As a freelance photographer and writer it’s difficult to know when you are heading in the right direction. When your work is subjective, there is no right or wrong. This, for me, is what makes working in the creative world both a blessing and a curse.
This short essay is made from a collection of thoughts that float around in my mind, questioning what makes somebody successful. It does not provide any answers, instead provides a number of questions; answers to which are endless and ever-changing for each and every person.
Is the difference between those who are and aren’t successful purely the relentless effort they put in (regardless of failures), or do those who are successful have something different that maybe I’ll never have?
This is a question I have grappled with as I constantly suppress the feelings of self-doubt. How do you stay sane and on track when you’re running freelance in a creative industry? What one person may love, another may hate.
After experiencing a few setbacks this season I found myself the nearest I’ve ever been to giving up.
During my period of self-doubt I came across a bunch of articles and videos of successful people talking about the hard times and setbacks they faced, saying that it was pushing through the setbacks that made them who they are. But I couldn’t help but think: Is it just the constant determination through failures that makes someone successful? There obviously needs to be some skill involved, but how do you know if the work you’re putting in will work out? Do they have something that I don’t?
I have always been of the belief that you make your own luck and that putting in a consistent effort, combined with a passion for learning are the main elements to success. But what about those times when you’re rejected? Is it purely the act of pushing through those hard times that are the building blocks for mastering your passion?
You never hear of an unsuccessful person telling the same generic story as above, but is this because they did not push through the failures to become successful, or is it because they do not have the same large platform to tell their story? Have they too followed the same path and pushed through the same setbacks as successful people or is there something else that distinguishes their likelihood of success?
This is possibly one of my biggest fears about freelance life. Regardless of the love and effort poured into my work, is that I am somehow destined to fail due to lacking some unknown, yet essential trait, in order to succeed.
There is no answer to this, but rather a number of questions I continuously ask myself in order to attempt to make sense of my emotions in the hope that maybe one day, I’ll figure it out, and maybe it will all be okay.
All I can say for sure is to keep going. Putting in a constant effort whilst pushing through failures is better than not doing it at all. You’ll still learn something new and surely that’s just another piece of the puzzle to add to the jigsaw that is life?”