Season 3 – epiBLOG 24:
Even though we never really think about it in the following terms, one of the most challenging tasks to do as an artist is to figure out what productive activity we can do directly after experiencing a gigantic setback, a failure, or whatever you call defeat, in order for us to move forward.
The producer doesn’t like your script. You received a bad review on your signature dish by a food critic. No one purchased any of your paintings in the art show. You’ve had 47 rejections by publishers about your science fiction book. Every music producer’s whose opinion you care about has turned you down by telling you there is nothing unique about your voice.
Some of us have thicker skin than others, so we can let some of these rejections roll off our backs like water on a duck. Regardless of this, we are all human and some rejections are harder to take over others.
Today’s topic is on what productive options you can choose in following a temporary career defeat as an artist.
PRODUCTIVE OPTION #1:
Read a self-help book – an old favorite, or even a new one that you’ve been excited to read. You may experience anger, frustration, self-doubt, self-pity, or any other negative emotion while reading this book, but there might just be some words of wisdom that you run across that help to shift your mindset from feeling defeated to creating a new possibility for yourself.
PRODUCTIVE OPTION #2:
Pour your feelings into the art and talent that you’ve been given. If you’re a writer, put those feelings into a script, manuscript, or outline for either medium. If you’re a singer/song writer, sing or poetically write about your feelings. If you’re a painter, paint your feelings. If you’re a chef, cook the most delicious meal that you can dream up. In other words, do what brings joy to your heart. Others can “reject” your art for whatever reason, but you don’t have to. You are meant to create, so create your next masterpiece using the feelings that you’re currently experiencing.
PRODUCTIVE OPTION #3:
Meditate/Pray. Not everyone “buys” into this form of shifting negative energy into positive energy, but it works for those who are open to it. I can’t tell you how to meditate, chant, or pray, but it may be just what you need to do in your own special way in order to shift from a defeated mindset to one that can create possibilities for yourself. This is a healthy way to channel your energy so that you won’t dwell in a temporary negative place.
PRODUCTIVE OPTION #4:
If you have a hobby outside of your art, or even one that is indirectly or directly connected to your career as an artist, be a willing participant in that hobby. For me, this would be watching movies. Watching a great film temporarily removes me from my current life situation to another world created within the film. It’s a safe and productive place for me to escape. It keeps me from feeling sorry for myself and it keeps me from being focused on my latest rejection. What is a hobby of yours that allows you to safely and temporarily escape? This might be a great place to go if you’ve recently experienced a rejection, or for the next time you experience a rejection that ends up hurting your heart a little too much. Do whatever healthy activity that you can do to shift your mind.
PRODUCTIVE OPTION #5:
Exercise. If you already work out, then this might be an easier task for you to do than it is for others who don’t. However, exercising doesn’t always mean joining the gym and having big muscles. Sometimes just going for a walk or riding your bike in your neighborhood allows you to clear your mind enough in order to refocus on moving forward.
The point of all five of these options is that you alter your focus from the negative experience that you’ve just had with what you feel is a rejection of you and/or your art. You can then transform your negative energy into healthier energy vibrations or levels that help to move you forward, leaving you with just enough belief in yourself and your abilities.
Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be times when you get a rejection, and you need a moment to sit with the negative feelings in order to process them. Don’t force yourself into some sort of “positive energy” when you’re not ready. Process who you are, what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling the way that you do. You can ask yourself why you were rejected, but unless you specifically get an honest response from the person who rejected you, you’re only guessing and making up stories in your head that may or may not be true.
What I know about those that tend to read this blog is that you’re talented, ambitious, and willing to move forward at all costs. Examine your situation, see what you can do to improve as an artist, process your feelings and know that they matter, whether they are negative or positive. When you are ready to let go of feelings, or anything, that isn’t serving you any longer, than you can move on.
Today’s LESSON is to refocus your mindset after a rejection in order to avoid remaining in a negative mindset that stops you from moving forward.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Create your own productive options to choose from whenever you experience a tough rejection, or apply any of the five options listed above to see which one resonates with you the most and helps to pull you out of your defeated mindset.