Cindy posed this question to me, “What do you do once all of your dreams in life are realized?”
1. Does external success bring satisfaction and happiness in life?
When I was younger, I had dreams of achieving freedom over my schedule, being able to travel, achieving some sort of online influence or “fame”, having exhibitions of my work, getting published, and also from making money from my passion.
As of age 30, I’ve achieved all of my dreams. Now what?
2. Making art is the answer
The other night I was chatting with my friend Simon, about how a lot of people want “location independence” and “financial freedom”. I have both, but still — these two things aren’t enough to be “happy” for me. Being able to travel, live abroad, doesn’t necessarily make me “happier”. Even though I have “financial freedom” (my income is more than my expenses), but still — I still worry about finances.
I think I’ve discovered the secret of true “happiness”— just keep making art.
3. We are hungry for inspiration and motivation
Once again, let’s consider — what do you do in life once all of your basic needs are met, and you don’t have to worry about money anymore, or if you don’t care to travel too much?
I think a lot of people travel because they want to find “inspiration” to shoot more photographs. Therefore, it isn’t travel that people desire — they desire the inspiration to make photos.
But what if we could find inspiration to make photos in our “boring” everyday lives? What if we were told that we could never travel for the rest of our lives? Would we still be able to be creative and make art at home?
4. Why do we want more money and freedom?
Even going to the point on money — a lot of people don’t want money to buy a bunch of stuff. I think most of us want money in order for us to gain independence from our jobs, so we have more time to make art. We want more time to shoot photos, and more opportunity to make art. But, what I’ve discovered: even though you have independence from your job, you’re not necessarily going to be inspired/motivated to make art.
For example, I don’t have a normal job anymore. I have more or less 100% freedom over my everyday life. Yet, I still struggle with finding inspiration and motivation to make art. That’s why I’ve been philosophizing a lot about how to find motivation to make photos of everyday life, and also been finding unique and innovative ways to make art (sketching pictures on iPad, making beats in garageband and making slideshows in iMovie, writing poetry, videos).
5. What do I really desire in life?
So friend, I challenge you to ask yourself:
“What do I really want and desire in my life?”
If your answer includes the following: money, freedom, flexibility, health, ability to travel, ask yourself — what is the thing I really desire?
For example, you might think you want money, but what you really desire is freedom and flexibility in your life, in order to have more opportunity to make more photos. Therefore, perhaps you think you want money, but what you really want to do is make more photos.
6. Everyday happiness and joy
The easiest way to be happier is to just shoot more. To shoot more photos of your everyday life, and to find more joy in your everyday life, by finding beauty in the ordinary and mundane.
And then I don’t think it is enough for us to just feel joy into ourselves. We must also share our joy with others, to make art that empowers others, and we also must share the secrets and truths we discover about life.
So friend, consider yourself also as a philosopher-artist. Stay hungry, keep searching for the answers for yourself in life, always hustle hard, work with brazen industry, and never let fear hold you back in life.