I’m Building A Self-Improvement Funnel For Tortured Artists, To Torture Artists
I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in a major depression. It sucks.
When I think back to my youth, I remember breaking down in tears in the middle of my third-grade classroom and not being able to explain why. I’ve been bullied by friend and foe alike, and to this day I bear the scars to prove it.
Ultimately, these conditions pushed me to withdraw inside myself, a position I could never summon the power to escape from. My self-worth and confidence were essentially non-existent, which was part of the reason I gave up on my art.
Unable to resolve these issues on my own, I stumbled through life with no clear direction, making no real progress, and producing nothing I saw value in.
One day, I got a nudge, and it kicked off a journey that’s made all the difference in my life. A journey you can follow if you want to. However, if you’re one of the few people in this world who are already happy and successful:
“Get outta here! Can’t you see we don’t want you anymore? Why can’t you go back where you came from?! Now leave us alone!” *punches you in the face
Yes, I am referencing that iconic scene from Harry and the Hendersons, a masterful 1987 comedic film starring John Lithgow about what would happen if a suburban family adopted a sasquatch, which is by the way criminally underrated on Rotten Tomatoes right now.
Think of this journey as a sort of self-improvement funnel, or depending on your attitude, a torture device, built to crack open and rebuild depressed artists, who don’t believe in themselves, who feel lost, and who don’t have a clue what the heck they’re doing. It has three levels of pain!
1. Stop it and get some help
Take it from me, it’s going to be hard to do anything if you’re a pessimistic, hopeless, sack of shit. The tortured artist trope is a myth and being sad isn’t great for doing anything but moping around. So the first thing you’ll need to do is beat your depression.
Here’s your case study: I was in my thirties, crying my eyes out in a management meeting in front of the freaking company owner about how everything is meaningless and I can’t go on any longer. Boo to the hoo. Is that what you want for yourself? Because it’s not great. Zero out of ten, I would not recommend it.
Luckily, I got a bit of a nudge from the owner, who had previously been in the same position as me, and he assured me that there’s always hope if you’re willing to do the work.
No, I don’t expect you to believe that. Shit, I didn’t believe it when he said it, but I got help anyway, and I turned my suckfest of a life around. Funny story, it was actually a RIP for boss man, because it involved me getting the heck out of that terrible-ass work environment. Lulz.
2. Improve your mindset
Your mind is a powerful tool if you know how to use it.
If you don’t know how to use it, it’s just as powerful but it works against you more than it works for you. The goal here is to get you out of your own way long enough to achieve more than you ever imagined you could.
Luckily, people who are a whole lot smarter than us already figured out what you need to know to make your brain work for you. These brainiacs, if you will, are experts and philosophers, and they’ve got you covered with buttloads of timeless lessons.
The problem is, you can’t just learn just to learn, you’ve gotta put the lessons from these nerds into practice. You have to literally reprogram your brain to think differently. It’s going to take you a fair amount of time and effort to get it right. Are you up for it? You better be, because your art depends on it.
3. Do something you love
If you don’t do something you love, one day you’ll realize you’ve spent a whole decade of your precious life doing nothing but working in a warehouse helping someone else build their dream instead of yours.
*chokes back tears
I’m not saying you have to make money doing the thing you love, but I am saying you have to have something in your life that fulfills you. This includes knowing why you want to do it and getting specific about what it is. “I just want to art” is not a good enough answer. You have to gain a deeper understanding of your desire to be an artist. That’s what this level is about.
All of the levels that come before this step are to ensure you’ll be able to sustain the effort needed to keep this house of cards up, especially if you work a day job to support yourself. By the way, working a non-art job to pay the bills is fine if that’s what you wanna do, because the key to doing something you love is finding a way to fit it into your life that makes you happy.
We’re all under construction
“You are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life’s challenges: you get to find out that you’re capable of being far more than you ever thought possible.” — Karen Salmonsohn
The trademark copyright patent-pending self-improvement funnel for tortured artists to torture artists is under construction too.
The truth is, I’m just starting to put into words how I wanna help artists. I never really wanted to teach people how to make art because there are already tons of teachers for that. There’s also a lot of art business teachers. I’m more interested in how to be productive as an artist now. In the past, I’ve kinda just blogged about random things here and there without any over-arching goal. This funnel is sort of the umbrella I’m building my content under from now on.
Funnel is really a misnomer. It’s not a funnel in the marketing sense. Like, it’s not leading you through a process to make a purchase that causes my ever-inflating fat pockets to explode. Trust me, my pockets are empty. The whole point of this funnel is to help you build yourself a happier and more fulfilling life. I’m giving you the tools to do the work. You’re the one who has to do it.
If a funnel isn’t the right way to describe it, I’m not even sorry. Funnel funnel funnel. I’m just describing the path I traveled on my journey to get where I’m at, and, in retrospect, it felt like a funnel to me. So, funnel.
Taking it further, all of the levels I’ve described can actually be worked on at the same time, rather than in a specific order, as that’s most likely how you’d experience it in real life.
I mean, for depression, mindset, and productivity and such, you don’t actually beat it once and win forever, you know? If that’s what you thought I’m sorry for shattering your dreams…but you’ll have to manage these things for the rest of your life. Fortunately, if you do it right, it’ll be a good life: a life full of art.
I just want you to know, if you relate to the me I used to be, there is hope. I believe in you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, you can at least believe in the me who believes in you. You can do it!