We spend a lot of time on this site talking about all of the things we should be doing in order to build our online reputation as an artist/writer/musician/etc… What happens, however, is that we spend so much of our time running after these goals, that we sometimes forget to take a step back and be thankful for what we have already achieved.
I’m guilty. I’ll admit that sometimes I get so wrapped up with what I’m doing and where I want to go next, that I forget to take the time to enjoy what I’ve already done, and perhaps more importantly, to recognize how many people have helped me along the way. When I actually take the time to look, however, I realize just how much I have to be thankful for. . .
I have been blessed and have received so much help from so many people along the way, that I feel compelled to give something back in whatever small way I can. I am always privileged (and more than a bit surprised) when I have the ability to answer a reader’s question, point them in the right direction, or simply offer them a smile and an encouraging word. I have learned from those far smarter than I that this desire to give back comes from understanding how much we have already received from others.
At times our light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~Albert Schweitzer
Sometimes you have to remember that simply living the life of an artist is a triumph.
This is not just about feeling thankful, however, it’s about finding that deeper sense of happiness and contentment in your life.
In the end it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but it’s gratefulness that makes us happy. Every great spiritual teacher throughout history has told us that it’s gratitude that leads us to contentment, and it’s contentment that leads us to happiness.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
When we feel grateful, it changes our focus from what we don’t yet have, to what we already possess. It’s this subtle shift in our attention that can change our outlook on life and what it means to be a success. Too many of us, however, continue to play this game from the wrong end. We demand our happiness/success first and we assume that eventually this success will lead to contentment down the road.
We also tend to see the idea of gratitude as something that is optional. Like so many of the other things in life that we end up doing assbackward, we spend all of this time and energy chasing after the wrong things and then we are surprised by the results.
Contentment and gratitude are not some kind of new-age code for sitting around on your ass all day feeling good about yourself as an artist. You should always keep striving, keep experimenting, and keep evolving in your work. Just be sure to take a moment to reflect on how how far you’ve already come as an artist and a human being
Writer, teacher, and head custodian of the Skinny Artist community. His book "Getting Creative: Developing Creative Habits that Work" is all about finding the time (and energy) to live a more creative life.