As I write this, I’m 36 years old.
I’ve done a lot with my career, and yet I feel like I haven’t scratched the surface of my potential. I struggle to balance the demands of the real world (paying bills and feeding the family) with the demands of my creative spirit (making cool shit).
I’ve talked to a lot of you about this. Some over email, some over beer. I’ve learned that many of us feel we’re not doing enough. Worse, we’re not doing enough fast enough.
Cooking the Last Supper
If that sentiment touches a nerve, give the above video from Adam Westbrook (published by Delve) a quick watch.
Yes, it’s a visual essay told in the language of motion design, but I’m posting it for the core ideas it’s presenting. So try to zero in on that and chime in with your thoughts in the comments.
To be honest, I’m ambivalent about its message. I appreciate that mastery and success often take longer than we publicly acknowledge.
But I’m also suspicious of the whole concept of “success,” at least in the context of creativity.
Which success matters most?
I’ve interviewed many of the top talents in our field and talked to a good deal of other accomplished artists about success. While they all strive for it, even those who achieve it don’t seem fundamentally happier or more at peace because of it.
Success, like money, is one of those slippery treasures that squeezes out of our grasp and lands just out of reach — over and over again throughout a lifetime.
Maybe the real challenge isn’t painting a metaphorical Last Supper but realizing that true success is in enjoying the process more than the product.
That definition of success doesn’t preclude other definitions, of course. In fact, I suspect that those who enjoy creation for creation’s sake probably also enjoy a good deal of “traditional” success. They just don’t define themselves by it.
“The Long Game Part 1” is the first of a two-part series based on two posts from Mr. Westbrook: Difficult and 47 Years to Success.
UPDATE: Here’s part two of Mr. Westbrook’s series. (Thanks, Angelo!)
Hat tip to Jordan Taylor.