Are You Hiding?

Are you hiding or making excuses with your art? Do you have so much on your plate that you can’t finish anything you start?

Chase Jarvis issues a warning in his book, Creative Calling:

“Sometimes, making a lot of different things at once is a way of hiding. If we scatter our energy and never finish anything, we never have to share our creations and risk rejection. Even if we do finish things, having many different projects going at once can be an attempt to lessen the sting of rejection. If you submit ten photos to ten different competitions, any individual rejection won’t hurt as much. I’m all for doing tons of work and getting yourself out there, but don’t let fear turn you into a dilettante. Be willing to zero in on one thing you want to do next. Focus, improve, and take your ego out of it. Stop hiding.”

We hide in so many different ways — usually from rejection. We abandon a project that’s almost finished because it gets rejected by the first person who sees it.

Or…we pursue so many different projects that we can’t really know what we’re hiding from. We “lessen the sting” by taking on too much, that way we have an excuse if any of them fail. And who knows? Another project might not fail. It’s tempting…but it’s better to home in on the few things that you REALLY want to do.

Once you figure out what it is you want to accomplish or the practice you want to establish, set yourself on a path of constant improvement in those few, essential areas.

Something Jarvis expands on in another section of the book is actually the opposite of this advice. Tackling multiple projects to keep you interested in all of the things you’re doing.

I covered this in another video, so why the conflicting advice?

Because it’s a balance, not one or the other. Like any virtue, it’s finding that sweet spot in the middle where you’re focused AND have enough projects to keep a sense of novelty in your life.

The trick I’ve found to work the best is having loosely related projects that feed into each other. When I have a breakthrough on one, it tends to contribute to the other projects, too!

So — while you can take on more than one project, make sure that everything you do feeds into your calling. Your big goal. Keep focused, even as you explore related ideas.

Josh Johnson

I'm a husband and a father to three beautiful kiddos. I'm obsessed with philosophy, creativity, learning, and teaching. I want to make the world a more beautiful place by teaching others to embrace creativity.

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Categorized as Design, Video

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