success

success secrets

It’s not hard to find a ten-step list leading to almost guaranteed success in just about any field. While these lists don’t always have exactly ten steps, they’re pretty common nowadays.

I’ll admit, they can be helpful in breaking down an otherwise complicated process to its bare essentials, but such guides often do not lead to the success they promise—at least not immediately.

Here’s the problem: there usually isn’t just one formula that works all the time for everyone. Otherwise we’d all be rich, famous, bestselling authors with amazing six-pack abs.

There are just too many factors and too many complications to know for sure that the same course of action will yield predictable results for everyone.

Like it or not, most of our long-term goals will take a good amount of time and dedicated effort. Those promised shortcuts may exist, but they’re few and far between.

That said, I got a lot out of this article from Paul Kilduff-Taylor on The 10 Secrets to Indie Game Success (and Why They Do Not Exist)

Even though I’m not an indie game designer, I discovered some great insights that could be applied to creative design in general.

To entice you, here are a couple quotes from the article that I quite liked:

Your sojourn on this plane of reality is incredibly short and your perception of time accelerates as you get older — you will not have the hours, or the mental space, to work on everything that matters to you in your lifetime. If you can, spend your time creating a legacy that you will be proud of. 

 

Confidence, rather than arrogance, comes from being able to see the true value in yourself and in your work. You can be polite and humble but still have high self-confidence: in fact, these traits often go hand in hand. You do not have to become an all-singing all-dancing extrovert, but if you have issues in this area then you do owe it to yourself and others to work on them: the rewards will extend well beyond game development.

success

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What is the measure of success?

I’ve thought about this often. I expect most people, if you really pressed them, could give you specific details for what they would consider a successful life. It may be obtaining a job, reaching a level of popularity, achieving world-changing accomplishment, getting married to someone, reaching an amount of wealth, living to a certain age, becoming a member of a group, etc. 

We all want something out of life and quite often, we don’t yet have the thing we want.

But the problem with success is that we believe once we obtain it, we’ll be completely happy and utterly fulfilled. Often, whether we reach our far away measure of success or not, we end up disappointed.  

This disappointment can be soul-crushing at times. The many tragic celebrity stories of the past bear witness to this.

Toward that end, I found hope and inspiration from the experience and advice offered by K.M. Weiland in this lovely article:

6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity

The way we measure success is important, but before we even get there, we ought to consider how we define it.

In Derek Doepker’s book, Why Authors Fail, he points out that success and failure can work for or against us based on how we define them. 

His argument is that we should view success as a process, not an event. The same goes with failure. 

If you only see success as achieving some milestone, then you’ll have some problems: first, if you don’t reach your goal, you will feel the weight of discouragement and failure. But if you do reach your goal, despite failures and setbacks along the way, the glorious feeling of achievement only lasts a little while. When it passes, you’re on to the next thing or stuck trying to repeat or hold to what you just did in order to keep the blissful feeling of success. You’re constantly searching for success, but never truly reaching it because there will always be something more, something bigger you can do.

If success is a process, then you can be continually successful, not just when you reach a goal. 

As long as you are doing the right thing today, you are living in success. 

Doesn’t that sound more rewarding than basing your success on some far-offgoal? 

Sure, you’re not gonna bat a thousand every day—you’ll have good and bad days—but you will have the same opportunity every day. 

Not only will success always be an option, it’ll be within reach. With this mindset, success is right in front of your nose, or rather, between your ears.

I believe every day is an opportunity to decide, and reach, your measure of success. So here’s to a successful today.

fame

When I was a young lad I wanted to be famous. Heck, I pretty much assumed I would be. It only made sense, after all: it’s what everything seemed to be telling me I should want. And why shouldn’t I be? I’m just an amazing person after all and everyone loves me. Riiiight.

But I don’t want it no more. It works out well, since I am decidedly not famous by any stretch of the imagination. 

The more I think upon it, the less I want fame. After all, I like to go out in public and not get hounded by people I’ve never met before. I like not having my private life invaded by the media. Why, it’s safe to say I enjoy the luxuries of non-fame more every day.

However, as a writer, I do want to be well-read and well-received. I’d like my work to be known by as many people as possible, even if they never know who I am personally. I think it’s an achievable goal, to be well-read but only known by a few. 

While this doesn’t work for every artist, there are many creatives out there who are highly successful but only familiar to those with a particular knowledge of their industry, such as fashion designers, architects, chefs, and game designers. 

In my own, inexperienced opinion, I think those who are both successful in their artistic career and famous bear a heavier burden than the rest. In truth, I do not envy them.

Personally, I don’t get starstruck (not even thunderstruck), or at least haven’t yet. Sure, there are people I’d love to meet, people I admire for their opinions, character or work. Honestly, I will treat someone a little different if I know they are known by many, but I think that’s more out of a respect for their position in society than me fawning over them.

 

As someone who works in the entertainment industry and in LA, it’s no surprise I’ve met a few folks of notoriety. Come to think of it, I’ve had some very unusual experiences:

I made Bill Murray leave an In N Out. Alright, so it wasn’t me in particular, he just realized our group was onto him and decided to head elsewhere with his family. Can’t say I blame him.

I’ve played freeze tag with Andy Serkis (the guy who portrayed Gollum, King Kong, and a bunch of other well known mocapped movie creatures)

Stan Lee almost stole my jacket (accidentally of course).

Kim Kardashian had to wait in line behind me as I sampled yogurt at a Pinkberry. Hmm … that’s probably the most millennial thing I’ve ever said.

I totally ignored Morgan Freeman as he stood in front of me, tapping on my desk. This is the man who played God (multiple times), for crying out loud! No, I’m not indifferent, just oblivious. Sheesh, all I had to do was look up!

Samuel L. Jackson made me work late on a Call of Duty game.

Terry Crews and I had a brief, awkward exchange as we were both heading toward the bathroom at the same time. Naturally, I let him go first and just waited outside, I mean, have you seen what a specimen of a human being he is?

 

So yes, I think fame can be fun, as long as it’s someone else’s!

 

Creatively yours,

A. P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, what are your thoughts on fame and have you had any interesting encounters with a famous person? Let us know in the comments below.

 

F.O.C.U.S.

[original photo by  Alison Burrell ]

[original photo by Alison Burrell]

I’m not sure if she’s the one who invented the acronym, but I saw this from Rebecca Matter, President of American Writers & Artists Inc. in an email article she’d written. When I first read it, I knew it was a keeper:

F.O.C.U.S.

Follow One Course Until Successful

Acronyms can sometimes come off as contrived or hokey, but this one really rings true for me. In a world so full of distractions, I find focus, or should I say, FOCUS (yes, I’m shouting it) to be of greater importance now than ever. 

These days, so many things clamor for our attention, it's stinkin' hard to have stick-to-it-ness, or to follow my wife's sound (and frequent) advice, "one thing at a time, honey."

But how do we do one thing at a time? How many projects have you begun only to eventually lose track of because you lost focus? How many fell by the wayside because you didn’t stay the course? I’ve goat a metric busload of them myself (busload was an auto-correct, but I’ve decided to keep it—no idea where the goat came from though). There is something powerful, sacred even, about maintaining focus—being single-minded. 

There isn’t a person out there who couldn’t benefit from this practice. But why is focus (or FOCUS) so hard? Perhaps our goals aren’t clear enough, or we don’t want them badly enough. Maybe our priorities are a little off. Could be all those advertisements and temptations have gotten the better of us. Whatever the case, it’s time to zero in, to batter (or batten, if you must) down the hatches, to rustle up the chickens, to … you get the idea. It’s time to pick a course and follow it until successful.

Imagine you’re a pilot with dreams of traveling the world. Well, if you’ve got a license, aircraft, fuel and the right skills, you can. What if you’re on the way to London when, halfway through, you decide you’d rather go to Australia. You change course and start going there. But then, two hours away, you decide Tokyo might be more interesting for a first stop, so you redirect once more. What’ll happen if you keep this up? You won’t go anywhere and eventually you’ll run out of fuel and crash into the big blue. The same happens in life: every time you switch gears, you’re exhausting resources while not really getting anywhere. Here’s the thing: like a pilot, you can go just about anywhere, but you can only go one place at a time. Pick your destination and go. If something changes on the way (say the airport is closed due to weather conditions), so be it, but either way, you’ve got to land somewhere so pick a new destination (one nearby) and go there instead.

This practice of focus works just as much in daily life as it does for projects with a longer timeline. We might get halfway through an online article, jump to Facebook to check if someone has liked our status, hop on our email, switch to our favorite game app for a few turns, all while we were in the process of getting dressed for the day. Instead of this frantic attempt at multitasking, let’s move with purpose: pick one thing and do it until it’s done, then move on to the next, with purpose.

Maybe you get caught up on the last part, successful. Everything can’t always end up a success, right? Tis true. Then I suggest you follow the course you’ve set until you reach a natural end—a conclusion. Every good book comes to a conclusion, even if it isn’t a happy one; it’s clear the story has ended and it would make no sense for anything more to be written in that particular narrative. So it is with any task you may take on. You’ve got to stick to it until you have a darn good reason not to. But when the time comes to let go, cut your ties (and your losses) and move on to the next thing. If we allow the things we’ll never finish cling to us, we become like a hot-air balloon with too many sandbags attached, barely getting off the ground. Time to drop them and soar high.

Let’s all work at eliminating distractions and moving onward with FOCUS (sorry about all the shouting, really). Pick one thing and stick to it until you reach the end, whatever it may be. If you do, I know you’ll be surprised at the progress you make, and what you learn in the process.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, what is one area in your life where you could use more FOCUS? Let us know in the comments below.