An artist's mind is a sensitive place. What flows through it will always impact their ability to create. That is why it is important to remove as much toxic influence as possible.
My opinion is that someone who has a creative brain becomes more susceptible to the good and the bad that comes their way. I have developed this way thinking through years of my own experience and through dialogue with other creatives. When things are good they are really good. And when things are bad they are really bad.
I’m learning that the way I live my life has such a huge impact on my ability to do my best work. From the activities I do, the people I allow to be close to me; the way I sleep, eat and drink. And it is is amongst managing all those things that I have had to make difficult, but crucial, decisions in order to achieve what I want to.
Identifying Toxic Influence
There is, of course, a variant of toxic influences one will have in their life. Not all of us experience the same. What is important is that you can identify what your toxic influences are.
Earlier this year I realised the way I was using social media on my smartphone was chewing away at my productivity. The amount of time I was using my phone was eating away at my brain. I had poor focus, anxiety, I couldn’t sleep. How could I possibly be my artistic best with all these toxic factors going through my mind? So, I dumbed down my smartphone. I reclaimed my mental energy by using my smartphone less and instead focused more on positive and rewarding projects.
We become the people we have around us
Okay, so we don’t literally morph into our friends and family. But the people we have around us does impact the way we think and feel about ourselves.
Quite a few people have reached out to me and shared their personal stories of bad friendships, relationships, family members. I tell them all the same thing...
You need people in your life that make you feel like the best version of you. If you have people who put you down, knock your confidence, make you feel insecure - remove them from your life. I know it can be hard, but it is worth it. Anything or anyone that is giving you self doubt will only destroy your path to artistic greatness in the long run
It is equally as important to display extreme ownership. This means taking a look at yourself and your own behaviours in great detail. Maybe you’re a toxic influence, and within a group of friends or just two people, it is also you that is contributing to a toxic energy. You still need to make the same decision - walk away.
Whether you're a street photographer, a writer, a painter, or any other form of creative; the strength of your mind is important. The way you feel about yourself will reflect on the way you feel about your art.
Let me tell you the changes I have made in 2018 and explain the impact I feel they have had
Rebuilt relationships with people
Quit a job that was unfulfilling
Stopped doing the same patterns and went traveling
Lost 2 stone in weight (13kg, 28lb)
Removed toxic people from my life
As we approach the final quarter of the year I feel so much better about myself. I am writing multiple times a day. My readership has increased. The feedback I am getting is becoming more and more positive. I am now getting paid to write about something I am passionate about.
I feel my street photography is getting better, I am seeing more confidence in the way that I am working. I even got featured in The Guardian!
Removing toxic influence, being more healthy, makes me feel lighter and gives me so much more energy. All this energy can be focused into my art and passions, and the rewards are plenty.
This is not an opportunity to gloat, but rather to show you the impact having a less toxic life really does have.
Make Changes Today
Take some time, be honest with yourself and write down what you feel are your toxic influences. Once you have done this, come up with a plan to change them. If you are as passionate about your artistic success as you say you are, you will have no choice but to make changes.
I promise you that once you do make a change, that short-term pain will only give you long-term gain.
If you enjoyed the content of this post, please sign up below so you can stay on top of all things new!