In this podcast episode I want to explore how attitude influences out creative process. How can we get more control over creating positive work when our moods and attitudes are easily influenced? It is not always easy. Especially for artists. You can listen to the episode below. Plus there is a full transcript if you prefer to read.
Welcome to episode 4 of “An Artist’s Journey”. Today I want to talk a bit about the attitude towards art.
Outside Influences on Our Mood
These days one seems surrounded by a lot of bad news and negative attitudes, especially when you turn on the radio and watch TV. Probably the worst thing to do is to watch any news these days, so I would recommend staying away from that, but is hard to get away from it.
Even talking to people in any social situation, it quite quickly turns to the state of the economy, the recession, politics, who is going to be the next president… Whatever it is, there is always a negative element. It just seems to be like talking about the weather, and it is always going to be raining. I wonder what it is going to take to change attitudes.
Seek Out Positive Influences
I was hearing about this yesterday, then later in the evening I checked my email. I subscribe to a popular blogger by the name of Noah Kagan. In his newsletter, he was giving some advice on growing your business.
I checked it out and read a couple of amazing articles all about growing your business. The point that I got from this was: we are surrounded by negativity all the time and here is this guy, admittedly an internet celebrity and successful business-person, taking time out to give a positive message. It really was a great way to end the day and I picked up lots of tips and advice, which I immediately put into action.
Take Positive Action
There were some great tips about updating my YouTube channel, for instance. I started the next day with something to do, something on my list I could get stuck into and have fun updating my channel. Within minutes, I had some more subscribers. So, thanks Noah for those tips.
Flip the Switch in Your Mind
I think that what it comes down to is how you can flip the switch in your mind and change your own mental channel quite easily. A lot turns on what you expose yourself to. Are you listening to bad news? Do you buy the newspaper every morning and read that first thing?
I cannot see how that is going to put anyone in a positive frame of mind. Even listening to the news on the radio when you are travelling in the car – man, don’t do it! Nothing good can come from doing that. You are not going to miss the news anyway. Any important stuff you are going to find out one way or another, it is impossible to escape this sort of thing completely.
Junk in Junk Out
What goes into your mind ultimately is your own choice. Read some positive messages, something about entrepreneurship, positive stuff that you can do to make a difference in your day.
When you do hear something bad, all you can really control is your response to it. You might have to turn to a positive minded friend and talk about projects, things you can do, exciting things, interesting things. Or you could put on a podcast, read a book, check out a blog from someone who is a mentor – someone you know who is going to be delivering something positive and some action steps you can take, there and then, to change your mindset.
Exercise Helps Your Mood
If none of this possible at the time, maybe you just need to do something physical; get down and do some press-ups or something different to help get your mind onto a different wavelength. Exercise is a great thing, so do of much of that as you can.
Artists Struggle With Mindset
I think as an artist, though, we are in an even more difficult situation. We always have these issues of whether somebody is buying our art, can we pay the expenses for the studio, money is running a little low so you have to think of promotions (at least that is a positive thing).
The worst part is when you are getting rejections or sales have dried up and you think: “Man, there’s not going to be any more sales until the economy comes right, and when is that going to happen?”
What Your Think is What You Get
You know, all of those things are simply in your mind. If you say it and see it in your mind, you are going to see it wherever you look and then you will believe it and you are creating a reality. I know this from personal experience.
When I start talking positively to myself and I tell my wife at breakfast time: “I think this week is going to be great. I feel like I’m going to be selling some paintings this week”, it is almost uncanny, but almost every time, within a day or two, someone is enquiring about buying a painting. It has got to a point where my wife tells me that I have to buy the lotto tickets and tell her that we are going to get the winning ticket. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet:)
Are You Aware of Your Thoughts and Influences?
How do you recognize this in time? That is an important thing – recognizing the words you are using, recognizing your thoughts and then having the presence of mind to say, “Ok, I’ve got to change this channel. I’ve got to flick the switch and get into a positive vibe.”
Being able to recognize this state of mind and taking action, is key. Make it something that is not too difficult, something that you can do straight away; just get up, make yourself a cup of coffee and tell yourself that it is going to be okay and all this will pass.
Follow a Process That Works for You
With art, for instance, I find the best thing is to go into my studio, go to whatever canvas is on the easel (or put something on there) and start some basic painting exercise; big blocks, shapes, large brush, let the movement of the brush suggest things to me. I find that it stimulates some thinking that stimulates a creative process.
Creativity is, by its very nature, positive. It is out calling to make and create something and improve something. Human beings were programmed that way. We have kind of lost our way a little… and sometimes we lose it a lot. We have to tap into that natural creative state.
Take Small Action Steps
Taking little action steps, the smallest thing leads to something else and momentum builds up. Develop the mindset to do something that is going to improve your mind, improve your mood and improve your life. It is all one step-at-a-time, these things lead one thing into another. And if you can help someone else, even better. You can have a positive impact on a friend or family member, even a stranger that to whom you talk.
Avoid the Blame Game
Try not to get drawn into the negative vibe of “let’s blame the economy and the politicians”. Instead, direct the conversation into a positive channel and you may just change somebody else’s life and the trajectory of their day. Anything is possible if you set things in motion.
What Can You Do Right Now?
My thought, going into this weekend, is that while there are tough challenges to face, right now I can do something positive even if it is as simple as painting a little painting to make myself feel happy. That little painting is going to make somebody else feel happy and he or she will pass it on. In that way, I can make a difference.
See what you can do today, or tomorrow, about making a change. If you are feeling de-motivated and it is looking a little bleak on the horizon, remember that those are just thoughts. Every achievement starts with a positive thought and putting that into action – one little step at a time.
Have a great and positive day, with lots of creativity and fun stuff.
We will chat again in the next podcast. If you enjoyed this, please do not forget to “like” and share it. Subscribe for more good things.
Cheers for now.
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Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa