We humans are creatures of habit.
From the time we wake up until we go to sleep (and even sleep!), the majority of our behavior has been created from repeating a pattern so many times it becomes habitual.
The good news is this saves us a lot of time. We don’t have to reinvent how to brush our teeth or tie our shoes (do shoes even have laces anymore??).
You might say it’s the brain’s equivalent to how our hearts beat, our lungs breath, and our teeth chew. A part of us is on autopilot, and thank goodness because this gives us the freedom to pay attention to other things that require ongoing, conscious intention, like making great art.
Happy, enlightened habits reinforce behavior for what serves us well as artists. Cranky, disgruntled habits reinforce behavior for what does not serve us well as artists.
The question always is: how do we turn our cranky, disgruntled habits into happy, enlightened habits? And why should we bother?
Switching Out Dead Light Bulbs For Bright, Shiny New Ones
I’ve been interviewing a group of artists who self-identify as successful and one characteristic seems especially persistent: persistence.
In fact, these artists, in my new e-book series, 10 Zen Habits of Successful Artists, simply don’t know the meaning of “give up.” They have elevated persistence to the level of habit.
Anything that gets thrown at them becomes compost for the next planting. They don’t speak about “habits,” but it’s pretty clear there are things they do over and over until they get the results they want.
Of course, they tweak as they go, switching out dead light bulbs for bright, shiny new ones. If that bulb goes dead too, well, they just go get another one. Or take the lamp apart to see what else might need attention. Or go find another lamp. Or ditch the lamp altogether.
What they do not do is give up. They don’t let excuses around time, or money, or love claim their creative spirit. They have no excuses.
What’s cool about a habit is when we practice it enough it no longer feels arduous or demanding or time consuming. It becomes part of our daily life.
So, tell me, what habits have you intentionally made a part of your life as an artist?
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Then stay tuned, because next week I’m taking habits on a whole new journey.