A Successful Art Business… Do You REALLY Want it Badly Enough?

There was an interesting response to one of yesterday’s survey questions.

The question was:

“Where would you like to be in 5 years from now – what would your art business look like?”

To which came the answer:

“I would like it to be running smoothly, providing a stable income I could live off of without sacrificing anything”.

That does sound good, right?

It’s what we all want: be artist, build business, live from our art.

But there’s a problem with that response.

In fact, you could say that the very way this answer is constructed will prevent the desired results from appearing.

It’s as if it has the limitation built in.


Because the answer contains ‘without sacrificing anything’.

Now of course I don’t know the details, how this person means that answer.

I can’t know what he or she is referring to, when it comes to things that can’t or shouldn’t be sacrificed.


I do think it’s a useful thought exercise:

If no sacrifice will be made… will there be any results?

After all, it’s by sacrificing one thing that other things become possible.

For instance, if you don’t want to sacrifice any creative time to doing businessy stuff, business won’t grow.

Unless the art sales fairy shows up big a bag of gold coin and trades it for all your paintings.

And last I heard, the art sales fairy is on a cruise, or permanent leave, I forget which.

Here’s the thing:

If a guy doesn’t want to give up nights on the town with the boys, and dating women, he won’t have a happy marriage.

If you don’t sacrifice energy in the gym, you won’t lose weight.

If you don’t give up watching 4 hours of Netflix each day, you won’t be able to use that time for building a business, or indeed making art.

If you don’t sacrifice time in order to feed your mind, you won’t learn new things.

For every opportunity that you act upon, there’s an associated cost, there’s no way around that no matter how thin you slice it.

Now, this is not a ‘well that’s what’s wrong with the world’.

Instead, it’s a tool for you to think, consider, and choose.

Is the sacrifice worth the payoff?

How badly do you want result xyz?

Is it worth the cost?

Note that I’m not judging anyone here, and I’m not saying that the person who answered is wrong.

There’s a lot of sense in being deliberate about which things you do and don’t want to keep in your life.

It’s just that magic – of the kind where results appear all by themselves without any effort or input – doesn’t exist.

If you want a result, you’ll need to manifest it.


It’s up to you to build your success, but only if you want it badly enough.

Now here’s where things get tricky:

You may have a burning, all-consuming desire for a certain type of results or success.

It may be big enough to bring you to sacrifice certain things.

And yet… you’re not making the sacrifices that enable you to get there.

So what’s going on?

There can be all kinds of reasons for it.

It might be fear of failure (which is understandable, except that the road to success is paved with failures. But only always).

Could also be fear of success: Imagine you’d make it big – like really big.

Suddenly, you’re getting emails all day long, sales enquiries, reporters calling you up for interviews, people stopping you in the street.

That might sound like fun, but it’s also taxing.

Success brings its own sacrifices.

When you become successful, things will inevitably change, and so will your life.

And more often than not, it’s the subconscious that stops us from reaching success, because it wants us to be happy.

We like the status quo, we’re comfortable, and we don’t want our life to change.

That change, to the Amygdala, looks like a threat.

And the Amygdala is there to protect us from harm, pain and discomfort, and so it sabotages us from the inside.

It’s not that it wants us to fail – it just doesn’t think – it simply automatically acts to protect us from what appears to be a threat.

Could also be we don’t believe we are made for success, or maybe we don’t have the confidence that we can achieve it.

Or… and this is one of the most powerful sabotage principles:

Maybe we are simply comfortable with the way things are, and what looks like a desire for success is in fact more like a daydream, and not something we actually really desire.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

All these are good, there’s nobody telling you that you should be different.

But I put the question to you:

If you do, really want success… how much is it worth to you?

If you could have your life and business exactly the way you want it…

What are you willing to give up for it?

Now here’s the kicker:

Personally, I believe – nay, I KNOW – that sacrifice is good.

I sacrificed  years of my life to living in a monastery.

I gave up many things (voluntarily, I add): the freedom to choose things, money, relationships, possessions… the lot.

For 12 years, my life wasn’t mine.

And while that might sounds stupid or crazy, it was absolutely worth it.

When I came out, back into the world, fundamental things in me had changed.

Happier, more patient, more focussed…

Not that I became enlightened or even perfect (FAR from it!), but I did… let’s say, evolve a bit.

And the fact that it cost me 12 years of my life?

I’m glad I did it.

When you sacrifice one thing, you open yourself to other things.

And if you do it deliberately and thoughtfully, the result can be big.

It’s in the meaning of the word sacrifice: to make something sacred.

And this is not a religious thing:

It’s a psychological mechanism, whereby you give up one thing for something higher.

And I think you’ll agree that ‘healthier, fitter and better looking’ is a bigger, higher thing than ‘a tub of icecream each day’.

So what higher thing do you aspire to?

What are you willing to give up for it?

How much…


… is it worth to you?



Menu Title