Periods of transition in life are often camouflaged as hardship along the road towards self-actualization, and are manifested through the breaking and resetting of faith or perspective, until a plateau is reached, preceding the next breaking and reset. The pathway of artists naturally lends itself to the breaking and resetting process through the familiar ups and downs of the creative professional path, such as: rejection, financial challenges, industry downturns and professional betrayal. The ability to endure these transitionary periods of breaking and resetting is often attributed to an inner tenacity fostered through a perseverant mindset and thoughtlife—however, one of the most critical factors in navigating periods of transition as an artist is the quality of their environment—particularly the character of the people within them.
An artist's social network can prove either instrumental or detrimental to an artist's productivity in its influence towards embracing endurance versus settling into apathy or self-harm. When surrounded by colleagues, associates, friends and family with integrity, who are supportive, non-competitive, confident and passionate about their individual paths, an artist has room to rise in their craft, buoyed by the goodwill of their environment during times of adversity. Conversely, when creatives find themselves in relationship with cynics and untrustworthy associates, who are enveloped by jealousy, greed and insecurity, it leaves them open to sabotage by those same associates and distracted in times of tumult--constantly looking over their shoulder, with waning hope and perspective to successfully see their way forward.
Within scripture, there is an advisory within the Psalms that stresses the importance of environment and relationships, in relation to the ability to thrive and endure—essentially outlining the benefits of curtailing negative influences within social and professional circles:
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
When artists and creatives cultivate a social network of supportive, confident people of moral character, they ultimately create an environment that is conducive to their creative health through every level of upheaval and transition. Eventually, they become like a tree planted near streams of creative wealth, growth, strength and innovation, that have the potential over time to evolve into multiple streams of income and opportunities.
Rapper, poet and Pulitzer Prize winner, Kendrick Lamar previously shared his thoughts during interviews on the importance of environment and his social network:
“The best thing is to always keep honest people around, because when you have a bunch of yes men around that know you're making a mistake but let you go on with it, that's when it ruins your mind state as an artist.”
“At the end of the day, you want to always, always have real people around you, period. Whether it's male or female, and everybody that's been around me, they've been around since day one. I always show respect when respect has been given, and people that have been by your side, you're supposed to honor that.”
Throughout the careers of artists and creatives—particularly during times of transition—relationships can prove critical in an artist's productivity, success and evolution.