Ten Creative Strategies
No.1 : Do something!
I'm sorry if it sounds a little simplistic, but having a dream and doing something to make your dream real is the number one difference between the successful creative and everyone else.
I'm reminded of a story told to me by a great guy called Geoff Thompson. Geoff started his career as a bouncer on the violent night-club doors of Birmingham. After dark he would come up against some pretty unsavory characters, whilst in the day, he worked sweeping the floors of a local factory.
It wasn't a glamorous life, but like most people, Geoff had a dream. He dreamed of one day becoming a writer. So, with no training, no support, no money and no spare time, Geoff started to write. He wrote on standard writing pads, using disposable ball-point pens whilst sitting on the factory toilet. It took him over a year to compile a rough, first draft of his book and it took a further six months and several volunteers to help him type it all up into a single manuscript.
Geoff sent the manuscript to publisher after publisher and endured the stressful wait before each one returned his only copy with another rejection letter. Then, one day, Geoff met a woman who worked as the editor of a well respected national newspaper. She took a liking to Geoff and agreed to read his manuscript. After reading it, what she told him helped motivate him for years to come.
Whilst his writing technique needed some refinement, she explained that her office was crammed with reporters, each one had been through the best writing and journalism schools and every one of them had dreams of becoming a writer, but none of them had achieved what Geoff had, not one of those journalists, working at one of the countries finest newspapers had applied their dreams and made them into a real manuscript.
Geoff learned a lot from that editor, he did get his first book published and went on to write countless best selling books on martial arts and personal development before moving into script writing (and winning a BAFTA for his efforts.)
So, there it is, whilst getting your creative brain-cells all fired up is important, unless you can apply those ideas by doing something, you're missing out on tons of experience, credibility, essential failure, contacts and momentum that you could be developing in the real world.
What can you "do" about your creative dreams today?
PS. Check out the full length interview with Geoff Thompson - https://bit.ly/33YNLui
No.2 :Don't let the b**tards grind you down
How often have you brought up one of your goals or dreams in conversation only to be laughed at or even worse told flat out that it will never work? It’s frustrating isn’t it? The funny thing is, it happens to everyone, whether they are starting out or at the top of their game.
I spoke with David Horvath recently. David is a super talented guy, he's a well respected artist, illustrator and co-creator of the Uglydoll, which has proved to be nothing short of a phenomenon around the world. It turns out that even this super successful guy had to deal with people trying to hold him back from his dreams and it wasn't just his buddies, he had to face resistance, much closer to home.
The surprising thing is, David wasn't a kid whose parents didn't understand the creative life, his father was actually an artist himself, but he still tried to discourage his son from following his own creative dream of designing and selling toys.
That kind of pressure, from close family or even your partner can be tough to deal with, but it can't be ignored. You've really got two options; give-in to it and live the life that someone else thinks you deserve, or use that resistance as motivation to prove them wrong (in a positive way).
David used the resistance of his father and turned it into the energy he needed to deal with the adventure of following his dream. He found himself a partner who did believe in his vision and together they designed their own line of toy characters, one by one, pulling through the tough early years with grit and determination.
Today it's easy for people to call him a success, as if it were always guaranteed, but what David knows, like many other people I've talked with in his position, is that he made a conscious choice, the same choice we all have every day to either give in to the doubters and the negative influences around us or to turn that negative energy on its head and use it to fuel us towards achieving our creative dreams.
Check out David's fascinating and very personal 'rags to riches' story - https://bit.ly/3dvifbL
No.3 : Feel the fear and dive right in...
Remember that feeling of dread, when your heart starts beating in your ears, you get tunnel vision, and your legs are ready to take you in the opposite direction at full speed?
We all experience irrational fear at some point, even people at the top of their game, in fact I've found almost universally that it never fully goes away, but the successful people I've interviewed have all found ways to change how they think about it.
I say think about it, because it's important to know that the aim isn't always to make your fear disappear, in fact those at the top have all found a way to live with and even enjoy the feeling of fear.
Does enjoy sound a bit extreme to you? It's not rational to enjoy something that we think of as an unpleasant sensation is it? But what the top creatives consistently do is take that negative feeling and switch it into something positive, something they can use to fuel their actions, not keep them paralyzed.
Fear has its route way back when we lived in caves (or even trees) it protects us by keeping us safe from sabre-toothed dangers, but as my friend Chet Zar recently said - "fear is an obsolete emotion from our primitive past" and Chet is a guy who grew up wanting to make monsters for a living! The image below is one of his amazing paintings. If you want to read that interview go to - https://bit.ly/39iKo2g
At least in our comfy western world, we're normally pretty much free from danger on a day to day basis. So what do we do? We get stressed about making awkward phone calls or standing up in-front of other people and talking. It's irrational when we step back and think about how much we can limit our success simply by being unable to manage these small instances of unnecessary fear.
The good news is there are techniques that anyone can practice to manage this type of fear. One that I use personally was taught to me by the legendary Paul McKenna and you can try it too.
The next time that feeling of fear or dread washes over you, take a deep breath and focus on your breathing. Don't fight the fear, just get used to the sensation for a few seconds, even if it’s unpleasant at first, once the initial panic has subsided, mentally tell yourself that what you are feeling is really excitement.
You're not frightened of making that phone call or talking to that scary person, you are actually excited and that feeling in your body (the rush of adrenaline) is really there to help you, like a shot of rocket fuel turbo charging your entire body and brain, it gives you the power to think faster and sharper than normal. Repeat this mentally a few times until you feel charged by your excitement and then dive right in and do whatever it is that you were previously afraid of.
Practice this technique of turning fear into excitement regularly and you might find that in some situations you totally lose your fear, whereas in others, the fear will subside to a manageable level. That's fine, remember, even the top performers in the world feel the very same fear as you do, they just manage it using techniques just like this to give their actions and their performances an extra spark.
Have fun with this, turning your fears into adventures could be the single most profitable game you can ever play, so let me know how you get on and what successes you have.
No.4 : Enjoy your audience getting value from your work...
Before I dive in, I have to admit that this whole '10 Creative Secrets' thing is a bit of a con. The truth is, I've come across hundreds of gems whilst interviewing my own creative hero's and hundreds of industry insiders. But I know from my own experience, trying to apply all this knowledge, is just not that easy.
I don't know about you, but I find it hard just to remember all the great advice we hear, let alone put it into practice!
What I have found, is that it's easier to remember things that have a story attached to them, we all love stories, right? So when I was reading through all the great creative strategies I've collected, deciding which to share with you, I picked the ones which not only stand out to me as great advice, but the ones that came to me with a great story attached.
Every one of these strategies has been told to me by someone at the top of their game,(I'll be sharing the complete interviews with everyone very soon) and they are all based on ideas I hear time and time again from people in the know. Once I hear a potential secret a few times, I go into investigative mode and make sure I ask everyone I interview the same question.
It's amazing how many ideas, philosophies and habits the ultra successful share. It's also amazing how few interviewers ask them the critical questions that uncover those strategies. Truth be told, some of the habits the successful share are a little bit out-there. So you just don't hear about them in regular interviews or increasingly gossipy magazines.
Anyway, back to today's strategy...
"Enjoy your audience getting value from your work"
What does that mean? Well, let me explain by telling you about two artists I know. One is a great guy called Tim Tsui. Tim lives in Hong Kong and his passion is creating characters, which take form as illustrations and 'urban vinyl' or 'art toys'. Tim has a growing fan base in his market which stretches around the globe and he loves what he does.
The other, we will have to call Mr X on account that whilst his business is already suffering, I don't want to be the one to put the final nail in the coffin. Mr X is one of those artists who is in a perpetual state of crisis, he likes to suffer for his art and thinks it gives him depth. (Most people think he's full of it!)
The thing is, both artists create work that many consider to be excellent, but if you ask them what they think about their audience, they will give you a totally different answer.
Mr X, doesn't like the people who buy his work, he believes that anyone with enough money to pay for his paintings is buying art for the wrong reason and doesn't really deserve it. His contempt for his market hasn't gone unnoticed and what his agent and the galleries initially represented as artistic eccentricity is starting to wear thin. He's blaming the drop in sales of his work as the 'proof' he was right and his market are fickle followers of fashion.
Tim on the other hand not only has a genuine affection for his fans, his affection isn't selfish. Tim knows that it's not really about him, it's about his customers enjoyment of his work, it’s really all about them. Tim told us he really enjoys meeting and talking with his fans and that it helps energize him for his next project. Because of this he goes out of his way to attend various art and trade fairs around the world and the result is a growing, very loyal following.
So, the secret here is really to remember, that whatever benefits you get from creating your work, to be commercially successful you also have to enjoy your audience getting value out of your work. (And this applies equally to anyone in an employee / employer relationship as well)
The more you focus on them, the more work you will sell, or the more you will get paid. Somewhere in-between their needs and your honest expression of yourself lies that magic crossroads where you create a work of art (in whatever form) that satisfies your soul and the needs of your audience.
This is often one of the most controversial secrets I talk about, so have fun thinking about it :)
I will leave you with another quote Tim Tsui shared with me, from
"An artist is not one who is inspired, but one who can inspire others"
No.5 : Keep your energy levels up...
I have a book in my studio called "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be" by the late, great, Paul Arden. I'd like to share an insight from that book with you. It's one of those books that contains the perfect balance of words and pictures, just enough of each to communicate really powerful concepts. One of my favorites is a two page photograph of a huge mushroom cloud, I can't work out whether it's from a nuclear explosion or a giant volcano eruption but the page contains just a few words...
It's 75% of the job.
If you haven't got it, be nice."
We all miss it when we don't have any, but do we really know what energy is? Those who spend time pondering the issue, often say that energy is really nothing more than movement. When I first heard this it didn't make a lot of sense to me, so I started sneaking in the question "how do you keep your energy levels up?" to all the top notch people I interviewed. Surprisingly, one answer that almost always came back was "exercise"!
It makes sense if you believe that energy is just movement. I mean, you can't get more movement than exercising, but I didn't buy it at first, you see, most of these people didn't look physically fit.
So, armed with my BS detector I dug for more details. It turns out people were being straight with me, even those I didn't think of as athletes, were pretty active people. I mean they might not hit the gym at 5 am every morning but they did get out regularly, as in almost every day, for a walk in the park or a swim or something that got the blood pumping.
Those who seem to be the busiest and have the most energy also seem to be the ones who exercise the most! Geoff Thompson, who I mentioned earlier told me that the tougher his schedule, like when he's doing a book tour or on the set of a film, the more effort he puts into his daily run each morning. He sees it as literally powering him up for the day.
I had my readers ask me to find out where Brandon Boyd, lead singer of Incubus and an accomplished artist, got the energy to do so many projects. It turns out he's constantly racing around on his bicycle or tearing it up surfing.
Illustrator Jon Burgerman also pointed out to me that creative life can often involve endless hours in isolation, working on a project with nothing but your own thoughts for company. When that goes on for too long, it can be pretty depressing, which can lead to a huge drain of your energy supplies. Jon's recommendation for this, not surprisingly, was getting away from the desk / computer / studio and taking some exercise.
According to Jon, "You body, whilst hurting and hating you for making it sweat, also releases tiny pellets of golden happiness orbs into your soda-blood-stream (this is a scientific fact)."
I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me.
No.6 : Get the excuses out of the way...
Hey, I need to say sorry, right up front today, you see I might come across all Sergeant-Major-bootcamp-style.
This creative strategy is all about how we manage that endless list of excuses that jump to the front of our minds when we don't want to do something we need to do.
You know the ones;
- not enough money
- not enough time
- not enough confidence
- not enough credibility
- not enough resources
- not enough talent
- blah de blah de blah
The truth is, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much external pressure we have, our success comes down to how well we can manage ourselves. That's one of the secrets of those at the top.
One of the techniques people tell me they use, time and time again, is simply to get those excuses out of the way, right at the beginning of a project. It seems that even top performers have the same doubts and insecurities that we all do, but like their fear, they learn how to manage that negativity.
So, when you're faced with a task and your brain starts throwing up excuses, don't fight it, just get your excuses out in the open, shine some light on them by verbalising them or writing them down, expose them to scrutiny and see if they are real barriers to progress or just vague excuses covering some other hidden fear.
Having a stockpile of motivational stories can be another great weapon in your arsenal. As can surrounding yourself with great people (even if that is in the virtual sense). Knowing that others have triumphed whilst facing the same odds (or often worse odds) can be a great comfort and help spur you on.
But don't get sidetracked, the Internet is full of whiny windgers, telling you that people who succeeded were lucky, in the right place at the right time, sold their souls, came from a wealthy family or lied and cheated their way to the top.
In my experience (and I've personally met and interviewed a lot of successful people) that's very rarely the case.
Those at the top of the creative fields simply get their excuses out of the way early and get on with the job. I've yet to come across a genuine success story who had it easy. I have to point out that I do come across a few successful people who have learned that false modesty gives them an easier life in the gossip magazines.
The problem they face is, mass media journalists will write what most people want to hear and most people don't want to hear about hard work, mastering your craft and dedication.
Most people prefer to believe in luck, they prefer to believe that you can eat what you want and shed pounds, they prefer to believe that they may one day win the lottery, that way, they don't have to try so hard.
But of course that's also why most people aren't successful.
Jeff Soto, a super successful artist and friend of mine agrees that making excuses is pretty normal and he still does it sometimes..."Yeah, anyone going into the creative fields will have these problems. It's the easiest thing to do, make some excuses then you don't have to worry about it, and you don't have to worry about failing. I never had enough money to buy paints and supplies, somehow I figured it out. I'd do without. I didn't have a car, I rode the bus. I bought my clothes from thrift stores. I spent money on my art supplies but didn't have much else. If you want something enough you have to make sacrifices."
So, there you go private, it's time to pull your finger out. Get those excuses out of the way and get on with the job!
Have fun with this one and let me know if it works for you
No.7 : Always be learning how to be yourself
As a creative person do you ever feel like it's an easier path to imitate others than to totally express yourself?
Some people say that there's nothing new under the sun. I've certainly found that to be true in many instances. When you look back over history, times and cultures may change, but basic human nature has remained constant for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Starting out in the creative world, one of the most useful skills we can adopt is the ability to 'model' people who have already achieved what we want to achieve.
Now, some people mistake 'modeling' for 'copying' and it's really not the same thing. When we 'model' someone we admire, we look at not just how they act, but why they do what they do. The goal is to work out how they think, how their thoughts lead to the results they achieve, not simply copy how they act.
Bruce Lee is idolised as one of the all time great martial artists with fans all around the world. Even decades after his untimely death, Bruce is one of the most copied martial artists ever.
But rather than 'model' what made him a great, most people simply copy his mannerisms, his unique movements, his dress sense and style. Yet Bruce himself encouraged people not to blindly copy him like a "second hand artist" but to focus on expressing themselves.
If we were to model Bruce Lee we would find out that the key to his phenomenal success as a martial artist was his desire to unwrap the layers of his own personality, to truly express himself and be as good as he can be. To do this he studied many, many different forms of fighting before modeling what he believed to be the most effective ways of thinking and acting from each. This was the key to his mastery.
If we were simply to copy Bruce Lee, we would miss that point entirely, and focus on his individual moves, his fondness for wearing no shirt, the way he spoke or maybe even his legendary yellow tracksuit!
Almost all of the successful creative people I have interviewed, started off modeling their own heroes. There are very few successful people who truly did something new and completely unique until they had reached a stage in their career where they had a level of success and confidence they could use as a solid foundation.
So, don't haunt yourself with notions of the need to be unique and truly original, right out of the box. But whilst modeling other people and developing your skills remember never to sacrifice what feels right to you.
Most creative journeys begin with something personal and from the heart. Then, it's often the struggle to gain the approval of your family, friends, employers, fans or commercial success that leads the creative person away from expressing their true self.
Those who manage to stick with the journey long-term and have a lifetime of success, are the ones who find a way to constantly steer themselves back towards self expression.
No.8 : Follow the excitement...
Have you ever wondered if you're on the right track? If the path you are on is your best chance for success and happiness? I know I did and realised I was on the wrong path!
But people often ask, how do you know what the right path is? Doesn't everyone have to 'put up' with doing a job to pay the bills and meet their commitments in the real world?
Our experts would say NO WAY. After all, that regular job, that you 'have to do' is really just you dedicating YOUR life to making SOMEONE ELSE rich and successful, isn't it?
But isn't it noble to work hard? Isn't that what a good citizen does, work hard, pay their taxes and be happy with their place in life?
In all my interviews I've failed to come up with any definitive answer to the meaning of life itself, but people do get pretty passionate when they talk about following what you love, what you are passionate about, your bliss or basically what gets you excited.
I've also noticed that it doesn't really matter what it is that you choose to do. As long as you can find something to be excited about, you are more likely to dedicate the time and energy needed to become masterful in that discipline. That energy and mastery will make you good at your job, you'll be rewarded by others and you will create a pleasant feedback loop, rather like a rolling snowball, where you will become more and more successful over time.
Talking about this, the British animator Nick Park springs to mind, (Wallace and Grommit, Chicken Run etc) Nick is passionate about Plasticine! When the entire movie industry left stop/go animation for dead to focus on the faster, cheaper digital animation, Nick and his team won the hearts of millions of people around the world with their clay animations that take literally years to create. He didn't care about following the market, he followed what got him excited (from the day he started as a child) and he stuck with it, amazing his audiences all through his career.
Now a lot of people will tell you that to change the world you need to do something selfless and noble like go and nurse sick children in a war torn country. But we see people who affect the world in all sorts of bizarre careers and it's not the choice of job that matters, it's the energy you bring to it that can be an inspiration to the rest of the world.
Some people, like Nick, know what their passion is from an early age, and they find the courage to follow it. Brandon Boyd, lead singer of Incubus told me that music just "reared up and grabbed him by the chest" but for some of us, it's not that clear cut.
(It was actually an album by Incubus that inspired me to quit my job and turn my life from one of corporate drudgery to creative adventure)
So what do we do if it's not obvious and clear what our passion is?
We get out and live a little!
Set ourselves challenges to try new things, experience alternative lifestyles, listen to different music, try different foods, wear different clothes, travel to places totally the opposite of where
Look for inspiration outside of our current sphere. But don't follow anyone else's path, deep down inside you, there is an idea, a dream that gets you excited. And that excitement is the key to your future success.
The first step is saying what it is.
I get excited learning what makes highly effective people tick, sharing that knowledge and making objects from unusual materials.
I'd love to hear what gets you excited!
(In a creative, not X rated way! :)
No.9 : Under promise, over deliver...
Have you ever been completely hooked by a compelling, hyped up advertisement, only to find when you actually bought the product, it was OK, but not quite what you were eagerly anticipating?
I know I have. We live in a world of such apparent fierce competition and choice, that often it's tempting to sell everything upfront.
One of the interesting things about my job is seeing how people at different levels of success in the creative world behave.
I mean, none of us are perfect and we are all learning and growing, but sometimes the distinctions are dramatic.
The people I interview are at the top of their game, the people who you might think have less time and less need to do interviews.
Artists with long-term success consistently try to deliver MORE than I ask. And what it comes down to, is a basic attitude of how to deliver your product. If you're going to do a job, do it properly as my Dad would say. If you don't have the time, energy or commitment to do it properly, decline and focus on something you can do properly.
You can apply this approach to any task, no matter how common-place and turn it into an art form.
I was in London a few years ago and frequented an 'Irish' sandwich bar. I mean let's be honest, neither the sandwiches or the sandwich maker had ever been within 100 miles of Ireland, but that's not the point. I returned to this particular sandwich bar regularly for two reasons.
One, the staff who prepared my sandwich did so with the care and attention, dare I say, the artistry, that I would apply to making my own sandwiches if I were at home (and I'm a sandwich master – or is that monster) that alone gets my repeat business, but what makes that sandwich bar memorable several years and hundreds of miles later, is the fact that they frequently delivered MORE than I expected.
When I bought a sandwich, they would put a free handful of crisps in the brown paper bag. Every once in a while, they would randomly buy me a free coffee, always with the genuine smile you only see from people who enjoy giving.
Sure it was a ploy, they were empowered by the franchise manual to randomly spread a little coffee love among regular customers and of course I paid for the free crisps somehow. But as a customer I got to fool myself that I didn't order them, so they had no calories!
The magic is, we all like to be treated as if we are special, like we are respected. We all like pleasant surprises; we all like gifts, we all like to have someone deliver MORE than they promised.
So, the next time you want be a Diva or give away everything upfront, hold back a little, save something in reserve so that you can OVER DELIVER on your promises. It's one of the simplest secret weapons that you can apply to build a lifelong, LEGENDARY career.
Try surprising someone by over-delivering today and let me know the results.
No.9 (and a half)
Okay so this is an unofficial creative secret and it's really a reminder of something I started talking about in Creative Secret No.1 But it's so super-important that it's worth repeating.
But first let me ask you a question...
Have you received any value from the creative strategies so far? Have they struck a chord with you? Did they make you think? Did they get you fired up?
Now let me ask you another question...
Have you taken any ACTION as a result? Be honest!
Wouldn't you think it's an obvious step we would all find really easy;
1) learn something that can help change your life for the better
2) start applying it to your life right away!
So how come we rarely do take that second step?
The truth is, most people see themselves as followers, not leaders. Most people are more comfortable being told what to do and being made to do it.
Making ourselves do the things we want to do (but might be a little scary) having that self discipline, even to achieve our own goals, (ridiculous as it might sound) can take a lifetime of training.
But that's OK, because I am really committed to helping you learn from the most inspiring creative talent out there and equally committed to helping you APPLY what you learn.
And even though I've got all the time in the world to help you, I can't actually do the work for you.
You have to start and continue thinking about how you might become more assertive and take action in your chosen field, even if that sounds scary right now.
A successful creative simply can't blindly follow everyone else, they don't passively watch from the sidelines, they don't secretly listen-in from a distance.
A successful creative person has a voice, they ask questions, they state opinions, they seek help, they get involved, they take action, they put their work out into the world and they deal with the consequences.
So ask yourself now, what do you want to be?;
A reader or a publisher?
A consumer or a producer?
Inspired or an inspiration?
Here's an opportunity to start practicing... I want to hear your voice, I want YOUR input, right now. Don't passively read on as if this doesn't apply to you, YOUR views are important to me and I want to hear them today. Here's why...
Here's how you can help...
I want you to imagine that your walking towards your favorite creative place. You open the door to discover a room full of friendly approachable people. You quickly realize that the people in the room are your all-time creative heroes. There are Actors, Authors, Musicians, Designers, Artist, Athletes, the people whose work really excites and inspires you.
You find them to be in a delightfully helpful mood, in fact they are there specifically to help YOU in any way they can. You're smart enough to realize that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you don't want to waste time on gossip, chit chat and being star stuck - so what questions would you ask them? What would you want to learn from them? What would you have them teach you? What, once in a lifetime knowledge would you like to walk out of that room having gained?
Tell me now (don't put it off) in as much or as little detail as you wish, what creative skills, what questions, what knowledge you would seek to gain from this room full of your creative heroes.
There are no wrong answers and I don't believe there's any such thing as a stupid question.
I look forward to hearing from you. email@example.com or in the comments.
No.10 : Become the Editor of your own life story
Ever felt like there just aren't enough hours in your day?
Nobody can do everything right? Even our creative heroes have exactly the same number of hours in the day as us. So how do they seem to get so much more done than the rest of us?
The answer is, they have learned to focus on what's most important and leave the less important stuff to everyone else.
They have learned to edit their lives with extreme prejudice!
Think about all the jobs that exist merely to do stuff that's not important enough for the "decision makers" to get their hands dirty with.
Maybe you have a job doing someone else's crap right now?
What those decision makers know is, it's OK to say NO to things that don't matter. Being able to systematically work out what does matter and edit everything else out is a key skill of top performers.
Right now, there are a whole bunch of people, (the majority of people) focusing on fear and panic. There is a smaller group of people (far more successful people) focusing on things they can control, developing themselves, their skills, following their excitement, giving a little back to the world and inspiring others.
These people aren't phased by the ups and downs of the world because they have built their lives on more solid foundations. I believe that we can all do that, pretty much instantly, it's one of the things that doesn't take years of dedicated practice to achieve, we can start at any time by making a choice of what to focus on and what to edit out of our lives.
You can choose to become obsessed with the news, the soap operas, the papers, or trolls on the Internet and all the negativity they contain, I'm sure it won't take you long to feel overwhelmed, there's no hope and you're pretty poor.
Or you can choose to focus on something that will make a difference. You can express yourself and inspire others. What can you do with have you have right now.
When we make it a daily game to edit out the negative and the wasteful, the end result is free time and space, which we can then fill with something exciting and creative.
Maybe get that guitar out or the oil paint, write something you feel needs writing, make a You Tube video or do something physical that makes you feel strong.
We only have a limited time on this planet, don't let others pull your strings, those who make a creative success of it, waste less of that time on fear, gossip, the "news" or fictional TV characters. They are too busy living out the story of their own lives.