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You don’t have to starve to be an artist: How to calculate your success

Following your dream requires bravery. No matter what that profession or life looks like, it often feels like a giant leap is needed when it comes to pursuing it.

This “free-fall” feeling — where it seems like your heart is in your throat — happens because it takes drastic measures to shift your life. To go somewhere you’ve never gone, you have to do something you’ve never done.

However, there is a practicality that has to be included if you want any of it to come into fruition.

Without calculation, the ability to learn from your mistakes, and a clear strategy, you’ll find yourself jumping in place, or even worse — backwards.

We should dream with no limits. We shouldn’t have restrictions on what we envision ourselves accomplishing. But if we don’t guide those dreams with logistics, we’ll end up doing more harm than good.

You don’t have to starve to be an artist

Somehow, somewhere the term “starving artist” came into popular culture and was engrained in the idea into brains of creators that must struggle in order to be an artist.

Similarly, the mantra of following your dreams was universally adopted without adding that in doing so, it takes great detail and calculation as well. These days, being “all-in” means living strictly off the crop of your talents and anything else is a cop-out.

Not only is this ideology backwards, but it’s toxic misinformation and fundamentally contradicts any example of success you can find.

It’s okay to have a 9-5 or a 5-1. Yeah, you’re “selling your soul to corporate,” but you’re keeping the lights on, paying bills and being a responsible adult, too. Just make sure that you’re dedicating your extra time to the bigger picture.

You cannot discredit progress. A vision is alive as long as it’s not lost. So we shouldn’t feel less of an rapper, or business owner or actor just because we don’t do it full-time.

Planning doesn’t mean that the plan will 100% work. Or that you won’t take risks. Planning just means you have a focus. 

You have to start somewhere

Success takes just as much risk as it does planning. You have to put yourself in a position to win and sometimes that takes leaving your family or friends behind, locking yourself in your room for ten summers, or sacrificing your quality of life.

A lot of us are afraid to embrace that jump. Some of us are too comfortable with being cozy, and that’s why a lot of us are stuck.

Now, that doesn’t mean flying across the country and planting yourself in a different city to live out your car, either. You can commit to your passion from right where you are now.

You can take a class to hone your talent, put money aside for potential resources or work on that vision on the side. As long as we start somewhere, that’s the most important part. Then it’s a matter of not giving up.

There’s no excuse to keep a dream dormant when we live in a day and age where putting yourself on can happen in a matter of clicks. No matter the hobby, passion, or  desire, a dream without signifiant individual investment will never prosper.


Success is game of taking calculated risk. It’s a constant tug-of-war between self-sufficiency and the much larger life you’ve always envisioned for yourself.

It takes aiming, missing, adjusting, and aiming again, only to maybe getting a breakthrough, then repeating all over again. It’s the scientific method to pursuing your dreams. Shooters need to shoot.

A nuance of both calculation and risk-taking must be mastered to achieve your dreams.

We cannot sit on our hands and wait when there’s something that can be done, and at the same time, we cannot invite unnecessary struggle just because we think that’s how it works. There are enough necessary struggles for everyone. 

Pursuing a dream doesn’t always mean changing the scenery or your look. Unless we learn how to go about our ambitions practically, we’ll end up making the journey longer and more difficult.

Take leaps of faith when the opportunity presents itself, not when there isn’t a place to land.