The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold contradictory thoughts in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
There will always be someone better than you because competition and pecking order is part of human nature. With apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, I offer this list of five competing viewpoints for your consideration, keeping in mind that no one can do it alone.
Every problem has multiple solutions. There’s no reason not to use any solution available to solve a problem. And everyone else does it wrong sometimes too.
It takes strength to figure out what everyone is doing wrong, including yourself. And knowing that you are willing to admit your flaws and are determined to get past them is empowering.
Five Contradictory Thoughts on an Art Career.
It’s easy to find yourself with opposing concepts affecting your artist’s life and business, starting with these examples.
#1 – It’s Never Too:
- Late: don’t let anything—including your age or any other prospective setback—cloud your judgment, beginning right now.
- Soon: If you are fortunate enough to glimpse your future and want it, don’t allow anything to stand in your way of getting there – go for it now.
#2 – You’re Not As:
- Good as you think because no matter how special you feel or how much praise you reap, you are not near your potential. Coasting is the best way to get bested and become unintentionally marginalized.
- Bad as you think, so on the days when it feels like you choose the wrong line of work, take a break, go for a walk, drive, hike, or go on a mini vacation—if just in the backyard. Relaxation lowers anxieties that produce cortisol and create negative feelings.
#3 – You Will Find:
- There will always be somebody better than you. People are naturally competitive, so don’t follow others blindly to get ahead. Do what feels right to you as a result. Take what you’ve seen, heard, and read to help you learn. Before selecting the most effective strategy, consider numerous alternatives. It will take some trial and error but don’t get discouraged if your initial path to success doesn’t work as planned.
- You are sometimes surprised at how better you are than some well-known artists. Charm and good fortune benefit some successful artists’ careers as much as talent. So, there will be moments when you reach beyond and produce something truly extraordinary. Learn to take pride in your accomplishments. Discover how to profit from them as well!
#4 – There Will Be:
- Art you are sure will sell well that doesn’t—even though you have a feel for what your collectors want, there will be some pieces you would bet the ranch on that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
- Art you are ambivalent about that draws tremendous interest—Trace Adkins, the country music star, had an emotional tribute to his daughter, You’re Gonna Miss This. He didn’t even put it on an album he made at the time because he thought it was too personal. Instead, it became a huge crossover hit.
#5 – You Will:
- Make money where you didn’t think possible—the internet creates new marketing and distribution opportunities for visual artists to earn income from making art.
- Lose money sticking exclusively to traditional marketing because it’s hard to let go of doing things in comfortable ways. Undoubtedly, circumstances have already changed your conventional marketing strategies. So, while traditional approaches work today, they are certainly not the best basket for all your marketing eggs in the future.
How Do You React When You Find Yourself Pulled in Different Directions?
Such situations are perplexing, so I try not to avoid them. Although you may use a different criterion, if I choose between two equally important tasks, I would typically choose the one I find the most entertaining. Conversely, there are times when I have to remind myself that I’m only human and need to care for my needs since I may become so absorbed in wanting to help others. In challenging situations, the best thing to do is to think clearly, act with integrity, and ask for help.
Tips for Finding Balance in Your Life.
If you struggle with finding a balance between pleasing others and taking care of yourself, you have much company. The balance you need to manage your life, art business, and dreams will come from within you. It won’t come from anyone else. It’s up to you to find balance in your art, life, dreams, and work because it gives you space to focus on the things that matter. Without it, you can get lost in everything around you.
The key here is to keep an open mind. When you are looking at something from a fresh perspective, it becomes easier to find flaws. To change, you must first admit that you are flawed. To become a better person, you must accept that you are not perfect. With such clarity and balance, you can begin to make changes accordingly, and you will find ways to grow and evolve in due time because changes don’t happen overnight.
Miscommunication Is Everywhere and Unpredictable.
Examples of how conflicting concepts are employed in communication are easy to find. But here’s my point: Since it’s difficult for us humans to ever agree with one another totally, practically every contact has some element of contradiction.
Even if we speak the same language, the only way to communicate is by saying something distinct from each other. And if we don’t agree on every detail, we’ll hope to settle on the big picture. You can be genuine, compassionate, and opinionated and still be a terrific communicator because you listen more than you talk.
Contradictions Can Be Healthy.
Contradictions are not a bad thing. Doing so is in line with human nature. Because our brains are often already made up, we sometimes draw contradictory judgments based on data, logic, experience, intuition, and reason. Awareness of our biases and tendencies makes us stronger and better partners, suppliers, merchants, friends, lovers, and family members.
Whether or not we know them, contradictions are a necessary part of cognitive thought. Contradictions are also essential for maintaining equilibrium as one moves through life. The only way to recognize a genuinely smooth passage is to experience how bad the rough ones are. Friction and adversity give us perspective and make us better humans and artists.
If you keep an open mind and are willing to change, contradictions shouldn’t bother you. Instead, they offer chances to discover more about you and others and reveal new ways to leverage the knowledge and connections.
The secret is recognizing and accepting differences and seeing their beauty and potential.