Following this topic of the Artist’s Dilemma from part 1 – in talking about beliefs that are limiting: another culture-born belief that seems to run rampant among creatives is the idea that we must try to obtain as much information as possible and then rationally figure out how to traverse our mountain of creative obstacles – which usually appear to come from a lack of support from the culture, especially in the form of financial support. So the artist is forced to try to reckon with the contradiction of having been given a life purpose of creativity, to play out in an environment that for the most part doesn’t appear to genuinely value that purpose.
The Crappy Hand We’ve been Dealt
The Artist’s Dilemma is a bit like trying to grow a vegetable garden in the desert. You end up either spending all your time and money trying to keep it going, using up all your sources of water and buying a bunch of plastic to cover it from the 100 degree sun – or you just say screw it and throw your tools back in the shed and drive to the grocery store to buy your vegetables.
So this crappy hand the typical artist has been dealt eventually grows into an existential dilemma that the artist is forced to try to solve with her rational mind. But the rational mind cannot figure it out. Why? Because behind the rational mind is a core belief that there is a problem that needs to be solved, an obstacle to overcome. This deep belief, that “I can never be successful,” or “success may only come if I get really lucky,” is always there lurking beneath the surface, coloring our point of view of the world. And the rational mind is always working from this basis of perpetual failure.
Always One Step Behind
So no matter what, the artist is always one step behind success, because when one problem is solved, another one invariably pops up to take its place in the belief system that supports the notion that “I am always lacking something, I can never get ahead.”
The Artist’s Dilemma and Cultural Conditioning
This idea may sound trite, but I’ve found it to be true – so many of us have unconsciously agreed to keep our dreams of creativity dormant, locked away behind the bars of lack beliefs we’ve been conditioned with by our culture. Once we have a visceral understanding that this is indeed the case – when we see that our obstacles are mere thoughts that come from our conditioning, then they tend to lose their power over us. With this understanding we are prepared to face the so-called obstacles of the creative life in a healthier, more productive way. We can see them as opportunities, or as points of interest along the road of creative exploration and self-discovery.
— If you’re looking for instructions on how to gain this kind of visceral understanding, and you are serious about changing the way you think and work as an artist, feel free to fill out the Creativity Coaching Application.