I recently quit a job I hated. I am determined not to let doubt and fear be factors in choosing my future career. I have said that money was not important and that I am willing to have way less comfort if it leads to my personal growth. I can string together a bunch of part-time jobs, but I don’t want to struggle. I want to thrive. What is the secret to how creative people do this? How do people with no degrees become successful?
Let’s ask them. Compile a questionnaire and interview creative people and people who have achieved success without a degree. Or read biographies and magazine articles. You might discover that some people who appear to earn their income from a creative enterprise also rely on an inheritance, a disability or unemployment check, alimony or child support, a partner or spouse, or another similar source of supplemental income. Other people are making minimum payments on their credit cards and sinking deeper into debt to keep their creative lifestyles afloat. And there are plenty of people who live close to the bone but don’t mind, because they are passionate about serving the muse. In many cases, creative people live by a wing and a prayer, because they feel they have no other choice. They are on fire to write, paint, sing, act, launch entrepreneurial businesses or serve a spiritual call. They do battle daily with the internal resistance and external obstacles that attempt to interfere. Distractions include beliefs like: “I want to be famous and rich,” or “If I do this, I will finally have my (parents’, friends’, etc.) love and approval.” Other interlopers are thoughts about putting creative projects off for “someday” when there is more money or support. This is the idea that there is a perfect time, and that’s funny, right? Perfection is, in itself, an irrational concept.
So, if there is no secret, and the way others achieve their lifestyles cannot be applied to your journey, what can you do? Be creative. Surrender to your vocation knowing that your life may have room for little else. Follow your singular vision until you have shared your genius with the world. The world may not celebrate you, but you will have achieved the work you were born to do. And that, of course, is real success.
I recently got out of a five-year relationship that was a cycle of breaking up and getting back together. One day, I said out loud what I wanted in a person, and then, when I had practically given up, I met someone with my criteria. This is the third time this has happened to me. Is it necessary to give up to get what you ask for from God or from the universe?
I could say yes, and I could say no, and both would be true because reality exists in the gray area between those perspectives. In life, it helps to hold black-and-white thinking lightly. There is no rule book, no method to ensure that an expectation, once released, will be answered. But, yes, in general it is useful to not be too attached to whatever our mind insists it needs. So continue to be deeply grateful for the three times your requests were granted. Give up trying to formulate a foolproof process to turn God into a genie responsible for providing what you think you need. After all, what we believe we need is not always what is best for us or our spiritual growth. Living in the present moment is healing. Try that, instead. Doing so allows the clarity needed to avoid unhealthy patterns like breaking up, making up and breaking up again. You deserve better!