Monday, March 9, 2009

Motivation Monday

What do think your greatest asset might be? What do you think you would need in order to achieve your dreams?

Would you be surprised if I said that your greatest asset isn't your bank account, who you know, your natural talent, your studio space, or your education?

Your greatest asset is your positive attitude! Do you doubt how powerful an attitude can be? Consider this - successful people have positive attitudes. Think of all the people that you would define as successful at what they do. Ask yourself if you think they are positive people or negative people. I am sure you would define them as people with positive attitudes.

Your dreams are what you are passionate about but what sort of effect would a negative attitude have on your passion? People who think negatively end up with a "what's the use" perspective. They give up and quit when faced with obstacles and challenges. They fail to use their creativity to solve problems and they lose their energy and their focus. On the other hand, people who are positive, adopt an "I can do this" perspective. They become people who persevere in the face of challenging circumstances. Their positive approach results in commitment and diligence. People who have a positive attitude believe that success is possible. They believe that by working hard and never giving up, it is possible to achieve one's dreams.

So which are you? Do you have a positive attitude? The good news is that you choose your perspective and you can choose to be positive.

Let me challenge you this week by asking you to examine your attitude. Work on developing your greatest asset by becoming as positive and as hope filled as you can be. Changing how you think in this one area, will have a profound impact upon your life. I guarantee it. So what are you waiting for, get positive!


Perpetual Chocoholic said...

I wish I had a more positive attitude, but I also think that negativity can foster growth. If you always are positive then you won't see the need for change. Having negative feelings towards your work part of the time will assist in encouraging change and working towards improvement.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Perpetual Chocoholic. I truly doubt that negativity is ever a good thing. I would say that artists need to be able to assess their work honestly. Identifying areas in which we can improve our skill level leads to our growth and development as artists. I wouldn't agree that we should be negative about our art. For me, being realistic (for example critically appraising my work) and being negative are different. I find that when someone is negative about their work they fail to see what they have done right and rather than being motivated to improve they are discouraged and defeated.

So I would counter that in art and in life, one should be both positive and honest with one's self. As I stated in an earlier Motivation Monday post, it is the truth about ourselves that sets us free to live the lives we desire. The truth will reveal what we need to change. Remaining positive and believing that change is possible is what motivates us to do what we need to do.

Phoenix said...

Great, great post!

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Semantics. Constructive criticism is still criticism. It's just a useful type. Looking for what can be improved is looking at something with a critical eye which can be a negative. If I personally didn't approach my work this way I wouldn't be motivated to change. It's the way I'm wired. As an instructor you require to see a different way. As strictly an artist looking at my own work I approach it with a different mind set. I would never use my own "critique" process on someone else's art as I use on my own.

Pain, negativity, depression, anxiety all can produce some incredible art. For example: Edvard Munsch's "The Scream" was an acute anxiety attack on paper. Many artists just create to record their emotions at the time.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Perpetual Chocolate. My first thought was to let this alone, choosing to agree to disagree. I decided to respond as my Motivation Monday series matters to me and it would seem that I have not made myself as clear as I would like.

Actually getting semantic might help. As semantics is the study of the meaning of a word, I would like to clarify that my thoughts stem from the meaning of the words negative and criticism. These two words do not mean the same thing. Yes criticism can be negative but this is not the same thing as making a critical assessment. Negative criticism is defined as "promoting a person or cause by criticizing or attacking the competition (as in he ran a negative campaign)". When something is negative it is "disagreeable, maked by features of hostility and pessimism that hinders or opposes constructive treatment or development, example a negative outlook". (Webster's definition)

Criticism or critical thinking on the other hand is the "skilled, active, interpretation and evaluation of observations, communications and information". Critical thinking is an essential tool of inquiry. Criticism that involves the skilled evaluation of a painting has much value. Negativity opposes constructive development but a critique encourages it. By suggesting that people choose to be positive, I did not mean to infer that people should not engage in critical thinking with regards to their art.

Yes artists do create from their emotions and I do not mean to suggest that we can only create 'good' art when we are being positive or when all the circumstances in our life are positive. We all go through times of pain, suffering, grief and anxiety at one time or another and of course most of us still do our work. My view is that we do not need to seek these emotions or wait for adverse situations in order to work well. Many writers, artists and composers have created great work while addicted, suffering from diseases and while mentally ill. Perhaps they created great work despite their state in life. I don't think that those of us who are healthy have to buy into the myth that a true artist is one who is suffering and starving. Wonderful art is also created during times of intense joy, peace and happiness as well. We do not have to seek dysfunction and ruin. Thank goodness for that!

This post was intended to encourage people to have a positive attitude and a positive approach to life, as it fosters success. Those of us who can choose our mental states (that is we do not suffer from a chemcial imbalance or some sort of illness) achieve our dreams sooner and more easily if we adopt a positive outlook.

My mother suffered from clinical depression throughout her life. She was discouraged, defeated and very negative, along with being depressed. Medication was not very helpful. Having someone like this in your life isn't easy. I would like people who are settling for a negative outlook (again, I am not referring to people who are suffering from an illness) to really think about how their negativity impacts the other people in their life. This influence in my life and the attitudes I learned caused me to have a similar response ready as my default when in my adult years life didn't go the way I wanted. It took me a long time to realize that I could choose to be different. I had to work at changing my thought patterns. I know what life is like when you choose to be defeated, discouraged and negative. I did accomplish things but it took me a lot longer and I didn't enjoy the journey. Now I am on the other side. I am probably one of the most positive people you will ever meet. I hasten to add that it isn't because I have a perfect life with perfect circumstances. I choose to be positive. Ahieving my goals and dreams is easier now because my positive outlook keeps me determined, believing and focused. I am also delighted to report that I am enjoying the journey! :-) I have met many people who are caught in the pain of negative thinking. I write these posts in the hope that someone will be encouraged enough to start making some changes.