Artists Between Mindset and Motivation
By Omar Cherif
From my own experience dealing with many sorts of artists those last few years, I can deduct that a significant portion of them are afraid of failure as much as they are afraid of success. Like any kind of fear, this contains and limits them. It cripples them through their artistic journey.
The main problem with such people is that they worry too much about the outcome of their work. Be it commercializing their art, caring much about what others will think of it or how they’ll criticize it, or perhaps because they are seeking perfection, the worry does take away from their creativity. It dulls their shine and that naturally keeps them stuck in a quagmire of unaccomplishment, frustration, and lack of motivation.
But why is that so? And what’s the difference between those artists and others who “make it”?
Artsy Arty Art
Art is rebellious in nature. Apart from creativity and imagination, it’s a skill that needs guts and courage, which usually reflects on one’s lifestyle. In truth, if you have the guts to call yourself an artist, then you are one. It’s about how you perceive yourself. It’s as simple as that.
Many of the ones I have met seemed to lack the courage. They are too shy. It feels like they are afraid to shine; like they cannot believe they will make it. And this attitude shows on their behaviour and attitude. We attract what we have in mind, and if that is fear-based then what we’ll attract will be on the same frequency.
I see that such people don’t have enough self confidence — or freedom — needed to be true artists who can excel in what they do. Without shine, artists lose an essential preliminary to become stars. If one really wants to be great, he or she should stop asking for permission.
The differentiation between mindsets can sometimes be informally explained as the “starving artist” mindset and the “thriving artist” mindset (shown below). Or as the featured infograph distinguishes; successful and unsuccessful.
The good news is, most of our limits are self-generated. Mindsets could be fixed, and the unsuccessful can become successful by changing some habits and perceptions. This Article shows how to overcome creative blocks.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations
To be motivated is to be moved to do something. There is a certain inspiration that energizes the act. People have different amounts of motivation towards different things. They also have different kinds of it.
Let us see what psychology has to say about that.
According to the Self-Determination Theory, there is a distinction between two different types of motivations. This is not only in arts, but in every aspect of life.
One, is the Extrinsic Motivation, which occurs when we are motivated to perform a behaviour or engage in an activity in order to earn a reward or to avoid a punishment. It is not representative of one’s self; it arises from the outside.
The traditional emphasis on external rewards such as grades, report cards, and gold stars is indoctrinated into us since birth. Whether it’s our parents, teachers, bosses or religion, we are constantly reminded that external rewards can induce interest and participation in something the individual may have no initial interest in.
How many people work just for the paycheck or pray merely out of fear of going to hell? Even more so, how many kids clean their room or study or eat their vegetables so they don’t get punished? Or those who compete in a sport or a contest to win an award or scholarship? A whole lot.
The second type is the Intrinsic Motivation. This, unlike the extrinsic, stems from within. It is self-determined. Intrinsic means it involves engaging in a behaviour because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than for some separable, external consequence like reward or pressure. Whether it involves work or play, intrinsic means motivated by inherent satisfactions such as fun, curiosity, and challenge. People with such motivation are more likely to be exposed to new ideas and to exercise new skills.
About the Author:
Omar Cherif is a trilingual writer and researcher, photographer and blogger with degrees in journalism, psychology, and philosophy. After working in the corporate world for ten years, he took writing as a vocation and is currently finalizing his first book about dreams, the subconscious mind and spirituality among other topics.