The Importance of Discovering the WHY Behind Our Artistic Journey

As we've dedicated time to exploring mindset, goal setting, and reflection in recent weeks, I've observed a recurring theme in podcasts, artist summit sessions, and articles. This prevalent theme emphasizes the fundamental aspects required for effective reflection and planning. It's a question that initially caught me off guard, but as I delved deeper, it ultimately offered me great clarity:

WHY do you do what you do? What motivates your actions?

Whether you're an artist, writer, musician, or any type of creative, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is why you are pursuing your chosen path. Understanding the motivation behind your artistic journey is key to both short-term success and long-term fulfillment. Let's explore the significance of discovering our purpose by asking the question WHY we do what we do and delve into some strategies for uncovering it.

Revealing the Genuine Motivation: The Foundation for Long-Term Success

When you're working on a creative project, it's easy to become so focused on the end result that you lose sight of why you're doing it. Maybe you're chasing a dream, hoping for recognition or financial success, or simply seeking a way to express yourself. Whatever your reasons, getting clear on why you're pursuing your artistic journey can help you stay motivated and focused even when the going gets tough. While these kinds of reasons (like money or fame) are valid, uncovering the underlying question of why you wish to achieve them is often essential for recognizing your true motivation. By understanding the motivation behind your actions, you can tap into a deeper sense of purpose and find meaning in your work.

What is your WHY?

Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, argues that understanding why we do what we do is key to success in any field. Sinek's popular TED Talk on the subject has inspired countless creatives to examine the deeper motivations behind their work. He encourages us to start with the WHY, move on to the HOW, and then figure out the WHAT. This means that before we focus on the nuts and bolts of what we're creating, we need to get clear on why we're doing it.

I initially found this question very challenging and clung to superficial answers at first, before truly delving into what has been and will likely remain my motivation for creating art:

My fundamental need for creative expression through visual elements has been distilled into a need for managing and accepting circumstances beyond my control, while still maintaining agency over my response. I view this as a journey toward inner harmony. I deeply desire to connect with like-minded individuals and dedicate myself to becoming my truest self, while also inspiring others to do the same.

Uncovering Your 'Why': Key Questions to Guide Your Discovery

So how do you discover your WHY as an artist? One approach is to look back on your life and identify the moments that ignited your passion for creativity. Maybe you were inspired by a particular book, film, or painting, or perhaps you simply enjoyed doodling as a child. Think about the times when you've felt most alive and fulfilled creatively, and try to identify the underlying motivations that drove you.

As a child, I adored immersing myself in adventure books, getting lost in their captivating worlds and letting my imagination roam free. It was my way of escaping monotony, transporting myself to any place I desired, all while lounging under the old walnut tree in my grandparents' backyard, savoring fruit, walnuts, and homemade lemonade or syrup. On rainy days, I found a similar escape through my crayons and watercolors, creating vibrant adventures on paper or canvas. Whether happy or sad, I have always expressed my emotions through art and/or dance, shaping my identity and enriching my life. Artistic expression has always been and will always be an integral part of who I am.

While it may take some time to dig deep and get to the heart of your WHY, I believe the effort is well worth it.

WHY - definition

Another effective approach to discovering your WHY is to engage in introspection by asking yourself a series of probing questions about your artistic journey.

Delve into inquiries like:

What drives me to create art? What needs does creating art help me fulfil? What will matter to me long-term? In what ways do I hope my art will influence others? What core values do I aspire to convey through my work? By taking the time to contemplate and reflect on these questions, you can gradually begin to uncover the profound motivations that drive your artistic endeavors.

I enjoy creating intricate geometric patterns with detailed fineliner pen hatching because they provide a sense of control, especially on days when I feel powerless. Although I can't always alter unpleasant situations, I seek comfort in crafting beautiful art and immersing myself and others in it. It serves as a reminder to see beyond the immediate challenges we face. I tackle this by dividing the blank piece of paper in front of me into smaller sections, gradually filling them with lines and shapes. This approach makes the task less daunting and more manageable, allowing me to focus on the creative process.

Once you've identified your WHY, it's crucial to keep it at the forefront of your mind as you delve into your creative projects. Your WHY serves as a guiding beacon, anchoring you to your purpose and significance as an artist. Take the time to articulate it in writing, display it prominently, and make a habit of revisiting it frequently. By doing so, you'll foster a profound connection with your work and experience heightened fulfillment throughout your artistic journey.

Why to start with why

Discovering the WHY behind your artistic journey is not just important; it's essential to finding long-term fulfillment and purpose as a creative. By delving into your deeper reasons for creating art, you can stay motivated and focused, even in the face of challenges and setbacks. Take the time to reflect on your past experiences, ask yourself probing questions, and get crystal clear on your purpose as an artist. It may take some effort, but the rewards of this introspective journey are well worth it. As Simon Sinek reminds us, when we start with WHY, everything else falls into place, allowing us to create meaningful and impactful art that resonates with others.


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