How to Cultivate Focus and Drive: Perspective for Artists and Creatives.
Every artist is a working artist—whether full-time or part-time. Regardless of the level of professional engagement, focus, optimism and drive are key components in artists successfully navigating the valleys and challenges of the creative career.
For artists holding a day-job, as a means to supplement income, maintaining and cultivating focus and drive amidst the obligations of a secondary employer can prove difficult—particularly when it carries the additional distraction of toxic environments and personalities, coupled with logistical challenges that work to bury the lede of the full-time creative career that they are working towards.
In balancing day-job commitments that compete with creative focus and ambitions, how can part-time creative professionals replenish their drive and optimism, as they continue their work towards fully realizing their careers?
Creative focus and drive can be maintained and restored through a reliance on the Creator, as the creative authority with the power to overrule errant thoughts and experiences that disrupt artistic focus—whether those disruptions emanate from the workplace or from the resulting voices of exhaustion and discouragement building within. When artists regularly connect with the Creator through praise, prayer and meditation, they are able to cultivate a confidence that overrides the challenges of their professional reality.
This authority is illustrated through the life and ministry of Christ, as the creative Word of God, who on various occasions experienced interruptions amidst the crowd, as he taught. As seen in the passage below, while teaching in Capernaum with his disciples on the Sabbath, Christ was interrupted by a man possessed with an evil spirit that proclaimed Christ’s identity from a vantage point of fear, causing disruption within the crowd--in an attempt to bury the lede of Christ's teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven and the power of faith:
“Just then a man with an evil spirit came into the synagogue and screamed, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are—you are God’s holy messenger!’
Jesus ordered the spirit, ‘Be quiet, and come out of the man!’ The evil spirit shook the man hard, gave a loud scream, and came out of him.
The people were all so amazed that they started saying to one another, ‘What is this? Is it some kind of new teaching? This man has authority to give orders to evil spirits, and they obey him!’”
The practice of contentment can also provide immunity and authority against disruptive voices, thoughts and circumstances that overwrite and overshadow artistic vision. When artists are able to root their ambitions from a heart and perspective of contentment, it produces added confidence that counterbalances experiences that run contrary to an artist’s self-image and aspirations—refueling optimism through a lens of objectivity that highlights the true equities of life, beyond the traditional metrics of career success.
As he worked to announce the coming of Christ, John the Baptist, preached throughout the territory of the Jordan River, challenging the conscience of the people and urging them to turn from their sins. When the people asked for advisement on next steps, his responses spoke to an outlook and practice of contentment, towards gaining peace and alignment with Christ, as the source of eternal life—as seen in the following passage:
“The people asked him, ‘What are we to do then?’
He answered, ‘Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.’
Some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher what are we to do?’
‘Don’t collect more than is legal’, he told them.
Some soldiers also asked him, ‘What about us? What are we to do?’
He said to them, ‘Don’t take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely. Be content with your pay.’
People’s hopes began to rise and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah.”
The Apostle Paul also famously spoke on the power of practicing contentment in his letter to the Philippians, throughout the hills and valleys of his career--as he worked to educate the church and spread the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, as seen below:
“I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.”
When artists are able to exercise their creativity and career pursuits through a lens of contentment, in relationship with the Creator, they are able to access a confidence and authority that overrides the experiences and circumstances that threaten their faith, focus and drive at every stage of their careers.