What happens to anything you give away for free? The recipient comes to mistake its value. You must begin in your own beliefs and actions that art is imminently valuable because of what it creates in ourselves and our community – joy, escape, enlightenment, passion, connection – things that pretty much aren’t for sale anywhere else.
I’m all for saving money, but I think we’ve gotten out of hand in the way we disrespect the value of art. When we stream music or movies and read book summaries on wikipedia, the artist always loses. They’re getting paid pennies, or nothing, for their time, creativity, talent and labour. We would never suggest the same model for iPhones or Pottery Barn furniture. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to change the way we treat artistic work. Just because it is an expression doesn’t mean it should be free.
So many get all ruffled at the concept that creativity shouldn’t have a price tag. That’s not the point. Artistry should be a legitimate full-time career. I’m not suggesting state sponsorship or patronage – I also believe we should be prepared to compete, to market, to sell and to ensure that our career is sustainable. But all of that beings with a shift in attitude. It starts with us. With you. Commit to buying a CD or an item from the merch table. Buy a print or a hand-made greeting card or artisanal furniture. Pay a fair price for a professional photographer, attend local performances. Whatever you can, put your support behind artists with actual dollars.
That will perpetuate the attitude that art is worth buying, and artistry is a career worth pursuing. It will allow a talented artist to live another day before succumbing to sameness and getting a day job. Do this and someone will be inspired to build something – maybe a startup or an app or a new model for monetizing art. I personally feel like I’m running out of stuff to buy. Everyone around me says they don’t want stuff, they want experiences…..well, here you go.
Reflect on the people who inspired you. Especially the people who created something truly new. They had some kind of philosophy, some way of looking at things that was inherently different than everyone else.
People who change the game draw their own lines in the sand. They are not content to repeat and promote the thoughts, ideas and designs of others. They are, at first, radical; and they know that acceptance will be slow to come. When it does, it means that they have successfully made change.
How do you become someone with that much certainty, drive, and fearlessness? It’s easier than you think.
You must constantly be experiencing, thinking, examining, writing and reviewing. Live life open to new experiences. Say yes. Be present and observe where you are. And write it all down. Write for the wastebasket. But review it often, because your world view will emerge from the patterns and repetitions….what has been lingering subconsciously may surprise you.
Each of us has our contribution to make. So few of us make the time and the commitment to do it….
For those who look to making a living as an artist, generating new and good qualitiy ideas consistently can be challenging. This, essentially, is the hard work of being a creative (along with all the things you DON’T wan’t to do like accounting and marketing, perhaps), but if you really want to love what you do, we have to re-frame how we think about the creative act.
Maybe we have a lot of fear and uncertainty around it. What if my ideas suck? What if I sit down to create and nothing comes? Does that make me an imposter?
I understand. What will really help make creativity more natural, and therefore far less difficult and fearful, is to habitualize the acts that make creativity happen. Anything that surrounds you with inspiration – novelty, inspiring people and places, inspiring art or performance, or even stories about successful people – is good. Find what sources work well for you (for me its going to a live show or meeting other creative people) and carve out time to have a little bit of it every day.
You also have to be ready to capture inspiration in a way that is easy and supportive of your working style. Technology can definitely help with that.
However you get inspired and however you choose to capture that inspiration, what matters is making it habitual. Once it becomes a habit, you don’t have to think about ‘commencing the creative act’ which is where all the fear and uncertainty is coiled up waiting to pounce. LIke driving a car, all of the complex, seemingly life-altering tasks become automatic.
This week, we discuss the tips, tools and techniques for building the inspiration habit.
Too often I hear people remark that they are stuck, helpless, not in the driver’s seat. They talk about life as though its something that happens TO them. They talk about people who have the lives they wish THEY had, and have elaborate theories about why others have it, and they don’t.
The truth is…there is no difference. You are not stuck. Nothing is happening TO you. You are choosing, in obvious or subtle ways, almost everything that is happening to you. Of course there are external events that you don’t control, but you still get to decide how those events affect or even define you.
Pay close attention to the scripts and lines you run in your head as you go through your daily life. Can you catch yourself making excuses….for why its ok to procrastinate on your dreams for another day, another week? Why you’re not living the life you want? Why you’re not happy, or fulfilled?
Here’s the hard truth. Nothing – NOTHING – will get better…NOTHING will ever be different – until you choose differently. This takes mindset change and tremendous discipline and attention in order to implement. But if you are willing to do it….everything and anything can happen for you.
There is something about our beliefs, more so as the rate of technology change seems to increase the rate of consumption and decrease the extent to which we are truly free from external influence, that makes us scared to miss out. Miss out on stuff, miss out on events, miss out on opportunities.
We believe, then, that we should hoard our time, energy and money because to do otherwise threatens our safety and survival.
I’m a big supporter of being conservative and protective of one’s resources, but it is very important to change your mindset of scarcity into one of abundance. When you see opportunities as limited, you will chase the wrong ones because it seems wiser than being without any at all. When you believe that money is hard to make, you are unable to make moves and take risks when the time is right. When you believe that your energy and time are finite, you can become uncharitable, inaccessible.
If you believe instead that these resources are abundant, you learn to stop thinking about what you could lose in every interaction – whether its the good opinion of others, a great job opportunity, or actual dollars – and you become a truly free person.
Thank you for tuning in this year and being part of a very unique and growing tribe. I hope you find this information inspiring and useful, and I look forward to serving you all in 2018.
Wishing you a very happy holiday season,
It doesn’t matter whether you subscribe to a religion, a philosophy, read self-help and business books or just model your idols, there are only a few things that successful people believe and do.
There are thousands of different ways to summarize it, frame it, and say it, and that’s why theres steady flow of new books to read and programs to buy into each year.
You don’t need to take expensive courses, or go to prestigious schools to learn them. They are far simpler than anyone wants you to know.
If I tell them to you, there are a few conditions. 1) You will believe it before you can see it. Losing weight or learning the saxophone takes time and effort. So does this. Which brings me to 2) You’ll put in the work. You can’t half-ass it. 3) These are fundamentals. They will continue to serve you in different aspects of your life. They might help you with your business at first, but eventually these principles apply to health, relationships, learning and beyond. Actively seek ways to apply these fundamentals to new contexts.
I will go into detail about each one in future episodes, but for now I want to introduce you to the six keys that can make anyone successful at anything.
Obstacles. You can observe or listen to people intimately or casually and, if you’re able to remove yourself from the conversation, you’ll find that a lot of what passes for talking is really a lot of complaining and moaning. People talk about where they are and why they can’t be happy, why they can’t have the life they want – and the reason is always something or someone else. Some circumstance. Life is something that is done to them.
Sometimes life truly sucks. Big mistakes, huge regrets, devastation, sickness, misfortune, and death are part of life. We are not always in control of what happens, and sometimes what happens is really bad. There are two big things we must learn to do: 1) Separate the Really Bad from the unpleasant, because they are very different. A little perspective can be really powerful. 2) While it is important to grieve, and OK to be afraid sometimes, at a certain point we have to get past our challenges, and viewing them as opportunities to fix gaps, improve, focus on what matters or just becoming a little more resilient can teach us to welcome challenges rather than fear, bemoan or dwell on them. This is where most people get stuck – in ‘poor me’ land.
If you look for reasons why you can’t be successful – or even why you can’t be just happy – you’re sure to find them. Obstacles are not your problem. And in any case, obstacles are coming whether you want them to or not. People will hurt you or cheat you, love and life comes and goes. Your ability to survive challenges is 100% rooted in how you view them.