Finding your yellow brick road | CLD

Finding your yellow brick road | creative life diaries

“They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.” – Paulo Coelho

The other day I found myself having a little panic moment after having a one o one moment with my thoughts. Long story short after returning from a trip I started questioning one of my biggest goals for the upcoming years and realized that it might affect other stuff and in the end, I found myself for the first time in a long time not knowing what to do. After a little introspection I was able to place myself on track again but it really was a changing moment for me. Young adulthood is scary! There I said it and I like to think everyone had this phase. I’m in a stage of life where there are a lot of decisions to make. I’m gonna be honest, I’ve always had a clear vision of what I wanted: I write goals down and I forge my path towards them by doing little tasks that help me reach them and it always worked. Of course it wasn’t always easy but between the “bumpy road” I was determinate because I knew where I wanted to end. We’ve all made big plans right? What happens when we don’t have a plan or when things don’t work the way you thought they would? What happens when we get off our yellow brick road?

I decided to address this topic because I realized it can apply to many situations: job rejection, whether or not to buy a home, choosing a city to live, hearing a bad feedback from work you submitted, not winning a competition and others. We’ve been taught to always maintain a positive attitude, to always look on the “bright side” because this are the experiences that will help us grow. And it’s true. But untill we reach that moment where “one day we’ll make a joke about it” it’s important to acknowledge the sentiments that particular situation is bringing: sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, etc. Quoting Kenzie from helloneverland on the subject:

“Don’t rush into adopting a positive attitude about it. First, take some time to let yourself be sad. Mourn your losses, real or perceived. Acknowledge what will never be. Really examine the way your life has changed and the way it must change in the future. If those changes upset you, feel that pain. Cry. Scream. Rage. Give yourself over to the pain, if only for a little while. You can be positive later. It’s OK. Sad is OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Be sad when you need to, you’ll be that much stronger for it.

Of course it all depends on the situation and each person has it own way of dealing with this events. Taking the example of the last month competition I’ll use the opportunity to give my two scents on the subject. We’ve been taught since little to grab every opportunity we can if we think that in the end it will be worth the time we put on it but what people didn’t told us was how to process, accept and use the information given to us when the turn out of events don’t go as we planned. Using the competitions example, this year only I applied for a few competitions and in all I gave my best as usual but in all of them I didn’t got the answer I wanted. There was a particular one that involved illustrating a children’s book that I was really confident about my submission and when I saw the winning design I started questioning what I’ve done wrong and why it didn’t got picked. I weren’t able to ask for feedback so I tried to turn the situation for the better. There’s a technique (should i call it a technique? ahah) I learned to use daily that helps me cope with stress and stuff related. Whenever I’m having one of those mornings that everything seems to be working against me I start picking the “good picks out of the whole harvest”: “Well…at least I didn’t miss the bus”, “And it’s not warm.. thank god for the cold breeze”,”I had time to prepare a decent lunch this morning” and so on.

Anyway my point is, we have all the right of being sad, a little angry perhaps with the results but the success of the whole experience is not measured by that result but how we felt and feel with the whole experience. Don’t ever think your dreams aren’t valid. Quoting Julie Wienen, “How others react to it is not the measure. How you felt creating it is.” This could apply to both your work and plans you made for your dreams come true so don’t ever dough or question your work, you did it that way because it felt right in that moment, you should be proud because you gave your best and if it’s not now, your time will come too. The experience will make you grow and get stronger and eventually success will follow through.

So, what happens when we don’t have a plan or when things don’t go according to the plan?

My answer? Embrace it. Feel it and when you feel ready to face it be real with yourself and choose a path that will make you feel confident with your choices and dreams. Your plans didn’t work out? Make new plans with what you’ve got right now and hopefully you’ll be able to find your yellow brick road once again.

(photo – ZARA)

I’m curious to see how other people deal with this situations. Have you found yourself without a plan? If yes, what did you do? What are your thoughts on the subject?



  1. Nice post, Sofia! I agree, it’s important to allow ourselves to feel our feelings for a short while before picking ourselves up and moving forward. If we don’t, they’ll come up later.

  2. ehh, tough question!! I happen to not be a very plan-making person so having a plan is my natural state, haha. I have a general idea of the direction I want to go in, but I’m very flexible in changing approaches mid-flow and that’s served me well over the years. If one thing doesn’t work I find it pretty easy to just say alright, we’ll scrap that and try something else. On the subject of things not going your way, like not winning competitions, that always hurts a little. Ok, not so little sometimes. And it does make you question yourself – and it should, in some way. I don’t think we should always coddle ourselves and say ‘awww the important thing is that I’m happy with it.’ If we’re making stuff to sell, the important thing is to figure out why the buyer didn’t like it. That doesn’t mean we should be hard on ourselves though. I see artists lose a competition and then cut their piece apart, saying things like ‘of course I didn’t win, I did this wrong, I did that wrong, my colors are horrible, my execution is sloppy’ and I think that’s destructive. If you felt good about your piece don’t start hating it because some panel of judges looking for who-knows-what didn’t fall in love with it. But do ask yourself why it wasn’t a fit. Did they want a different style? Was it the wrong market for that design? Too edgy, too conservative? Getting a better grasp on what works where helps you grow as an artist, and helps you analyze your work without being hard on yourself. There’s no good art and bad art, there’s just the right art and the wrong art for any given opportunity. And that’s a comforting thought :)

    1. Oh how I envy you on this part “If one thing doesn’t work I find it pretty easy to just say alright, we’ll scrap that and try something else.” Sometimes I find it really difficult to just throw things aside and try to come up with a new perspective but I guess over the years people just build up and learn to deal with this situations.
      Regarding the competitions matter I agree with you, artists loosing faith on their art after hearing a negative comment about them or not being picked. If it felt right that moment we should remain proud of our piece and try to see it “with other eyes” in hope of understanding what is that we can do to make it better and more appealing to the buyer and/or company without changing the essence of our style.
      Thank you for that final thought, completely agree and second it (need to add it to my walls as motivation!!) :)

      1. :D !!

        I think it gets easier as you get older. You just start to realize there’s no point forcing something that isn’t working when you could be focusing on something else that is. Not to say I don’t still have ‘ARRRGH’ moments :)

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