This is the first in a series of posts I'll be sharing on here about living a more productive and profitable creative life.
1) If it's about money, it's not about you.
This is a hard concept for artistic types to grasp, but business people have been down with it for centuries. That's why they all look the same.
To people outside that world (and some inside it) it might look like they're willfully disappearing their identity into something.
But here's another way of looking at it. What if instead of losing something, they're giving it. What if they're actually donating part their identity to something. What if there are people who feel like they have such abundance of self, such an overflow of character, and such a steadfast immovable core, that it's really not much of a sacrifice to let some of that spill over and for someone else to fill their cup with it.
Forget 'society' for a moment, and think about each business person as an individual, someone who has made a choice every day to give a part of themselves - their energy and time - to a cause or customer of some sort. Of course not everybody is a saint and not everybody feels full to the brim!
But imagine, for the purposes of this, that it's possible to have so much of yourself you can throw some of it away. If it's possible for someone, surely it's possible for you.
2) See heroes everywhere, every day
The more we decide who we are, the more we decide who we are NOT. I believe this is one of the most significant obstacles to financial success. When we decide who we most definitely are not, we detach ourselves from every association with those people. We can't admire them or appreciate any part of them that might be inspiring to us. But here's something cool I've noticed:
Inspiring people get inspiration from everywhere.
It's like diversifying your investments - a financial principle that works pretty well for creativity, too. If you get all your inspiration from a couple of places or people, you'll become dependent on them, which makes you both vulnerable and a dependent! Which adult in their right mind wants to be a dependent? But that's what we make ourselves into, every time we decide to close doors, and hitch our waggon to a limited range of things.
Look for greatness in everyone. And greatness is kind of subjective. A quality or action that is great to you right now might not be great to someone else, or even to you next year. So you need to seize them where you find them, because...
3) Pursue qualities, not success
Success is just the stuff that follows in the wake of personal attributes. Personal attributes come from habits and attitudes. More on all this stuff in future posts, but for now: look for qualities, attributes and habits that appeal to you, in the people you meet this week. Some motivational writers say "success always leaves clues". I'd go even further: the conventional symbols of success (gold Bentleys, etc) isn't worth looking at, at all. It'll just dazzle and confuse you and the purpose of it is to maintain a state of 'us and them', a (deceptive) gulf of unattainability. It's worth bearing in mind that these symbols indicate anything but achievement - Lottery winners, heirs to empires, etc. Anyone can buy stuff.
Look instead at the things that are real, that people around you have right now. This takes some conscious effort. It's easy and natural to dismiss people different to us, make up our minds about them negatively and unchangeably, and explain away their good qualities.
Looking for great qualities, even in people you don't like or relate to, is an effort and a commitment, but (if it helps) think of the advantage it will give you, immediately, over your competitors. When your 'portfolio' of inspiration is as diverse as it gets, you're hugely increasing your chances of growing, and of hitting on some real dynamite ideas. You'll also be far more knowledgeable, sensitive and unique, the wider the variety of people you open yourself up to.
This post also appears on my blog about living creatively: leilajohnston.com/blog