If you wish in this world to advance,
Your merits you’re bound to enhance;
You must stir it and stump it
And blow your own trumpet,
Or trust me, you haven’t a chance.
-William Schwenck Gilbert
Do we create in order to be visible or do we create in order to be valuable? Do we want to succeed primarily out of a need to impress others, gain celebrity and public acclaim – or do we create because what we do is our passion; it is who we are?
It is best to pursue our creative aspirations because of an intrinsic, gnawing, relentless drive to do so – a desire to contribute something we truly believe has value – something of which we are proud. We believe that our creative enterprise is enduring and worthwhile. Our measure of ourselves and our creativity is internally based and not reliant on public visibility or on the opinions of others.
Even though success is seldom a guarantee, that lack of certainty should not present an obstacle to continuing along the creative path or paths we have chosen. Even more than public recognition (which at times, can be self-affirming) truly creative people derive joy and satisfaction from doing work that is meaningful to them – work that is fulfilling and often, in fact, a calling.
All too often, there is confusion about whose image is best, rather than about being excellent at what we do and creating something of substance. The heady joy experienced by Spunktaneous of THE WORLD OF GLIMPSE, when “chosen”, is spontaneous and infectious, and understandable for someone who has still much to learn. Eventually, he will mature into realizing that true creative quality is not about impressing others. Instead, it is about perfecting what we do, being self-challenging and committed to improvement. Being valuable is far more important than being visible.
Great Blog Ellen. So many times we look at success as monetary, not what it can do for the individual. If we lived in a world where you couldn’t fail, can you just imagine what expressions of creativity would come forth?
Thank you, Eric. I agree with your comment that all too often, people perceive monetary success as a reflection that someone has “made it”. It is nice to have financial security, of course, but what really impresses me is the intrinsic desire of some people to contribute something of significance to society as a whole – and to the world. True artists, for example, do not model themselves on what others have already created, simply because it has been tried and tested, but instead, they do it their way – COURAGEOUSLY. That is what originality and real success is about. It takes courage to create in a way that is intrinsically you – whether you risk failing or not – and as you say, “just imagine what expressions of creativity would come forth” if you couldn’t fail or if you didn’t care if you did. Failure to me is being derivative. Success is about authenticity – doing it your way.
While creating, one cannot give power to any thought of outcome be it fame or money. Letting go of expectations for the outcome is particularly freeing. To create with a goal of making money or achieving fame only destroys the faith and freedom that is required for the creative process to flourish. Yes Ellen, then we will truly feel joy in the creative process.
You are right, Dede. Freeing yourself of expectations is so important in the creative process. Unexpected surprises come when we undertake mysterious, intriguing journeys without clear destinations.