was care free and didn't care about what people thought of it. Whatever the cause and effect of it is, that seems to be the magic behind being an artist. But what happens when our own creativity (more specifically our expectations) get in the way of this outlet?
I'm all too familiar with how overwhelming this scenario can get. When a flicker of self doubt starts to snowball into insecurity with my artwork. Or when I set abnormally high expectations and become frustrated as soon as things gets difficult. Through trial and error I've found if you're able to tap into a creative headspace where your primary focus is to have fun, the expectations begin to fade. Because when you truly enjoy what you're working on, it's less about the destination and more about the journey. You don't care as much about the end result and if it'll be good enough. You almost don't want to reach the end because it's so much fun to work on. Therein lies the key to a perfect creative environment. And it's interesting to note that when we tap into this mindset, our work can surpass our subdued expectations.
When an artist makes something that they actually like for a change, it's a hell of a moment. A moment when you take a step back and become impressed with your own results. A moment when you've realized you made progress and reached a better quality of work. Seeing as that's a feeling every artist longs for, we suddenly want to recreate that and harness it. The ironic thing is, once we set out to recreate that feeling of accomplishment, that is us setting another expectation. Which is when it switches back to being about the destination and not the journey. At which point the self doubt, stress and pressure all come flooding back. This is a vicious cycle creative people are very familiar with. It can cause an artist to get burnt out, overwhelmed, and in some cases fall out of love with their craft.
One of the main things I learned while building a portfolio from the ground up was learning how to let go of my expectations and just have fun with it. I had to stop stressing out over when or how this project would get finished. I had to stop worrying about whether I would find work afterwards. In fact, I started convincing myself that this wouldn't impress anybody. And if I were to devote countless hours and effort into something that nobody cares about, would I be okay with that? The answer is yes, I would be. Because this project wasn't meant for employers or clients, it was meant for me. Meant to prove to myself that I have the potential to be the artist I have always dreamed of being. Getting people's attention and landing a job I want would just be the icing on the cake.
In conclusion of my soapbox preach fest, the struggle of achieving an end result you seek is very real. So whenever you're feeling burnt out or exhausted from expectations, shift your perspective. Stop dwelling on the deadlines, pressure or stress you or other people are causing. Stop fixating on the end result you're compelled to get to. Just lose yourself in the work and have fun with it. Because that is where I find my progression flourishes. That is when our creativity is reverted back into its simplest form. And in order to really harness improvement in our work, we need to learn how to let go of expectations.
Thanks for stopping by.