071: Jealousy and Disappointment
And the guy with monk robes.
I saw this thing on instagram where a little girl asked a monk how to let her anger out. And the monk replied, what makes you think it’s a good idea to let the anger out? Then he compared anger to mud. Mud itself is a dirty, ugly disgusting thing, but out of the mud a lotus can emerge.
In December I was offered two opportunities to speak to different groups of creatives about my creative practice. I accepted one and declined the other. Then the one I accepted got cancelled.
I was disappointed.
It was something I was really looking forward to doing. I spent time prepping for it. I made space in my calendar.
It felt like a ton of mud had been piled on me. This is the third time I felt this way since becoming an illustrator.
The first was when I was offered to represented by an agency only to have that fall through.
The second was when I was offered a gig by my dream art director, only to hear that the publisher decided to go a different direction
And now this.
Mud on top of mud.
“What am I doing wrong !?!”
One of the vital components to my illustration practice is being part of a “critique group” of ambitious and dedicated illustrators. We go through the ups and downs and mundanity of the job together.
Ups, downs and mundanity. According to another instagram story; an Olympic coach told his athlete that there is a rule of thirds, and through the journey you will feel up 1/3 of the time, down 1/3 or the time and neutral 1/3 of the time.
If you feel too good all the time, you may not be trying enough difficult things. And if you feel shit all the time, you may be over reaching. At a high level you’re expected to feel like shit a third of the time. (By this standard I don’t feel shit often enough, but then, I’m not competing in the olympics either, so maybe the standards are different.)
The point is we’re going to feel shit sometimes and that’s normal.
Then if this question of “what am I doing wrong?” Even valid or useful? I sit with it for awhile just in case there are lessons to be learned… then I move on.
My critique group offer perspective consolation and advice.
One of them says she puts disappointment and jealousy in the same place. These are negative emotions that if explored clarify the things that are important to us. This kind of mud produces the Lotus of clarity.
In the words of Ray Dalio, Pain+Reflection=Progress
The reflection part is the skill. The skill is choosing the right questions to ask..
“What am I doing wrong?”
“Why am I so disappointed/jealous/etc”
“How can I use this newfound clarity to make changes to my plans and practice”
The mud doesn’t go away. The feelings do spring up. I pack them together and plant seeds of reflection knowing that out of the mud a lotus will blossom.
if you’ve not yet seen it, a relatable read for writers, artists, or creatives:
Such wise words, Adam: "If you feel too good all the time, you may not be trying enough difficult things. And if you feel shit all the time, you may be over reaching." I'm going to think about this!!!