This L.A. Photographer Has Some Must-Hear Advice for Aspiring Artists & Creatives

Daniel Regan is familiar with mistakes and failures, in our recent profile of the visual artist and photographer he describes being shortsighted and lacking ambition during his younger years for example. But his ability to learn from these bumps in the road has since permitted success and fearless freedom to experiment creatively.

As part of our ongoing series channeling the bold spirit of New Balance’s 574S, we previously spoke to Kelvyn Colt, a music artist that quit law school to become a rapper. Most recently, Daniel Regan retold the story of how photography turned his life around, and in our latest video, he has some advice for aspiring artists on the importance of experimentation and failure in finding the right path. Watch the video and then read below to find out what other gems he had to offer when we spent time with him in Los Angeles.

Embrace failure and learn from mistakes

It’s a cliche, but learning from mistakes is the only way they become worthwhile and something to embrace rather than fear. If we don’t fear mistakes then we reduce anxiety around potentially screwing up and allow ourselves to work more stress-free.

Some of our greatest mistakes, not just as individuals but as a society, teach us lessons that become so ingrained in our psyche that we’ll never make them, or similar errors again. It’s being able to repeatedly bounce back that proves our resolve and trial by fire builds resilience. Daniel Regan adds that while failures can help set us on the correct path, they’re equally valuable in helping avoid the wrong one, but this also requires some experimentation.

Keep experimenting with new things

Embracing failure is valuable when experimenting and looking for direction because failures and successes act as signals for what one should or shouldn’t be doing, and in what capacity. But experimenting isn’t about changing direction every month, it’s about opening oneself up to valuable new opportunities and closing the door on others. It’s about selectively freeing one’s mind to explore possibilities, rather than caging it.

“There’s no right or wrong way to get to where you’re going, you’ve just got to throw yourself in.”

Only then can we decide where to focus, but Daniel Regan recognizes that this isn’t easy, “Sticking with something is the hardest part, it’s easy to get discouraged,” he says. But by committing to learning from mistakes and continuing to experiment, it’s possible to correct course at any stage. And to avoid getting dispirited, Regan suggests having positive mentors and motivators around for encouragement and advice: “I had a lot of people that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Surround yourself with positive people and find mentors

The importance of mentors, or simply surrounding oneself with positive people, was another sentiment that Regan regularly shared during our time with him: “I really learned a lot just by surrounding myself with the right people. That’s something that I attribute to the success that I’ve had. I’ve had so many great mentors and teachers over the years.”

We’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so the adage goes. And while we all like to believe we’re individuals free from influence, it’s not hard to believe. It’s those we’re closest to that can raise us up and steer us in the right direction or drag us down and direct us off course. Our social interactions, daily activities, and opportunities are largely shaped by our social circle, and for those to be constructive, we need to be associating with positive people.

Daniel Regan described his mentors believing in him when he didn’t believe in himself and looking for the right people when facing challenges he couldn’t tackle alone. According to Regan, it’s a sign of strength rather than weakness to ask for help, “Sometimes you’ve just got to ask for help. It’s hard to do that. It’s hard for us to swallow our pride and ask for help sometimes.” He also added that it’s difficult knowing where to find help, particularly when in an adverse environment. But the message carried through a lot of his work with young people is that there are always other options available and people willing to help.

Check out Daniel Regan’s full story in our previous video and then listen to Kelvyn Colt’s advice to upcoming musicians. Find Regan on Instagram and his website website and visit newbalance.com for more on the New Balance 574S.

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