It is raining outside and the temperature is dropping below freezing, so I'm stuck at home tonight. All evening I have been contemplating desire because I am cooped up at home and wondering why the hell I want the things I do. I typically have two meals a day and tend to pick up my food from local restaurants so tonight I'm left to fend for myself, searching bare cupboards to find something to snack on. I found myself getting quite frustrated about the fact that I'm stuck at home tonight. And that train of thought led me to contemplate desire.
I found an incredible article on the benefits and pitfalls of desire on Psychology Today. Here is a link to the article, in case you want to take a look...
While I was reading the article so much began to make sense. To sum up the key points of the article...when you anticipate acquiring, receiving, attaining or enjoying something in life, simply anticipating enjoying that outcome releases the feel good hormone, dopamine, in the brain. It doesn't even matter if you reach that outcome or not, even just anticipating it can make you feel good.
While there are pitfalls to desire; like chasing things that harm your health or livelihood, or wanting things that don't wind up making you happy...there are also a ton of benefits to desire. Desire makes you work hard and strive to get to that next level. It helps to have some sort of reward for the things you want to achieve and even simply crossing an item off a to do list can bring joy. The point in the article that really stood out to me were the fact that social connection and giving back are the two things that have been proven time and again to bring people the most happiness.
So if you are trying to set art goals, if you somehow align them with those two pursuits...social connection and giving back, you will be most rewarded for your creative journey. I'm excited to try some new things to get my core desires more aligned with what would bring me true happiness. And if you find yourself struggling to figure out what is next for your art, I hope this article gives you a place to start. Figure out what would make you beyond happy to achieve, and then go for it with all you got!