Are you hungry for more in life? Do you thirst for new knowledge and inspiration? If you in all honesty can say yes to both of those, great! Or would you say you’re content with your life? Because that is a dangerous place to be.
Until recently, I had a steady paying gig. The client and I worked together for years, and I wasn’t mentally prepared when the gig ended. My mistake. What I took away from this experience can be boiled down to: savings are good, complacency is bad.
Financially, though it was a relatively small contribution, the fact that it was regular made it the very foundation of my personal income – the one constant in what can seem like a mess of variables. With that gone, not only did I lose some income, I also felt adrift and exhausted.
The importance of preparing for your steady gig to end (whatever it may be) was immediately obvious, but I was surprised by the creative fatigue that followed.
I suspect that any venture in which you become vested, will take a toll when it comes to an end. Whether it’s a relationship turning sour, the band breaking up or losing a long time client. It wasn’t actual heartbreak of course, more a feeling of “now what?” – and not taking into account how this would affect my other work.
I had been used to a certain way of doing things, and now had to adapt or eventually suffer some serious consequences. My savings would carry me for a while, but the real and very immediate panic was over losing my drive, and thereby the ability to move on.
When you reach that point, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. And I did, until I realized that self pity is about the least constructive thing in the world.
My wife said it best: you’re not hungry enough. Years of steady work had made me complacent and content. I had lost my edge. The one that made me produce much more, back in my twenties. Granted, a lot of that was utter garbage, but at least I didn’t just sit around with my hands in my lap. It was time to get hungry again.
I took a look at my list of projects and ideas previously shelved for a later date, searching for ones that could be wrapped up and shipped fairly quickly. Just to get something out the door, because finishing and shipping a project is a confidence boost, itself inspiring and motivating. I also tried to look at my situation as an opportunity to take a step in a new direction, learn and experiment.
My point is, if you’ve got a good thing going, don’t let that keep you from pursuing bigger, better things. Don’t get so content, you lose your hunger and drive. The hunger doesn’t just keep you on your toes in case you lose a job or client, it makes you strive for more and reach higher when life is good. Complacency on the other hand, will cause stagnation or worse – regression.
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