There are a few sub-themes to which I follow in order to maintain happiness. However, my overarching theme is this:

Happiness is sustained fulfillment.
Fulfillment is born out of creating art.

What does that mean? How do I achieve this baseline?

  1. Create art.
  2. Be authentic.
  3. Travel and have new experiences.
  4. Solid relationships: friends/family.
  5. Peace where I live.

Being authentic.

I believe in being 100% authentic. The person that I am at work is who I am at home and amongst my friends. What you see is what you get.

After observation, some folks in life learn to conceal genuine thoughts and feelings, which can be an aspect of insecurity. A breakdown in communication sure, but they are trying to protect themselves. When encountering someone who is authentic, it can be intimidating. They hide behind a veil and this exposes them.

Trying to be someone who we are not, trying to “make the right moves”, or the fear of making the wrong decision: all of those reasons hinder us from being truly authentic.

Authenticity shines light those deceptions; even the ones that we tell ourselves.

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we really are. – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

By nature, nobody wants to relinquish control. I have to remember to build off my own ideas, own my future, and give up trying to please or impress others. I have to work on my own authentic ideas. That’s what motivates me. That is an aspect of creating my art.

Get up early and work for a couple hours on the thing you really care about. When you’re done […they] can’t take your work away from you, because you already did it. – Austin Kleon

By doing a little bit, day by day, chipping away at creating my art allows me to be authentic and true to myself. This inspires me in my paid work ( aka day job ), my projects, and continues to keep myself from getting burned out over the long run.

Related reading: Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out by Marc Eckō. Really good read about being authentic. You grow through the story’s narrative as the author does. Well worth it.