There is a thought I am sure many of you freelancers have thought about while going through your journey. This thought had always come to my mind, though it is actually a thought that damages one's joy and happiness as a creative. The thought of, "I will be happy once I make it." This thought does come in many forms. "I will be so happy once I get a solid day rate." "I will be happy once I get those big clients." "I'll be happy once I work with so and so." "I'll be happy and be so much better with this or that piece of gear."
Success and happiness
The two, they aren't bonded together. "Wait! what do you mean Jared?!" I am not saying they don't make harmony. Having success does CREATE happiness. Fulfilling a goal BRINGS joy. However, it doesn't stay. Once someone reaches a goal (success) then what? They are happy they made it, but only happy then? Were they not happy getting there? What now, is that it?... In fact sometimes success leads to unhappiness. Just to share personal experience and express my personal thoughts. I have had those horrible thoughts about how unfortunate my circumstance was by only shooting small music videos and or working micro budget/ no-budget projects. The list of quotes above would wander through my head. Once I started getting bigger clients I noticed something. My same thoughts were there... They just took different shapes. You climb this big mountain to get to a certain point, you'll then stand on top of that mountain, noticing that there is one bigger just behind it. Now, new goals arise. "I am not successful until I have climb to the top of that bigger mountain.." "I will be happy once I do this or do that." Notice that in that analogy, happiness wasn't there during the hike, nor was it really there once he made it.
Success and Unhappiness
This does exist, but doesn't need to be the case... Yes, I do want to reach my career goals. All of us do. We just need to take them in the right mind. I just want to point out a thought from some filmmakers, who started getting a mass following and have become the big newcomers. I heard this from many of them. These people who work on big budgets sometimes wish they could just work on smaller gigs. Some wish they could just have a clean slate so that they can just post whatever they want on their social media rather than fear that their followers will think he/she has gone downhill by not posting something incredible, even something better than the last project. I don't doubt that they are proud to be where they are now. They just wish that with their status, they could have more freedom. I am not saying this is how it feels when one reaches that kind of success. It is just showing that even success doesn't take away problems and trials. In fact, new ones arise. We can't think that "making it..." (whatever that is) will solve our problems. It won't, it may make some problems fade, but other ones will certainly take their place.
My opinion on Key to Success and Happiness
Fortunately for me, it was early in my freelance career I realized the problem with my thoughts. I found the importance of the following: While it is good to have the mind set to always improve, it is also important to not let that mind set bring you down. Don't let your placement in your industry conflict with your personal joy doing what you love. We are to enjoy the journey of getting to reach our goals. We have a mountain to climb. We want to reach the top. Let's not complain the whole way. Let's not just stare down at our feet when hiking, going through the motions. Let's embrace the surroundings and the steps getting to the top. Just have fun with it.