097: Your Future Self
Wherein we discuss how to design the future you, and introduce you to the future me.
We exist in the future
Only visit the present
If you isn't, you could be
Unless you ain't, then whatever
Welcome to week 97 of the Draw or Die newsletter for visual storytellers of all kinds. I posted that lyric because it reminded me of the topic I wanted to talk about this week… designing your future yourself.
Now, I’m going to discuss this based on being an artist and your future creative lifestyle. But I think it can apply to your overall life happiness outside of art too.
I guess the nuts & bolts of what I want to say is, that whoever you are today is not who you have to be in the future. Whatever circumstances you might find yourself in now, or the life you’ve lived in the past doesn’t have to dictate who you are in the near future.
I fully believe you have the ability to create and design the life you want to live in the future. I know this because I’ve done it. I came from pretty much nothing. A poor, broken, dysfunctional family. Our house didn’t have running water when I was born. I didn’t know any of that when I was a kid. Art, my imagination, was my armor. My escape. My tunnel vision.
I don’t want to call these “simple steps”, they can be hard to do. It can be some tough stuff to get through, but in order to achieve the mission to become the future you must follow the steps, maybe in no particular order:
Item: Know what the f#ck you want. Don’t listen to anybody else about it.
Ask yourself, in your ideal world, your creative life future, what would your day-to-day look like?
It was never logical to anyone else for me to say I all I wanted to do all day was wake up and draw comic strips all day. But here I am. The only time life felt “bad” to me or didn’t really work out was when I let the pressure from the world around me throw me off course. You follow this narrative laid out by someone else but it’s not for you.
Ever feel like that? Life can really throw you off track when you listen to all the other voices around you. Highly suggest you read The War on Art by Steve Pressfield.
Item: NEVER give up on it… keep it fresh in your mind.
If it’s matter of money or circumstance blocking you from becoming your future self, no worries. Keep the visualization of what you and your day looks like in the future fresh in your mind.
When you lay down for bed at night, visualize that future you. This is the perfect time to do this. Close your eyes, forget the shitty things you’re dealing with. Picture that future you, rising above those things. What is future-you doing? Draw it in your mind. Study it. Every night.
Item: The Litmus Test… removing people & circumstances that don’t serve the future-self.
Cut out bad friends and family like a cancer. You don’t have to disown them, but you can go far far away from them. And this process isn’t instant. It can take time.
I had to ditch my “best-friend” ages ago. I knew deep down he was just dragging me down. I had a noticeable difference in how I felt after he was round, and it felt shitty. His negativity and cynical BS rubbed off on me.
I had to leave an abusive relationship after 16 years. It was hard on my kids. It was hard on me. But I had to do it. For me. And for my future self.
Think about that. The ME right now was my future self back then.
I’d like to thank my past self right now. I wouldn’t be right here had it not for taking those steps.
So that’s the litmus test. If you have someone or some situation in your life right now that’s giving you a bad vibe deep down, that’s a signal. A sign that your inner-self is giving you that you’re not on the path to being who you really want to be deep down inside.
Item: Exercise- Create Your Future self.
Let’s do this together. I’ll show you mine in a bit, you don’t have to show yours to anyone else. But you MUST write it out. That’s the rule. On paper is best.
I want you to know that I’ve done this in the past and I am now living almost the exact life I wrote down.
Here’s the exercise I wrote in January 2013 after I had moved into my own apartment after leaving my marriage. It seemed incredibly impossible, but i did the exercise anyways. :
“I wake up every day in a house I own, with a wife I love and who loves me. My sons are healthy and happy. My “job” is making comics and art all day and it doesn’t feel like a job. I make more money than I ever did in my life, or maybe anyone I know in my immediate family. I don’t have to worry about much at all. I’m in good health and getting healthier every day. My work is respected by my peers and helps the world in some way beyond just entertainment.”
Okay, so… 11 years later, I’m almost living that exact life. I could probably be a little healthier. I didn’t put a date on it. I should have. All of those things came slowly over that decade. Now I know it comes faster if you put dates down. It’s weird, but it somehow works.
Picture what your best day ever looks like…
5 or 10 years from now waking up in the morning. Where are you waking up? Your own house? Is someone waking up with you? Are you alone?
What is that state of your friends and family, and world around you?
What is your job? Do you work for someone else still? Are you a full-time artist?
Any other details of your day-to-day. Picture a full-day, living your best life ever.
OKAY, Now Here’s the FUTURE ME…
I’m just going to write this off the cuff. I’m 48 right now. I’m gonna say 5 years from now, this is my life.…
“I wake up every day feeling refreshed and looking forward to the creative work I’ll do that day. I’m healthy and full of physical and creative energy. My passion continues to be furthering cartooning and comics. I’m in the 5th year of a planned 20 years working on a daily comic strip at VeeFriends that has helped to build the IP into many more things that I’m involved with in some capacity.
I’m okay with waking up in different cities, I can do my work from anywhere and this gives my wife and I the ability to travel and adventure together before we get “too old”.
Draw or Die has a best-selling book, game and app that millions of people play every day and puts tons of more art into the world. (stay tuned. :D)
I get paid to speak at different conferences, organizations and groups and run some hands-on workshops and demonstrations.
We’re debt free, independently wealthy, but stay humble. We only use money to live a better life and help the world around us.
How’s that for really putting it out there? Let’s check back in 5 years and see how it goes.
Now… listen, it’s okay to go big and bold here. Why not! This is the FUTURE YOU. Not today you. If I sat and worried about how it’s impossible how I’ll have a best-selling app, I never would even write it down. If I worried that some people reading this might think I was pipe-dreaming or some maybe even spiteful at me… I’d never get anywhere.
I have a feeling and an idea deep down that I believe in. I believe all of those things above. I can see them happening. That’s what I will visualize when I go to bed at night.
Now it’s YOUR turn.
Go write your future life. Dream big. Be bold… fuck what everyone else thinks.
🔥Community Comic Challenge!
Our collab comic works like this… I draw a panel, then you submit your panels in the Discord, then I draw a panel… so on and so forth. Here’s what we have so far!
The story so far… Skully has a day off and wants to go draw all day… but ART BLOCK stands in their way!
✏️☠️♣️ HEY! Join the DAILY DRAWING CLUB!!!
Support the club with five bucks a month and get some nice perks including a quarterly sticker, daily prompts and more. CHECK IT OUT HERE!
Back to the drawing board for me! Gotta build that future me!