The “Booster Shots”: The People Who Encourage You

If we borrow the metaphor from current pandemic, we can see that a booster is something that enhances and fortifies a positive quantity that has been given to us earlier. A booster shot strengthens the primary vaccine we have already taken. Sometimes in life, there are individuals who boost our moral, confidence, or ambitions, and these people are invaluable, because they give us that little extra dose of what we need to go forward.

Sometimes these people are professional, in an early stage of our career. The seasoned expert who sees something in the sincerity of your dreams and ambitions, who calmly assesses the actions you’ve taken and affirms you, tells you that you are on the right path. That person is invaluable, for they believe in you when others don’t and when the field you are in is fraught with challenges.

At other times, it may be someone from left field, so to speak, someone who is in a completely different area of life, but they are so fascinated by what you do and encouraging that it feels refreshing and cheerful. This person might ask, “Why not do that?” when everyone is asking why you are doing something. They might even suggest a grand idea to try out that you had never thought of before. Or when your pursuit seems complicated, and you are being given so much advice and there is so much to read up on, somebody tells you to just dowhat you are doing, without all the fuss and information overload.

There are those who advocate for simplicity, who simply say to go for it. These people will tell you the things you need to do to accomplish your goals, rather than all the ways in which your goals are difficult. They are cheerfully pragmatic, neither depressingly grim in the name of realism nor people who build castles in the sky in the name of optimism.

Something nobody tells you about aging when you are young is mindset. One of the most important and difficult things to do as we go through life is to keep a positive outlook and tune out all the cynicism and negative people around us.

Great literature and art can serve as a source of optimism during difficult times. Listening to a Tchaikovsky ballet suite can bring a sense of old-fashioned grandeur into our day. Reading some Oscar Wilde or looking at websites for tea rooms in London can bring a bit of necessary sparkle to the humdrum routine of paying bills, work, cleaning the house. These things are not simply helpful but vital to any artist or anyone who is pursuing a big goal. 

Recently, a rather arrogant individual who had no idea about the publishing industry asked me if I needed a venture capitalist to back my novel manuscript. When I reflected on it later, I felt incensed and outraged, because I realized something–I am my own venture capital! My creative work is my most important product that I have produced and am putting out there. Every artist needs to believe this, that they are their own venture capital, that their work is absolutely worthy and, most importantly, priceless.

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