How to “Perceive” Yourself Successful as an Artist


How you “perceive” yourself is the key to creating the life of your dreams. As there is no discernible difference in our brains to what is real and what we “perceive” to be real, we can often create immediate and dramatic breakthroughs in our life.

There are times in everyone’s life, I dare to say, that seem effortless, that everything is just seemingly happening perfectly, that whatever circumstance is happening, whether it be a phone call or a new contract or new show, it is welcomed with open arms.

But what about those other times, when things are not going so smoothly when there is more rent than money at the end of the month, when you are “stuck” creatively, when you can’t seem to fight your way out of a paper bag? How do you (or should you) archive these things mentally?

The answer is really perception. I have been reading the famous hypnotherapist Lindsay Brady’s book, As the Pendulum Swings (see link at end of post). It’s all about the mind-brain connection. How perceptions are sent to the brain. And how those perceptions drive our behavior.

It’s remarkable how this works and how we have much more control than we think. Here’s an example. Say you win the lottery. You read the numbers in the paper and realize you just won 9 million dollars. You are off the scale in happy hysteria. You immediately start fantasizing all the things you’ll buy, the Jag, the mansion, the pool, and on and on.

Then, suddenly, out of the blue, you receive a call from the state lottery agent informing you there was an error in reporting those numbers. You didn’t win after all. From the heights of crazy joy to back in the boring doldrums of every day life.

So what happened here. You mind “perceived” you had all this money but in actuality you had none. How could it be about the money? You didn’t have any (yet). You just perceived you had it.

It’s like the famous example of a snake you see curled up at night, ready to strike and inject you with poisonous venom, then when you get closer you realize it’s a just a piece of rope. For a while that snake was “perceived” as real. There was no doubt in your mind it wasn’t real.

The circumstance was the same. It was just a piece of rope lying on a desert floor. But it was perceived differently. So the perception of anything is what really drives your thoughts, feelings and ultimately, your actions (or behaviors)

Behavior always flows from perception. And the good news is that I can alter my perception. Circumstances can be anything under the sun. I can keep shifting my perception(s) of that circumstance until it’s in alignment with my goals – where I want to go.

Say your “down” because you are barely scraping by in your art business. If we follow our line of thought that perceptions alters behavior then we have made a logical mistake. We think the “cause” of our lack of business is attributed to outer-world circumstances. It probably would be more accurate to say: “I’m depressed because I’m forming a perception that this is bad.”

We need to b e very aware of this. That is, thinking we perceive this circumstance as bad, this circumstance as good, this one as ok. We can end up flip-flopping all day based on our current perceptions.

How about “creating” some new ones. I say creating because it IS an act of creation to form new perceptions about yourself and what you want. I challenge you now to create new perceptions about yourself. New perceptions of yourself as a successful artist. As an artist who is now finically successful. As an artist who sells more work than they have.

Heres a few suggestions that Mr. Brady recommends in creating new perceptional patterns.

1. “Perceive” yourself as _________ “with” your mind – These words are very important. Mr. Brady mentioned he went through all sorts of word deviations. Words like “picture” or “see” or “visualize” or “imagine”. And the other big switch was from “in” your mind to “with your mind. This can mean, ultimately, different things for different people. How ever you “see” yourself as XXXX, whether it is mental images, or a type of feeling or something else, than that is your reality and it will drive your behavior.

2. Repetition is key – You need to perceive yourself as XXXX on a regular basis. You really are creating new neural path ways. As Mr. Brady says, “The imprints, grooves, furrows and eventually ruts are neural pathways that are strengthened with each use of that pathway and that, with repetition, become so strong they become habitual way of behaving, thinking and believing”

And further, “It appears that by creating a clear perception in the mind of a client, thus creating a new neural pathway, the resulting behavior can be immediate.”

Keep in mind, this can happen in an instant. In a moment. And it has. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long process.

3. Perceive yourself being _______________ “Now” – Perceive yourself “in this minute” as being XXXX. Your are being “a successful artist who sells all your work and profits greatly from it.” Keep in mind, that “in this minute or moment” you are one who behaves as a successful artist and the next minute the same, etc. Life is a series of “moments” so if you have awareness in this moment you will begin to perceive yourself differently in this moment.

4. See the “end result” of your project – It’s not necessarily the perception of the “behavior” that causes the change but rather a perception of the end result. New neural patterns can be established that produce the behaviors that lead to the end result benefits of whatever you are trying to perceive differently. You don’t need to know how neural patterns are created, just know that it’s the end result of the “perception” that caused the behavior, that produced the end result.

Mr. Brady sums this up perfectly, “Since the brain cannot distinguish the difference between a real experience and one that is perceived to be real the the process of establishing new neural pathways (hence a new behavior) is to simply create new perceptions.”

Get the book here: As the Pendulum Swings by Lindsay Brady

Image above:
“The Journey of the Magi (fragment)” ca. 1435
Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni)
Tempera and gold on wood,
8 1/2 x 11 3/4 in. (21.6 x 29.8 cm)
Maitland F. Griggs Collection

2 Responses for “How to “Perceive” Yourself Successful as an Artist”

  1. Joyce Wynes says:

    Really liked your article on perceiving your success as an artist. It is right on the mark.

  2. doug says:

    Thank you very much Joyce. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

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