The Constant Hustle

The Constant Hustle

The constant hustle of the industry.

The constant nagging to be more.

The competition and comparisons and the way self-worth turns into public perception.

Wouldn’t it be better for our craft if we didn’t focus on such absurd intangibles?

The push to be better, try harder, and find more busy work is deafening. It will break us if we try to lift that responsibility. There is no glory in creating and becoming for the sake of creating more and becoming more. There is no happiness in living up to someone else’s dream.

I can’t help but fundamentally reject the constant boosting of ego to blend in with the “in” crowd, or the desire for more “likes” and “faves” and “retweets” so that more people may see us…for often that is all this mad dash truly is – the waving of our arms so that someone notices, when the only person who needs to notice is the one that dwells within.

Self-worth and self-respect aren’t rewarded as highly as self-promotion and self-gratification. And I believe the fundamental problem with the desire to be more is a simple misunderstanding: we are already more than we give ourselves credit for. We don’t need a stranger to tell us our worth.

The dreams we have today will be the examples of tomorrow. Believe that your dream is worth living in your own way.


41 thoughts on “The Constant Hustle

    1. The thanks goes to you Brooke.

      While the quest for likes and exposures is not the goal, I know the acknowledgement that your message is being “heard” can be self motivating.

      None of us like to shout into the chaos. Your talent and willingness to share allows you to whisper instead of shout and still reach more people with your message.

      It’s to your credit in what you choose to say 🙂

      So thank you.

      (my apologies for the double post)

  1. I’m loving the purples you’re adding to your pictures lately, it looks absolutely beautiful!

    I agree with you 100%, but it’s not always easy to have that confidence and it sucks. I find myself obsessing over followers, likes, faves, etc. and I don’t like it, because deep down I know that I do what I do because it makes me happy, not to make others happy. I’m slowly working on that but thank you for writing this, thank you for the reminder.
    The last paragraph is going in my notebook! <3

    1. I am the same. And what I found out is that it doesn’t matter how many of those things you have. Either it is never enough or it is always enough, no matter what the number is. When I had one like I was desperate for 100 more. When I had a thousand likes I was desperate for 10,000 more. All of this until I realized that it is not the number of likes that matters, it is what you do with the connections you can make. How much you care about others and show them love and respect, and how much you show yourself respect by giving yourself a reminder that the only thing that matters is your personal fulfillment.

      You have an amazing journey ahead no matter who follows you on it. I’ll be there for sure.

    2. The thanks goes to you Brooke.

      While the quest for likes and exposures is not the goal, I know the acknowledgement that your message is being “heard” can be self motivating.

      None of us like to shout into the chaos. Your talent and willingness to share allows you to whisper instead of shout and still reach more people with your message.

      It’s to your credit in what you choose to say 🙂

      So thank you.

  2. Yes. This is so true. And I’m glad you’re talking about it. Sometimes we loose our confidence because we don’t get enough likes and compliments believing that no one like what we do. Or we keep comparing ourselves to others, thinking that we will never be like them. I used to do that a lot, but I’m learning how not to. Comparing yourself to others is the most effective way of killing your confidence.
    Great post. Thank you for everything Brooke.

    1. I so agree Minnie! Its easy to think that more likes will equal more confidence, when in most cases more confidence equals more followers! Strange and beautiful world 🙂

  3. “The dreams we have today will be the examples of tomorrow. Believe that your dream is worth living in your own way.”

    I totally agree with you. I love the picture. A quick respectful hug for you.

  4. As always, Brooke, your words and work are filled with wisdom and grace. May I ask about the flower beside your right forearm? I see the face of a middle-aged woman with a turban….was that intentional?

    1. Oh wow so interesting – not intended unfortunately, but so neat to see my own picture in a new way! xo

  5. As I post into your fb post, you write so much my thoughts…
    We live in the world where likes and shares matters… sometimes it is okay, but for some people that is all there is.
    Likes are nice, and getting “name” in the industry or something like that, but likes do not tell really much…
    And that constant need to be more, or to do more… that is overwhelming! But we try to do our best, and staying true to ourselves… that is the hardest part, and part what matters the most, for me.

    1. Staying true to who we are no matter what the feedback – can be difficult, but in the end, always comes back to that simple notion.

  6. We were talking about this in my church group a week or so ago. It’s something that I still struggle with – this need for validation from people. I’m working on not needing that, all the retweets and likes and such. I do think, thought, that it’s important sometimes to share the love. If you’re not feeling the “love” because of a lack of “likes” or “shares” given to you, think about who you showed “love” to.

    1. Perfectly said Melanie. I love that way of thinking and I believe it too! If you give love to others, it should be returned in some way.

  7. Brooke, I don’t know why but every time your posts are so poignant to my own current events it’s amazing.
    I won’t bore you with the “whys” but thanks for confirming my own thoughts this morning.
    I almost blew a big corporate job because I wouldn’t back down on my vision and in the end my confidence likely opened up a few bigger opportunity than was originally offered.
    Hope your morning goes as well as mine did:)

  8. I totally agree with you here Brooke. I often find myself judging my own work by the number of likes I received for that particular image and it is very easy to get caught up in that mentality. I believe it is just human nature to want people to appreciate the things that you throw your heart and soul into but what I have found (By not having many followers 🙂 is that the less followers you have, the better relationships you are able to develop with those particular people and we have developed a very uplifting base for each other and it honestly helps each one of us to grow. This becomes harder and harder when as your following increases so kind of playing off what you wrote last week, I should in fact be grateful of “less likes.” I have reached a place where I am happy with the work I produce and the message I am aiming to convey with that work and couple that with a loyal and motivating “small” following and I honestly can’t think of a better recipe for success. So thank you for posting this Brooke as it helped in putting all of this together in my mind and showing me a truth I needed to see instead of the fog I was believing. 🙂 You are great at handing out these little puzzle pieces for us to gain hope and inspiration from! You are awesome!!!

  9. Lovely work but also good insight. I jumped “out of the wagon” of pursuing comments/likes/faves about 9 months ago … now I know who are the ones that are meaningful to me and that I’m meaningful to … love this freedom, like John Lennon used to sing “I just had to let it go ” ! 🙂

  10. As a Vipassanā practitioner this one resonates with me. We are all we need right here right now. And, if we don’t feel comfortable with ourselves now…the good news is that this moment is already changing. We are so involved in “becoming” someone we forget we already “are” someone.

  11. Boy did I need to hear what you said today! Thank you. We get so caught up with what others are doing and what they think. It is time to punch that off button and refocus!

  12. This has always been the dilemma of the artist, only amplified now by technology. Gaining acceptance in different forms assures that more people see your work and can be inspired by it, but I decided long ago not to photograph professionally so as not to have to cater to others’ perceptions of beauty.

  13. Brooke, as everyone has said, thank you!!! This post came at the perfect time for me! Every day I have to remind myself to keep doing what I love, even in the face of disappointment and doubt. Again, you are a true inspiration, not only your work but even more so your person, and the way that you connect and care about the people that follow you, we appreciate you!

  14. WE dont need a stranger to tell us our worth. I love that. I needed to hear that. I just submitted my first 3 gallery submissions this week and during the final tweaking of one image I had sort of an ‘i hate this/i suck/no one will like this’ moment. the actual problem was that i had just stared at it for so long and i was of course nervous. anyways, i got past it with some help and CC on the image, some new perspectives and inspirations from the fa guild 🙂

    Love your photo above and i cannot WAIT to hear about the recent trip and when you meet your donation goal! ive been following it, you are more than halfway there!

  15. Omg brooke this is what I have been feeling lately, And I really needed a little reminding of what is most important. Thank you for this and thank you for sharing how you also feel.

  16. As a new artist I am always trying to compare myself with others. I keep thinking to myself, WHY do I do that? It hurts my creativity and passion. Thank you for reminding me how unimportant comparing myself to others is.

  17. Brooke… thanks for reminding us that others perspectives of who we are as artists/people does not shape our lives. We are in control of our artistic dreams…beauty is in the eye of the creator. Opinions are just opinions… ten people could be asked to critique something and all ten opinions could be so different. We just need to keep creating for the love of it!

  18. Miss Brooke, i’ve been following your site lately. you words are truly inspiring. it is always a dilemma on my every time i posts a photograph, i am always counting on the like and shares of my friends in fb, whether they appreciate it, sometimes i even tagged their names just to get their nod or likes. But, it shouldn’t be that way. you just opened my eyes. yes i truly agree, we don’t need a stranger to tell us our worth. Now, i began to believe that my dream is worth living on my on way… more power! inspired us more…

  19. Hi Brooke,

    Wow. I need to chat with you more!

    I was recently researching Social Capital and the work of Robert Putnam. I was stunned (as an ex-marketer/strategist) at how we as a society had perverted the idea of Social Capital.

    Social capital has become about likes, fans, followers and influence. And some have even gone so far as to say that is a reliable indicator of happiness and success. When you dig into these arguments, you find out that their sources are in the origins of the concept of social capital.

    That social capital was about caring about others and building strong communities. It was a proposed method for measuring the values and strength of a civic society.

    Our loss of reciprocity and self-value seems like an out of control feedback loop that is leading to a world where we care less about those around us. That empty feeling inside when one is frantically checking a page to see how many likes you got in the past 2 minutes.

    I’ll stop rambling now. Thank you so much. For the time at After Dark. For helping me find my tribe of crazy outsiders. For connecting me back to what really matters.


  20. You are truly an inspiration Brooke! I am trying out my first “Brooke Shaden inspired” shoot on Friday. Sooo excited about the possibilities in front of me. Thank-you so very much!!!

    Cheers, Kate.

  21. I’ve been following your work for some time now and I remember when I was first introduced to fine art portraiture photography from your first CreativeLive workshop. My eyes were opened. I had rediscovered my passion for the arts again.

    I had grown up as a painter and drawer, but gave it all up to pursuit a life as a software developer because I had given into the belief that I couldn’t ever truly be financially secure pursuing the arts. I would sacrifice what I really loved for my need for security.

    When I picked up photography in 2012 and one year later watched your first CreativeLive workshop, I knew in my heart that giving up software development was the best decision I could have ever made. Watching your first workshop was the second best decision. And the third best decision was to act on those desires.

    So it’s been over a year now, actively creating the works of art that were always in my heart from as early as I can remember, but now as photography as my medium. I have never felt more fulfilled in my life as I do nowadays. I didn’t believe it could be possible until you reminded me to believe in that internal voice which tells you it’s so.

    Coming back around to this blog post, it’s all that I have been dealing with as of lately. Because I’ve allowed myself to be true to who I am and create the works of art that I love, my plate has been overloaded. I have had the idea creeping up on me and nagging me to keep moving otherwise all my progress would be for nothing. You’re post has reminded me why I am continuing to do what I’m doing. I’m doing it for me, first and foremost, for my own fulfillment and happiness. Secondly, it’s to inspire other creatives to do what I did and be driven to pursue their passions with such disregard to anything which would compromise them.

    Thank you, I needed to be reminded. One of the most powerful things in life is that internal voice which is always guiding you towards being true to who you are and if we just learned to listen to it and trust it, we’d find that life would follow us. We would no longer have to chase after life, it would come to us.

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