Every unique one of us has our own innate creativity. Each of us is able to live life in our own original way. So it’s a crying shame when we start to make assumptions about who is and isn’t creative and pigeon hole people accordingly. Let’s not get restrictive about the term artist either. Artistry can be attained in any sphere of life, not just painting. And I believe that the greatest artistry we can aspire to is in the art of living itself.
Taking the first step towards being the artist of your own life involves accepting responsibility for the shape and course of your existence. That means taking responsibility for what happened in the past, taking responsibility for what’s occurring right now in the present, and taking responsibility for the direction you choose to navigate into the future. When you abdicate responsibility for any of these, then circumstances will take over and you’ll find regrets in your past, discomfort in your present and uncertainty awaiting you in the future.
Artistry is more than just taking responsibility, though. You can take good responsibility without necessarily exercising any creativity in your decision making. It’s generally more comfortable, of course, to go with the flow of what’s acceptable in your social circle – to follow trends and conventional wisdom, and to keep up with the Joneses. But is it fulfilling? On a surface level, maybe, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find your own individual needs and wants, dreams and desires, passions and giftedness crying out to be allowed to be different. When you’re ready to heed their cry, this is the point where you can begin to buck the trend and to shape your life with some creative decision making.
But life artistry is more than just creative decision making too. Being an artist involves considerable skill, practice, perseverance and dedication. Before you can call yourself an artist in your chosen field, you have to progress through 3 preceding stages… amateur enthusiast, seasoned practitioner and master. That means that even when you’ve achieved mastery, you’ve got a further step to take. As with all major achievements, there’s no quick fix route to becoming the artist of your own life.
So when you think about your life as a work of art and you as the artist, do you know what kind of artwork you want to create? A masterpiece, for sure, but in what style, what detail, what vibrancy, what subject matter? And what skills will you need to develop to enable you to become a master of this style and subject matter? What are the first steps you need to take towards getting started? An artist often begins with rough sketches – what form will your rough sketches take?
Life planning is a disappointingly dry description of a process that can be full of creativity, individuality and vitality. When you choose to be the artist of your own life, yes it does involve taking on responsibility and risking the discomfort of social contention. But so much more fulfilment awaits when you dare to persevere towards the glorious heights of artistry.