Tips For The Unrelenting Creative: How To Feel Satisfied With Your Success

Hi everyone,

May is upon us and I can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by! Yesterday, we held our commencement ceremony at The Colburn School here in LA. It was a beautiful event and we celebrated our largest graduating class since the school was formed 19 years ago (60 students). As with most schools that have a September-May arc, now begins four months of deep planning for the year ahead.

For those of you on a similar arc, I hope you had a smooth landing into the end of the academic year or performance season and you are able to find some downtime this summer.

Thanks for reading.

  • How To Feel Satisfied With Your Success: I often relentlessly drive toward a goal but rarely take the time to reflect and celebrate the win when the project is over. This is a problem. I think this is because I’m never quite satisfied with the success of the moment so I move on to the next thing quickly in hopes that the next project will fill that void. 

    If you are like me, try redefining success to help you celebrate your wins. I have found that if my goal simply “checks a box” I don’t value the win as much as if I am emotionally connected to the thing I’m trying to accomplish. This article in the Harvard Business Review brings an incredible perspective on how to feel more satisfied when you are successful. 

    Musicians Know How To Play The Long Game
  • How To Avoid Lifestyle Creep: My first job was as an elementary school music teacher in Norfolk, VA and my salary was $31,000 a year. I was rich. I immediately rented a beautiful apartment I had no business leasing for $1,000 a month, which was close to 50% of my take-home pay for the year. My ambitious spending habits prevented me from saving, investing and digging out of the debt I accumulated in college.

    Tip: If you recently landed your first full-time job, or you’ve just received a raise in your current position, try to avoid spending all of the increase in salary and aim to put a bit of that increase into savings or investments for the future. In this article, Nick Maggiulli has a great approach to how much you should save of your future raises based on current savings habits.

    Related: Understanding The Rule Of 72​​
  • How To Express Your Thoughts: Last week, I attended a civic engagement event in Downtown Los Angeles. At the event, Father Gregory Boyle was honored for his decades-long leadership of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. During his acceptance, he told a short story about his experience with one of the former gang members who went through his program. I was transfixed. It also made me realize that I need to work on my ability to clearly convey beautiful ideas to an audience through spoken word.

    Stop hiding behind facts and figures, and instead tell beautiful stories to convey the things you care about most in this world. I recently stumbled upon this article that discusses 3 rules to express your thoughts and I’m found it a great place to get me thinking about this change. 

    Here is my first attempt at conveying my ideas through a story. 

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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