Are You Happy?
The internet has levelled the playing field. Whatever our interests or whims can be searched and consumed from our own pockets. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by so many interesting avenues and different pursuits you can try all at once. It’s mind-boggling. We have access to all the information we could ever what. If you want to meet new people, improve a skill, start a hobby, learn something new. All can be done quicker than ever before, with more content in those fields than ever before. We take for granted so much that we use and have access to on a daily basis.
It’s important to take a step back, switch off for a moment, and ask ourself if you are doing what makes you happy?
I talk about pursuing your passions a lot on this blog, and as I have reached 50 post, which was 1 a week for the last 50 weeks. That’s a big achievement, but many entrepreneurs and creatives that I know of find it hard to celebrate the small victories. It’s because they see the mistakes, they see the opportunities for improvement. This is what they lived for, for how ever long they took to accomplish it. There is always more to be done when you’re working for yourself, because you’re the one that benefits, not an employer.
You reap the rewards, so you always strive for perfection. But is this human? Nobody is perfect. Are you happy in the act of doing something, or are you happy with the idea of it?
Do you pursue your passion for the hope that it will get a lot of likes on social media or go viral? Or do you pursue it because it makes you happy when you do?
It’s important to celebrate the little victories. Looking forward to a week ahead of working on your passion is what should fuel you. If it doesn’t, then it may not be a passion. Do you come home from your day job, excited to work for the next few hours on it? This is how I felt with writing my series of 50 posts.
Each week I would think of a different struggle that I, or other creatives or friends, had or maybe it was something I heard or read that week that sparked an idea. The start of each week was the most exciting, researching and formulating my thoughts and experiences with the topic, then on Thursday, I would spend the evening writing the topic for Sundays’ post. Not everything you write will make the cut. Saturdays came the artwork for the post, sketching, concepting and then creating it digitally and optimising it for various social media platforms. Followed by Sunday when I would post it at 5pm.
The entire process took up my week, it was concise and I began to get the timing perfectly. This was something I did outside of my day job, this was something I loved to do. Although at times, excruciating, when you find it hard to write about a topic or generate ideas. With public commitment, came my dedication to show up. When you show up, you get work done.
I started writing these posts a year ago, when I realised that I wasn’t happy with my work. When I finished my day job, I would have nothing to fall back on and show people, this is what I do, this is what I specialise in, what I love and I’m known for. I wanted my work to be considered on a professional level, and at the beginning of 2014, I didn’t have that, despite freelancing for friends, family and acquaintances since 2010.
I wanted to learn a new skill, something that would benefit my skills as a designer, something specialised to add to a portfolio. I loved typography and to design badges, particularly vintage-inspired. When searching for related articles I came across some blogs, articles, books and podcasts about entrepreneurship and professionalism. Terms I thought were fluff. But after reading and listening for a month while gathering information about learning a new skill in design and typography, I was hooked.
The topics that these artists, writers and producers discussed, fueled the fire. They were struggles that directly related to my situation. They were solving problems, my personal problems. I could relate directly to what they were saying, and they told me how to solve these problems.
I consumed everything I could on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, professionalism, productivity, creativity, and motivation. I was a self-help addict, and I was happy.
This was the spark that I needed to get my professional affairs in order. It was after months of consuming and preparing my mindset, that I began pursuing design full-time again. The material I was listening to and consuming catapulted my confidence in my work and in my professionalism with my clients. I started taking clients again, outside of my day job. I was doing the 2 things I love the most;
– Designing vintage-inspired logos and badges for clients who respected my work.
– Writing about my own experiences with clients, and techniques for improving productivity and creativity.
Something clicked when I was consuming this type of content. I was around like-minded people who also had these struggles and had a solution for them. They told you practical ways to better your work and yourself. They teach you how to be happy in yourself.
I’m not talking about clichéd advice and motivational posters you see on Facebook. I’m talking about tangible insights in productivity and creativity from like-minded people with the same problems, in places that foster a good relationship with others. All it took was the decision to start. Start today, you won’t regret it tomorrow.
It’s hard when you don’t know what you passion is. Maybe you’re afraid of going in the wrong direction. Don’t be afraid, when you fail, you fail forward, you now know that it’s something you don’t want to pursue. It took me years to find out what I love doing, something I could dedicate time to and watch it grow.
Don’t think that you are stuck with this one thing that you decide to start at, if it’s something that doesn’t make you happy doing, you don’t have to do it. If it’s something that you grow out of, that you now no longer enjoy the act of doing. You can move on, you can evolve to something else, keep the drive, but shift your focus to your new pursuit.
It’s easy to get swept away by all the beautiful artwork and excellently crafted productions in the creative industry. This happens because that person dedicated a lot of time to become great in their field. This will be you, if you focus your time, and dedicate yourself fully to your passion.
You have to understand that no one person is doing everything. Nor can they do everything. If you havent found your passion yet, experiment, try new things, do what you think you may enjoy. If you have just started pursuing a passion, it’s harder to avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’, where you want to continue trying new pursuits because you seen something you really enjoyed online and thought you would enjoy doing that too. Don’t get carried away. The problem with ‘sos’ is that you’re seeing the finished product in its perfect state, without the hard work that has going into it, the backbreaking labour that it took the artist to create the piece.
You’re only in love with the idea of the passion, not the act of doing it. The act may not make you happy, it’s all a facade. Do what you know makes you happy first and foremost.
With our constant exposure to the work through the internet, it’s important to remember to be human too. It’s all too easy to get swept away in the lives of who we are following. We are following them for a reason, they are great at what they do, that’ the reason you know them in the first place. They have made a name for themselves. Everyones’ circumstance in different.
- Are you spending enough time with your partner, spouse, kids, friends?
- Are you experiencing different facets of life, trying new things, activities, foods, cultures, hobbies.
- Are you enjoying the world for what it is, nature, travelling, seeing new places and meeting new people?
Most importantly, are you happy in what you are doing, what you are creative, are you proud of your work. Are you building a legacy, something that someone will remember you for? Are you aiming to become healthier, spending more time to yourself, relaxing, doing what you love?
There is more to life than working. I realised that even more from creating this series of posts. I talk about freelancing and your passion allot as a business. But being around those who foster your happiness and experiencing different outlets in life is the most important.
What’s the most important thing you can do now that will make you happy? Be it a large task or small, Do it even if it involves taking a chance.
The world is defined by those who risk it. Thanks for reading.