When it comes to big success there’s this pervasive sense that in order to get big results one has to do something drastic (Miley Cyrus, we’re looking at you). Though twerking your ass off to an international audience may work for some of us, by no means is it a sure-fire way of being taken seriously as an artist. Counter-intuitively, success comes by taking a multitude of extremely small (and decidedly un-groundbreaking) steps that one day amount to unbelievable life-altering changes. And lucky for you this is something of a formula.
I learned this while taking a course at M.I.T. taught by the good people of Handel (if you’re in a slump, I highly recommend checking them out). They pushed us to temporarily let go of the big dream by breaking it up into small easy-to-accomplish steps we could take every day. The thing that kills most artists is the waiting: You work your ass off and so of course you expect to see results – you wait for it like a paycheck, but success doesn’t quite work that way. It comes slowly, and painfully. You need to commit to taking a few tiny steps each week that will eventually bring you closer to your dream; challenge yourself. Call up that agency to have your portfolio reviewed; reach out to someone you’ve admired professionally and ask them for advice, or better yet, ask them if they’d be interested in collaborating; talk to a random stranger about your dreams, turn off Netflix tonight and stay up late perfecting your technique.
Instead of sitting back and waiting “for things to happen” go out and do something, anything that even falls marginally close to what you want to accomplish in the long run. And that’s the thing to remember, big changes come slowly so you need to prepare yourself for the fact that you’re in this for the long haul. Some of us get lucky and become over-night sensations, but that’s the exception not the rule. The rule is to constantly, relentlessly and shamelessly put yourself out there. Allow yourself to be as uncomfortable as you can bare and the world will be yours.