Take a look at your friends. No, really–not just a cursory review, but an in-depth assessment of their character, integrity, passion, and motivation. Do you feel inspired and energized after spending time with them, or do you feel drained and frustrated?
In the past few years, I’ve learned the utmost importance of the phrase, “choose your friends wisely.” Why? Because the company you keep is the platform from which you learn and grow. They are the ones who will help you to power through your creative dry spells, hold you accountable, and give support and encouragement to the most sacred dreams of your heart.
Dreams are Life
And as any artist knows, those dreams are life. They are not vague intangibles, but the very foundation for a reality yet to be realized. In a world that frequently attempts to squash creativity, it becomes that much more essential for us to surround ourselves with those who have a common vision–to build communities that can and will stand–to know that we are not alone. In the words of Vonnegut, “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
How many of us have begun to follow our instincts in pursing what the masses largely deem illogical, unreasonable, foolish, or just plain stupid? When we stand alone, it’s easy to become tired, defeated, and feel as though we’re insane. You begin to question yourself… “Was this really a stupid thing to do?” Again, this is when the company you keep must be of the highest caliber–people who will assuage your fears and doubts, believe in you and your goals, and will help to build and defend your vision.
The company you keep can either inspire, drive you forward, and draw out the very best you have to give, or they can discourage and perpetuate the cycle of apathy and self-doubt.