I get into this topic knowing full well that my title may be a little contentious. Who am I to presume that there is a single key to, or even a single definition of, success that will work for us all? However, I have been thinking deeply recently about the things that I have done well at, and the things that I haven’t. There is one theme that seems to run through them all, and it keeps cropping up with everyone I speak with and a great many voices seem to echo similar thoughts. So, stay with me.
What is Success?
First of all, let’s define success for our purposes. Here I will define success as reaching the desired outcome from your endeavors. Doing what you want to do in a way that turns out well. This could be in the purely capitalist sense of obtaining wealth or attaining status, or it could be the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from completing a task that means a great deal to you. Whether it is reaching your economic goals for the year, or finally making the cup of coffee that your spouse likes just the way they like it, that is irrelevant here. What matters is that you have a goal you want to reach in the desired fashion.
What Goes Into Success?
Now that we have success defined, let’s look at what it takes to succeed. A great many things go into success in anything that we do. Everything from timing to talent to socioeconomic status. Even a simple task like making that perfect cup of coffee for a loved one assumes a lot. It assumes we have the financial ability to purchase the required tools and ingredients, then it assumes we have the knowledge of how to utilize these things, and the intuition to know when the recipient would like to receive that coffee. When we get into creative endeavors, this becomes an even more complicated process. However, I would argue that there is one thing that is common to all successes, one thing that cannot be taken out if you hope for a favorable outcome. That is tenacity.
Yep, that’s right. I’m saying that without sticking to something, you cannot possibly hope to succeed. Tenacity is what will make you stubborn enough to keep working. It is the one trait that will keep you fixated on your goals and have you stop at nothing to get them. It will get you up at 4AM to double check your gear before that important shoot and call back that gallery that turned down your work a few years ago. It is the fight in you that backs up your desire to do the things you want to.
For all of us who have the ability to live a life in the creative arts, there is enough freedom for us to make choices. Making these choices and sticking to them is what will get us where we want to go. The choice to quit your day job and make a go of the thing you love doing when it comes down to it is just that. It’s a choice. If you have the fight to back up that choice, you will make it to where you want to be.
There are many things that will get in the way of our creative life, but how we deal with them will be determined by the strength of our resolve to reach our desired goals. Tenacity is what it takes to get where you want to go. If you really believe in something, finding that drive to not let go should be easy enough. If you cannot find that drive, perhaps you’re aiming in the wrong direction.
"It’s a choice. If you have the fight to back up that choice, you will make it to where you want to be."
These words will always ring true. Thank You.