You are not what you do.
This is one of the hardest things to accept for people with a creative slant. For some reason, we firmly believe we are the applause from the crowd, the award being won, the painting being sold, the deal going through. And we are elated when these things happen. But of course we then go on to think that we are also the one star review on Amazon, the job at the studio we do not have, the empty book signing, the unreturned phone call or the business that never gets off the ground.
So we get depressed.
But we’re not those things. We are not the things we do.
Do you know what 99% of the world spend’s their time thinking about?
It’s not the prestige of their job because for most people, a job is just a job, it’s a means to an end and who they fundementally are doesn’t depend on it.
Their families are who they are. Their friends are who they are. What they spend nine, ten, eleven hour days putting in a can or serving behind a counter isn’t them, it’s just something they’re doing.
You will go on an emotional roller coaster than will break your neck if you convince yourself that who you are depends on what you’re currently creatively doing.
So let me be clear:
You are not your painting, your poem, your song, your movie, and you are definitely not your instagram account.
The success or failure of your work doesn’t change who you are, even if it does change people’s opinion of who you are (which doesn’t change you either).
You are a creative person who wants to bring beautiful things into the world in whatever way you can and no matter how you do it or who responds to it, you’re still you – and you are remarkable and beautiful and incredible and so far out of the average just for trying.
And that is as true when you begin and it is when you end, regardless of whatever success happens along the way.
Iain S. Thomas
If you’re in Cape Town, I’ll be at The Book Lounge on Wednesday reading and signing books – click here to find out more. You can sign up for regular, often encouraging (I hope) messages from me here, and you can buy my books here.