Are you Happy?

Tonight the TV show, 60 Minutes, reported a piece on happiness and life satisfaction. There was a study conducted across Europe which led to the conclusion that Denmark has the highest level of happiness compared to the rest of their European countrymen. Danes interviewed expressed their satisfaction based on not having high expectations regarding many things in life so there is little to be disappointed about. Emphasis was also placed on strong family relationships, plenty of rest, sleep, and work weeks of 37 hours. It's not to say that they lack great ambition, dreams, goals or aggressiveness, but rather have healthier, realistic expectations and priorities many countries can learn from.

Now if you are anything like me, you may have thought to your self "Those lazy bums! They need to work harder and stop being babies." The perfectionism in me cannot handle letting things go. A person (ahem... me..) makes the rules of life so hard to achieve, so overwhelming, there is no choice but to be bummed out when unrealistic goals are unfulfilled. Someone may not be satisfied until they make 3 million dollars a year, have the trophy wife / husband, fancy car, attain that low percentage of body fat, president of the nieghborhood association, or the best dressed. Compare that to someone who designs the rules of their life to be so EASY to achieve. They are content with their "low" paying job that they love getting up for. They live in unconditional loving relationships rather than empty shallow marriages. She is satisfied with her hair/waistline/wrinkles/zits/extra curves/ and imperfections. He lives a simpler way of life, secure, and is just happy to be above ground alive for another day. Our overworked consumer oriented lifestyle aims to have everything, yet that quest to landfill the "hole" with possessions, status, and power continues to elude us.

My unrealistic expectations of my artwork are about being highly detailed, interesting subject matter, strong impact, clever use of design, great idea, excellent execution, style, energetic, harmonious color schemes, humor, clear communication, technical skills, passion, and has to sell. - An overwhelming combination at times very similar to the person who refuses to be happy until he has everything (what a revelation I am having right now) Wasn't I happier as a kid with a simple Crayola in my hand?

As you can see that's one of my huge creativity blocks. My artistic assembly line would be at a different level of output without the unnecessary dead weight. Like some twisted computer hacker, somehow I reprogrammed myself to think everything I do must be perfect gold. I enslaved myself to be creatively miserable. How did I let myself get to this? Nothing is ever "good enough" so the thought of consistently producing "grandiose" imagery becomes extremely daunting. I run away under my bed sheets covered in misery. Damn, I wish I was cooler. 

How did I forget my mantra? " Create for the garbage can." It helped take the pressure off so many times. It explains why i draw fantastic work on a napkin, and mediocre work on an expensively primed canvas. Tomorrow I begin the tow truck exercise that will pull me out of this gravitational magnetic hole of unproductively. Stay tuned as I attempt to just "let things go" and "expect little".


Check story here.