Do you ever catch yourself comparing the work of your peers and those you aspire to be with your own? Whatever craft it may be, the reality is social media, a competitive inner nature, and the strive to be better creates a false insecurity and pressure around ourselves. The result is a constant feeling of always wanting to be productive, always wanting more, and sometimes even feeling down.
Over the past year, I have found myself coming into the same conversations over and over again. How can I be more productive? Should I take more time away from being with my family and friends to focus on myself? How can I achieve what I want and what sacrifices do I need to make? I've had this conversation not just with other people, but most often with myself. As I look at the work of my peers, the work of creatives across the world who inspire me, and everyone in between, I find my own personal motivation to be very inconsistent.
While I very much enjoy what I do on a daily basis currently, and am motivated both internally and by the outside world, I find it hard to show up sometimes. What I mean in a physical sense, is I sometimes struggle to be at class when I should be, be at my desktop looking to brainstorm my next idea, and will even go several days or weeks without any real progress. In another sense, mentally being there can be just as hard. Maybe I don't want to design today, or I don't want to practice today, or I don't feel like doing anything else but relaxing with my friends. It took a long time for me to figure out that just because I wasn't there mentally or physically, doesn't mean that I am not committed, it just means that for one reason or another,
I just don't feel like it.
Now, to commit to any long term process or goal, it certainly requires commitment and focus. I'm not trying to say your mentality should be to show up whenever you want, and give your worst effort on a whim. What I am saying, is that it is okay to show up somedays and recognize that your mind isn't completely there. Sometimes 50% is all you can give. While you may not always be at your best effort, or in your best mood, recognizing what you can give is important. Maybe you realize that you need to take a break and relax, and postpone your work for another day.
For so long, I've thought that the only way I can get to where I want is by working hard everyday, giving 100% effort, and showing up ready to get after it. While this is certainly a good mentality to have, I found it hard to tell myself that it was okay to go through the motions. In a time where the world is full of depression, death, hardship, and everything else that goes along, it is very reasonable that on any given day, you may not have the physical or mental capacity to accomplish what you want.
What I have found to be important is showing up, even when you don't feel like it. By showing up, you are staying committed to your process. Giving a tired effort is better than no effort at all, so why not at least give what you can? Whether that is our 60% best effort on the day, or we're able to give a full 100%, we are able to get closer to our end goal. When you're not in your zone or currently active with your craft, there is nothing wrong with slowing down and taking proper care of yourself. Whether that be more sleep, more time spent with friends, or more time spent doing other things you love, doing more work doesn't always mean you're being the most productive with your time.
So how do you balance this? This is something I'm still struggling with myself, but am getting better at being okay with going through the motions at times, and taking small hiatus' to regroup and work on some self care. How do you deal with this, or are you always on the move working? Please let me know if anything resonated with you, and anything else you have to say below.