Promoting Passion Week 54: Motivation & Competition

Promoting Passion Week 54: Motivation & Competition

“I was wondering if you ever thought your success in photography which in turn contributed to your wonderful successes in writing, blogs and altruistic causes, needed that initial drive to ‘compete’ (for lack of a more graceful term). And without that -future minded drive – they wouldn’t have been achieved?”

This last year of my life has been very focused on peace and kindness. It was something I felt was missing from my life in some capacity and I wanted to center myself with those attributes. I have done a lot of work to eliminate the people and things from my life that I felt were toxic, and I’ve focused my energy on giving back and following the path of kindness rather than conflict. Because of that focus in my life, I have written a lot on the subject (and chatted about it in videos). However, Denise, who wrote the above comment, brings up a really good point: how does anything get achieved if we don’t have our heads in the “game”?

This is something I have been contemplating for a few weeks now, especially around holiday season, when my motivation was lacking. I had been traveling for nearly 3 months straight, and when I returned home from Australia I just wanted to rest…for a year…or at least all winter. I found it difficult to motivate myself because I found I had largely lost my competitive spirit, which was what drove me to compete in the photo world to begin with.

I started to panic a little bit, because I found myself up against an interesting decision: find the competition again and allow myself to be motivated by it, or become irrelevant. Those two options are absolutely not the only two available, but in my mind, in a moment of distress, that was my mindset. I was worried that if I didn’t find my drive again I would lose my career, which is what allows me to support my passion habit. If given a choice between only those two options, I would not go back to being competitive. I thought about that for a while, how I would rather build a new career based on kindness rather than competition. And that was when a simple fact hit me.

I don’t need to choose to be competitive or not. In fact, I simply need to change how I define competition. For me, knowing myself and my personality, it is not healthy to compete with other people. It makes me a jealous and unkind person. But competition does not have to be between two people. It can be with oneself. And in a way, I’ve been competing with myself all along. The only difference is that I am happier when I realize that and focus my energies on outdoing personal goals.

If I think about my photography career and compare that to someone else in the industry, or to the industry as a whole, it would be easy to say that I’ve done nothing – that I can always do more – that I need to work harder. But if I think about my life 6 years ago when I began photography, and I think about how I had done nothing yet, it is easy to be pleased with my progress. There is always someone bigger out there who has seemingly achieved more. But you, well now…it is impossible to only find failure in your own history. At the very least, you have achieved something in the simple task of wanting to be better.

I don’t think that we need to eliminate competition from our lives in order to achieve. I think we need to redefine who is playing the game. It is all too easy to imagine yourself on one side of the court and everyone else on the other. It is easy to imagine other people’s lives and how easy they must have it. It is easy to find jealousy surfacing, but jealousy is only good for one thing: pushing better emotions down where they are hard to access.

“I know I have often benefited from an ‘enjoy the present moment’ ideology … But something keeps harping at me from the back of my mind that I’m not working hard enough. Having fun being immersed in creating? – yes! Achieving? Well, the outside measure systems I think would find me lacking. :). How does one find balance?”

This past year I was asked on a couple of occasions what my “top tips” or “secrets” are for finding success. When faced with that question (other than turning red and finding myself in a ridiculous position to answer something I have not achieved) I answer by saying that sincerity, love, and kindness is my only weapon in a wild world of people trying to beat others out and achieve more and more. This year more than ever I reject progress for the sake of progress. Moving forward? Yes, always. But moving forward just to say that I’ve achieved more? I can’t accept that.

If you’re starting a new project, maybe a career or passion, and you’re looking for a way to be motivated (and stay motivated), these are my new mantras and tips that I tell myself when I need inspiration for finishing my dreams:

1. Others will benefit from your efforts.

This is my number 1 motivating mantra. When you fearlessly go after your dreams, you are inevitably inspiring others to do the same. When you think about others when you are achieving, you invite others to share in that success or in those failures. When you allow others to see your process, you give them insight into how they might go about their own challenges.

2. There is only one way to complete your dreams: the way that feels most natural to you.

The biggest fallacy in the world is that there is one right way of doing something. I refuse to believe it, and I look at my life so far as proof. I met my husband when I was 16 and everyone said we wouldn’t last, but we are absolutely best friends and indomitable lovers after 11 years together now. When I was 21 I was told not to quit my day job because art would never make me a living. When I started contacting galleries I had no idea how, but tried until someone responded. I don’t often look into how other people have achieved their dreams because I don’t need to know to achieve mine. Trust in what feels right.

3. Love spread to others inevitably comes back.

Be encouraging. Be kind. Always behave as though a stranger were watching. When you share your love with the world, someone out there will share theirs with you in return. I believe, perhaps more than anything else in my business, that sharing my love has given me the greatest benefits. We can push our products and sell our souls as much as we want, but nothing can compete with a genuine spirit of love.

4. Be honest about why you want to achieve more, and weigh the importance of those desires.

Finding motivation is often about asking yourself honestly why you want to achieve something at all. By defining that motivation, you will be much more likely to set forth a plan to achieve them. I am a big believer in setting small goals to achieve bigger ones. If you understand why you want to get to a certain place, you can more easily figure out how to get across the stepping stones on the way. In fact, you can create stepping stones for yourself.

5. Understand when you are happiest.

I easily fall into the trap of thinking that I am happiest when I spend days watching movies and eating cookies. But in truth, that is when I forget about my responsibilities and I give my body time to rest. That is not when I feel happiness. Never confuse happiness with contentment.

I am happiest when I meditate and stretch in the mornings, make smoothies, spend time cooking with beautiful whole foods, complete tasks on my to-do list, and create (be it photography or writing). By creating a routine for yourself that includes everything that makes you happiest (not simply content) you are creating a life that breeds motivation and productivity.

6. Find a motivation buddy.

I often fall into a jealous state of mind when I work closely with others who do work similar to my own. It is hard not to. I’m just admitting to being human here. I’m sure we’ve all had this experience. So if you find yourself lacking motivation, or don’t want to get too competitive (whether you show it or not, it can be destructive), find someone who also needs to be motivated, but perhaps in a totally different way.

My friend Lindsay makes me feel motivated because of who she is and what she does, but we are so very different despite both being photographers that I’ve never felt a sense of competition with her. My friend Kelly has known me for 12 years and doesn’t do photography but we motivate each other to be better in whatever way the other may need. My husband and I are both creative but we create different things, so we motivate each other to stay on top of what makes us sparkle. Yes, sparkle. I said it.

Competition does make productivity soar, but you don’t have to compete with others to create that sense of motivation. Compete with yourself. Outdo yourself. Find your motivation and remember that your efforts will inspire others.

If you have a response to the topic of
I’d love to hear from you!

Thoughts, tips, or advice about the topic is very appreciated not only for myself but for others reading. I’ll be choosing one response (blog post, comment, image, video, etc…) posted in the comments below to be showcased in the “Featured Philosophy” section of this blog so that others can see what you had to say!

Model featured in the image above is Stephanie Perez photographed in Yonkers, NY, 2013, at an abandoned greenhouse.

26 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Week 54: Motivation & Competition

  1. I have been struggling with motivation the last couple of months, since I returned to Nepal. When you began talking about a routine, and how you are happiest when you have a routine, that really spoke to me.

    I see my morning routine as a ritual, it helps get me into a creative state because I know things have been taken care of. Once the “business of life” is handled the passion for creativity just emerges.

    My morning routine has become insufficient to handle all of life’s business and therefore I feeel like I am playing catch up all day. So now my motivation is to create, and modify my mornings to make room for that passionate state to return.

    Thank you so much for inspiring clarity.

    1. Lenore, I am exactly the same. I just need that morning routine, and a few other things, to feel taken care of. I very regularly feel panicked all day if I am not organized. I like to have a calm and productive morning, and I like to end my work day by writing a list of things I need to accomplish the night before so that when I begin the next day, I know what needs to be done. I hope that you find your routine and feel awesome soon!

  2. Happy New year Brooke

    Competition ? I create my art because that is what makes me happy . I never see myself as competing with other photographers and artists . I really avoid looking at others work for inspiration or what modern trends may be . I do not want my work to look like everyone else .I do receive instruction on “proper” photographic technique and on the use of photoshop…but sometimes I like to do everything just “wrong”…and sometimes it results in my best work . i do try to improve from my last work…but I never see that as a competition with myself….every day I just try to be better…some days I succeed…and other days…well there is always tomorrow…and as for motivation and inspiration…I just get that from everyday life…sometimes being present in the moment…I may notice something that I saw day after day and never noticed before…and then it does make an impression on me…and the ball starts rolling .

    Hey…India…France…Italy…enjoy …and be safe .


  3. Brooke you are a kindred soul. Before I was finished the first paragraph I was already concocting a comment to tell you that you only need to compete with yourself. Great minds I tell ya.
    It is a tough nut to crack but I am surprising myself with how far I’ve come on this subject.
    I come from a career that was extremely competitive. All type A’s. You cannot make mistakes. Mistakes get people killed. You must always be “on”. No excuses. You had to become an immediate expert on everything you did and if you didn’t, you were letting people down. This forments a very competitive atmosphere as you can imagine. I always felt nauseous if I didn’t give 110% or was having a bad day. I never felt at ease or relaxed. I was constantly analyzing if one person was doing more than me or was faster than me.
    One day I decided to reinvent myself. I was going to throw out that mentality and become a bit more type B-ish. I’m well aware that this is a BAD recipe for success but I had to live my life the way I felt was best for me at the time.
    So I became a photographer. Then, I started calling myself an artist. I tried to have what I thought was the right mindset but as you know there are two different types of people in this industry. You have artists and then you have those highly competitive business types. I hated being around the latter. So I surrounded myself with the people I wanted to be like. People like you.
    At first, I found myself falling into that old type A mentality. I would get so upset when someone I knew put out some amazing piece of work. It was jealousy fueled. I felt that nausea. I seriously started questioning if this was the path for me. I wanted to quit. How could I remain competitive with my peers if they have so much more skill than I?
    So I made a conscious decision to not allow myself to see the world through that lens any longer. Instead of feeling jealousy, I would praise that artist. Tell them how amazing their work was and how proud I was to know them.
    Guess what happened? I started feeling REALLYgood. No more nausea or nervousness. For the first time in my life I felt free. I felt a true love for art. I could appreciate it without worrying if I’d ever achieve such a level.
    The next conscious decision I made was to be in competition with only myself and not only that but to take my time. Learn it slowly. Savor the experience. Don’t miss anything.
    This ideal was all firmly concreted in my mind after spending some time with an amazing group of artists in the south of France. I realized that I’m not on their level but they’re ok with that. No one is pestering me to churn out more or better work. They know that I am still learning and making my way on my terms and it is truly liberating. I’ve said this before but those people absolutely saved me and helped me start down a path to becoming someone who I want to be.
    The other thing that I started to realize is that I was running in a circle of AMAZING artists. That’s a tough standard for someone early on but I promise that surrounding yourself with people who are better than you will make you better if by no other means than osmosis.
    I also realized that to your normal person who isn’t deeply ingrained in the art world… work is pretty mind blowing. At my first show I was consistently asked why I made a print of my paintings. Once I explained that they were actually heavily edited photos people apologized. Then I swiftly corrected them saying that that was exactly the response I was going for.
    My point is that you should always strive to be better at your craft but it’s important to understand that your average person isn’t comparing you to the top dogs most of the time. Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Don’t let it create jealousy or competition. Enjoy it. Enjoy them. Be aware that people’s tastes are all very different and that’s what makes this crazy career path so much fun. Don’t try to compete with the top dogs. This will only make your work competitive with someone else’s vision. Try to make your own vision better than it was the day before and it’ll work itself out. Trust me.

    Ok Brooke. What started as a simple comment just turned into an essay. lol. Sorry for that. It was kinda therapeutic for me. Hope it helps someone:)

  4. I believe one way to keep us in check when being motivated, is to help others. This has helped me not be so self-centered and allowed me to network with people at the same time. I think we can greatly benefit our personal work by lending a helping hand to others with their projects. I find this to keep me from falling into that overly toxic competitive mindset.

  5. This weeks topic touched me so that I had to share my thoughts. Up until about a year ago I had a small studio and was in fierce competition with other local photographers. I shot the typical portraits, seniors, weddings, etc. Although I enjoyed creating lasting memories for other people I had this nagging feeling I wasn’t creating images for the right reasons. Then I ran across one of Brooke’s images and the light bulb not only lit up it exploded! I had already closed my studio in Indiana and moved to Florida and had decided I was at a point in my life where I wanted photography to be fun and inspiring again. So I chose not to open a studio here in Florida. Turns out it was the best decision for me personally. I no longer compare my work with others but am inspired by others. The only competition that goes on in my office is with myself, striving to be better at what makes me happy and sharing it with others. If my images makes someone else feel any sort of emotion, good or bad, I have made an impression. I switch it up every now and then to keep the passion and excitement of creating images alive. I make sure I step outside of my safe zone and do something new and different, not to be competitive with others but to keep the passion and love for photography I have intact. Brooke your work inspires me to get out there and shoot what makes me happy and I thank you for that. I may not always love each image you create but I truly and deeply appreciate and respect the work you put into it. Keep up the inspiring work and here’s to a happy and fulfilling 2015 for us all.

  6. This weeks promoting passion blog and video couldn’t come at a better moment for me.
    Tomorrow I need to show my final thesis photography project and I have my last exam. I have been down, not motivated (read scared). I am (was) afraid of what others will think of my work since it is not just a photograph series but a series of dark, surreal photos inspirerd by Brooke.
    After reading the blog and watching the video, I’m totally going for it. I’m not going to fiddle with the pictures anymore to make them better so everybody would like them. No, I’m now able to say I like them and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. So for the first time in my life I am actually admitting to myself I like something I did. So thank you Brooke for all your inspiration, all the blogs and tips that motivated me to do the things I like to do art wise.
    If I fail hopelessly tommorow I am going to hold my head high and be proud of the fact that I like it.
    Thanks for all the blogs.
    Happy new and creative new year to you Brooke and everyone of this community.
    Sabrina M

  7. Happy New Year Brooke <3 Wishing you much love, light and happiness for 2015. I look forward to sharing your journey yet again. Thank you for doing your videos every Monday for 2014. I am so happy you will be doing them again in 2015 as they have been a beacon of hope and a constant reminder to focus.

    Interestingly enough, competition is somewhat of a de-motivator for me. I find when trying to compete one might not remain true to oneself. Not wanting to be competitive does not mean I lack motivation though. I have always been very self-motivated, ambitious and determined to make a success. Most importantly though, to be independent and be the best that I can be.

    What motivates me constantly is being able to express my emotions and thoughts through my art. To create and collaborate with others that understand my world. In fact, I often find that creating is what provides motivation for the rest of my life. Because I am constantly moved by my emotion, I am never lacking in the need to express, which rollercoasters in a burning need to create. It heals me. For this I am deeply grateful.

    Working with others and sharing in my dreams for my art has been a wonderful release and motivator as well. I often work as a collective with the inspiring Claire Gunn ( and Natascha van Niekerk ( – and although our styles differ, we found an amazing sense of home together. I love these girls – they have been a magical source of inspiration and motivation.

    1. Oh dear friend, you totally made me cry now! And couldn’t agree with you more! Community, shared experience and support are such a huge motivation for me! I have also always been deeply self motivated, and find competition entirely exhausting! 🙂 I am forever grateful for this amazing forum of creatives and friends, it gives me strength to push on and be more me every day!

  8. Artists are deep people. We carry the highest highs and regroup to feel through the lowest of lows. This allows us to feel our way through this world and opens our eyes to beauty even in the darkest of places.

    We are all in the business of getting through life together. Each person we meet carries a seed of direction that with time will sprout into a new path for us to follow. We need to pay attention and in each moment to see the purpose and lead a driven life.

    I find that the situations that make me the most uncomfortable are the points in my life where I need to pay close attention. The most painful moments are cornerstones and once settled will allow us to build a higher level of self. When we get wrapped up in competing against those who seem to have the life we want, then we lose focus on the little things that are there to guide us to our own perfect journey.

    I view photographer’s work that inspires me (Brook Shaden is who I want to be when I “grow up”), work that stirs something deep within me and brings out a feeling or a memory I may have forgotten and I appreciate her journey and for motivating me to stay on mine.

    My New Years resolution is to create a dream/vision board. I have all these ideas running through my mind and I need to let them out so others can see, so they may feel the world through my eyes. Who knows, maybe seeing my vision will plant a seed for them along their path and we can walk through this world together, side-by-side.

  9. Brooke, thank you for another thought provoking and uplifting post. I think that this is an interesting and important topic.

    I don’t see anything inherently wrong with competition. And in a number of cases competitions can motivate people in a good and healthy way. I come across an essay contest, or a photo contest, for example, and decide to submit something. This can help provide the impetus to get me focused on writing the essay that I keep saying that I’m going to write, or to explore a new photographic theme that I find interesting. Competition can become unhealthy, however, when it is conjoined with the pass/fail mode of evaluation, which you mentioned in one of your earlier blogs. In other words, when one places too great of an emphasis on winning, and thinking of the whole exercise as a failure when one does not win. With respect to essay contests I know that I have fallen into this mentality on several occasions. Not winning a contest that I thought I could win was devastating in the short term. But eventually I was able to recognize the value of the exercise, and to focus on what I had actually achieved despite not winning the contest. In both cases I had produced a paper that I was proud of, one that I could keep working on with the hope of improving it and getting it published in the future. Competition can also become unhealthy when it is conjoined with a harsh me vs them mentality. I want to succeed and I want everyone else to fail! It is all too easy to fall into this trap when one places too high of a premium on winning and utilizes the pass/fail mode of evaluation. But these things need not be involved in competition. One can do one’s best and hope to win without also hoping that one’s competitors do poorly. By recognizing that winning isn’t “the only thing” one can have a much healthier experience with competitions and get more out of them by being more disposed to appreciate the merits of other people’s work and to recognize the merit in your own when you do not win.

    A different problem is to take things that are not really competitions and to turn them into competitions. I want to see if I can get the most favs or views for my images, or to get the most followers. Here I think it is important to keep in mind the fourth point you mention in your post: why do I want to “win” this competition? What if I am able to get 200 favs for each of my pictures. So what? Will that prove that I am a good photographer? Will that make me happy? Or will I then need to try to get 400 favs when I see that other people have done this (and so on ad infinitum). A little reflection should show that this sort of drive to succeed is not a healthy one. It is a competition that cannot be won, that is unlikely to lead to happiness, and in many cases will not improve the quality of one’s art.

  10. Throughout my life and everything I did and do, never wanted or try to do better than someone who is doing the same. I do not compete with anyone, do not try to be or do better than someone else. I do not want to get to where the other arrived, but get to where I am happy. And to be happy, I only compete with myself. Compete to win my fears and concerns, fight my defects and overcome difficulties while I seek my goals. And every victory that I conquer, increases my motivation to continue. For thus, I know that today I am better than I was yesterday. And believe me it already occupies most of my time, so I do not have time to compete with others. I created a fanpage on fine art photography and in 6 months I won 60 fans. It’s good? It’s bad? I do not care! I did not create the page to compete for most fans, but to show my evolution in something that makes me more and more happy on each image I create. In every moment that I work on an image, whether the end result is an awesome picture or an authentic failure, I am happy. And throughout this process that goes from the initial idea, composition, going to the ground shooting and editing, causes me a huge enthusiasm, than by itself is already a motivation. For me that is what counts and it does not make sense to be in another manner. Compete against someone is not something that is healthy. It may lead you, to the point of becoming stingy and greedy. Competing only with yourself and believe that you will reach your goals. That’s what I did and what I’m doing right now. I do not intend and do not want to compete with my friends, but add something beautiful to this fantastic community.
    Beautiful post, Brooke! Thankfully, you’re going to continue with these posts and this new idea is fantastic. Hugs, hugs, hugs…

  11. I LOVE the Featured Philosophy idea! I’m so excited to see people’s responses.

    I agree with what you said about competing with yourself. When I started photography, I had no idea what people are doing, I didn’t know what was possible, and I wasn’t worried about what people might think. Your workshop gave me the push I needed to start being creative, and since then it’s been an outlet for me.
    I’ll admit that I did get into a competitive mindset a few months ago, I had so much happening all at once and more and more people were finding my work and I thought I had to do better and better, or they’ll forget about me. That was exhausting. Now I’m back to doing simpler stuff and it makes me happy. I realize now that people liked my work and were able to relate to it because I was sincere and raw. Getting into a competitive mindset means doing work just to please others, and that would take away the main reason people like my work.
    (I hope that makes sense haha)

  12. Hello,
    First thanks for describing your thoughts and processes, it’s really insightful!
    To find motivation, I decided to start a series on a topic that “talked” to me: nightmares ( It allowed me to meet different peoples, try different things, learn techniques, be more precise etc. I’m gonna try to continue it for a few months, see where it will go. That’s the motivating and interesting part of it: creating, meeting and learning. However I have a question regarding your #1. For now I fail to invite others, to share with them or to create the inspiration to others, meaning I create the picture and that’s generally the end of it. So how do you overcome that, or have a “better” / more open state of mind perhaps?

  13. Hey Brooke!!
    I’m Brooke and I’m 14 years old and you inspire me to improve with my photography. Right now I’m in photography (don’t worry we have a sub so I’m not skipping out on learning) and we have the option to work on our photography projects on photographers that inspire us. I of course thought of you first and I thought you should know since you truly inspire me. I knew from the second I picked up the camera that’s what I wanted to do with my life. My plan is to be a teacher and a photographer because that is my dream. I always read your blog and watch your videos. I found you a while ago while looking up Brooke’s photography to see if my Facebook page came up, but I found your page instead and the I found your blog with I LOVE!! I just wanted to let you know, sorry this has nothing to do with the post I just had to tell you :). Hopefully you get this because I know you try to stay away from using your phone too much. Anyway thanks so much for inspiring me!!
    -Brooke k

  14. ahhhhh! yes, relevant and on point.

    Competition – have dealt with this a lot. I have thrown spiteful competition with others to the side. I always started to feel ugly inside when I had nasty thoughts about so and so and so and so and this and that. It just does not have longevity to fight and compete with each other. The only competition now is me using myself as a pushing point. What am I trying to say? How can I say it differently, yet still on point? When I observe someone’s thoughts or sharings I dig deep within myself to that relevance as it happens.

    I had someone come up to me during a job and throw a lot of things we would call ‘newbie’ phrases. The 2nd thing out of their mouth was “well u probably don’t want to talk to me because I am your competition”. I stopped them there. We all need to be family and pull for each other and help each other. I just hate that our first inclination to ‘get ahead’ is to step on everyone and then kick them to the curb. I hope, if anything, we can learn to be competitive within ourselves to GIVE more than ever before. Give creatively, give of yourself and help others find their dreams. In this race – WE are the winners already. We’re ON the path, we’re running and walking towards goals and dreams. That in itself is huge! Don’t be like me where I waited 10 years to even use my gifts because I didn’t believe it was possible.

    The biggest motivational tool (for me) is just realizing you were meant for more. You art and story is meant for more to bring people to awareness of life beyond their own sphere. Photography and the arts helps you time-travel and experience sensations you would not normally encourage every other day. Learn to see the small things inside the big things. Where is this taking us all? How does my life story start to connect the dots?

    Life’s gonna get really interesting in 2015 – so dream big!!!! <3

  15. This post could not have come at a better time in my life.

    Four years ago I was forced, economically, to take my first ever full time position. Luckily, I thought, it was in video production ( I do both stills and video). The job is 100 miles away from my home. I spend 4 days a week away from my wife and sons. The work is sparse and uninspiring. The corporate culture is far from ideal for any creative. And I could no longer service the few clients I had left from afar. Three years of my life were spent in a funk. Motivation gone.

    About 4 months ago, my wife told me to quit. While her job can in no means support the 4 of us, we would not starve. So we made a plan. Six months to quit. The thought of freedom to pursue not only my personal work, but the work of those who appreciate me as an artist, is motivating.

    So, what was my path to be? As a commercial shooter for both stills and video, I joined the local Chamber of Commerce. It turned out that this organization is a group of people passionate about what they do for a living. Passionate about THEIR path. This infused a boost of energy into my pursuit of passion.

    Next on my path was to make a concentrated effort to document my path. As it turns out, sharing what you are doing is quite motivating to keep moving forward when you start to see the body of “behind the scenes” work that is happening.

    I also created a morning routine that allows me to get my creative energy satisfied before my business energy. Not only do I get something creative done every day, the energy and confidence gained from constant creation caries over into how I approach potential clients, how I write proposals, and how people respond to my presentations.

    In just 4 months, my phone is ringing. The referrals are coming in. The energy put forth to learn about other businesses in the chamber, or to share my knowledge and experience with others is starting to make its rounds. And while I still have 2 months to go before the “big day”, my motivation is returned. I have been made aware by the universe that my value as an artist is real, that I matter.

    And that is the largest motivation of all. I look forward to reading all the comments on here. Perhaps we need a facebook page to keep this conversation moving? It’s a great topic and deserves respect.

    Again, thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Robert! I absolutely loved your response and hearing your personal story, so I featured you on the “Featured Philosophy” section of my blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

  16. I think self-motivation is a tricky area. It becomes simpler when it’s in the context of other people. I am not a competitive person, and find left to my own devices motivation is difficult. But instead I am the mostly motivated when I feel I am supporting others in their goals. To me competition can produce results, but also can be self-destructive in nature. This maybe why so many artists struggle with motivation, since without a driver to compete, you are left with the strength of your own purpose to continue. This is when you need to look for that other person or people, which makes the effort meaningful and significant. Well, this was what I was thinking.

  17. For me, motivation comes when I am true to myself. Let’s face it, there are a lot of great photographers out there, but when I compare myself to them, I feel discouraged and lose motivation, for how can I ever reach their level? I get distracted from my own journey. But recently I started thinking about what it is that makes me happy…what kind of images am I passionate about? What makes my vision unique? I started looking at my older photos, and there was a lot I liked. So, I started reworking it with newly learned photoshop skills. And as I gather them together, I understand how I see differently from others.
    Sometimes in order to move forward you have to get back to your roots.

  18. I loved this blog post and have been a fan of your work for a long time now.
    For me, my problem is trying to decide on my style or which genre of photography I want to specialize in creatively.
    Of course, we all have our paid jobs that pay the bills but my creative side goes from levitation to straight head shots to art nude… and everywhere in between.
    I notice that your images really have a style, immediately I can tell oh that is Brooke Shaden’s image.. I don’t think I really have that yet and if I do, I don’t think I’m happy with it.
    so my question is about style 🙂
    Hope you have a great week and looking forward to your next blog x

  19. Brooke, I just wanted to stop by and thank you for all your blogposts! Although I do not comment very often (mostly because at least one of the wonderful people who comment already say what I wish to say and sometimes all I want to say is “Wow, thank you, let me think about this a little longer”) I still read it every week (and inbetween if you post more), I let it sit with me, I read it again, I think about it, allow it to inspire me and it enlightens me every time!
    So this is a collective huge THANK YOU for each and every one of your blog posts as well as the wonderful space you have created here – because I also read the wonderful comments and those add up to the power of your blog! Also I have discovered some other wonderful artists here, so thank you, thank you, thank you again and again!

  20. When I create art I always put into mind that I am doing this to express my inner self, my thoughts, ideas and feelings. I do not think of what others may say to what I am doing I just keep on going and doing what I love to do. I do not like competing with other artists out there, it creates a gap among us. In some cases I experienced it comes to a point that other people say something not good to what other people do and for me that is not good and so negative. We are all here to exchange ideas, inspire and motivate one another not only in the field of art but LIFE itself. Competition to me is something that we should avoid. If there is one person to compete against, that would be YOURSELF.

  21. “There is only one way to complete your dreams: The way that feels most natural to you.” For me, this is one of the best quotes I have ever read. I am always asking myself “Am I doing this right?” when it comes to following my dreams. If it hasn’t happened yet and people question me and say maybe I should change course I start to question myself. This quote feels so right to me and takes a weight off my shoulders. Bless you

  22. I have enjoyed viewing your photography and reading your philosophy. I especially identify with tip #2. My wife and I met in High School. Last week we celebrated our 46 anniversary, we now have 12 children and 46 grandchildren. I want to (even though I’m an old guy) learn more about photography and how to create expressions of my own thoughts and feeling through that medium. I look forward to learning lots from you.
    Your friend Mike Johansen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *