Your Art is Not Frivolous—It’s Money Begging to Be Made
December 16, 2010
I received this email last week (published with permission):
Thank you. No, seriously, thank you.
I can truthfully say that post was one of the best posts I've read in the sphere.
I lost my mom when I was eight; I actually wrote/performed a one man show about it (It's a comedy, trust me) so automatic resonance points for that.
I've been trying to get on this life design tip for a while, with no success lately.
I've been working paycheck to paycheck at my temp gig & there have been many times when I've been overdrawn in my bank account. The hardest part is that I have to support my dad, grandma, and my brother as well. So while my situation isn't anywhere as tumultuous as yours was, just seeing someone start, from well, the start meant a lot to me.
Sorry for rambling. But I really hope to hear from you soon. Been a big fan of TMFP for a while now. Take care.
So Paolo & I shoot some messages back and forth, and I discover that Paolo happens to be HOT DAMN, ONE-OF-A-KIND, BLEW ME AWAY, I-CANNOT-GET-ENOUGH kind of BRILLIANT.
Next thing you know, I'm practically rolling on the floor in front of all of the Chileans at Starbucks, and I'm typing him an email before I can barely finish the video, because it was THAT GOOD.
Paolo rocked my world, and I needed him to know it.
I needed him to know how valuable his art was.
I needed him to believe in the sheer brilliance that I had witnessed.
And how righteously GOOD he truly was.
Because from his emails, he seemed to have lost hope. He seemed to have lost faith in himself. He seemed to have lost the courage, the will & the confidence to keep pursuing his love of performance.
But he has a gift if I've ever seen one.
And the reason it's so apparent is because when he's on that stage, nothing else matters. His wild love for performance is crystal clear.
This is HIS THING.
I talk a lot about the concept of YOUR THING. Not just what you want to do, but who you want to become. The combination of the two is YOUR THING.
I'm convinced that finding YOUR THING, and then pursuing YOUR THING is truly the only way we can live up to our potential, and close the gap between who we are & who we could be. And closing the gap is the only way we can free ourselves from the harrowing mental fatigue that many of us experience regularly–that tension that you feel from knowing that you aren't giving it your all.
Most of us make a halfhearted attempt at easing the tension by switching jobs or switching careers, but the tension is never resolved, because it's impossible to find YOUR THING by performing an online job search, or by submitting your resumes to countless different companies.
Because they aren't hiring for YOUR THING.
They're only hiring for cookie cutter roles that will MAKE THEM MONEY. That's it. They're hiring based on their financial interests.
And there's nothing wrong with that. That's how business works. But the truth of the matter is, companies exist to make people money–not to make people happy.
So if you're looking for happiness that comes from somewhere besides money, like most of us are, you've got to start looking elsewhere. (Unless, of course, you really do love your job. That's different.)
But most of us don't look elsewhere, because we aren't sure where else to look. Most of us begin the job search process, hoping that somewhere, there'll be a job that we like just enough to tolerate.
The whole, “well, at least it's a job” mentality.
And yeah, it is a job. So, cool, you've got your bills covered for now. But it's also your life. Have you got your self-fulfillment covered? Or isn't that as important? And if it is, then when will you start doing something about it?
If you're reading this, you don't just want any old job. You want MORE from life. You don't just want the finances to work.
YOU want your sexy little soul to do a sexy little dance & make some sexy little love.
Actually, you NEED your soul engaged in order to get some peace up in that mind of yours. It's a non-negotiable.
Otherwise, you'll forever be mentally haunted by it.–
Sooner or later, your soul will creep up on you and will be all like, “Thanks for throwing me under the bus, asshole.”
And you'll gasp & get all wide-eyed and will be like, “Shhhhhh! I can't have you acting out like this. It's too risky. I'm finally in a place where I'm accepting that this is just the way life works. Leave me alone–I can't handle this kind of stress.”
And your soul is all, “Whatever, man. It's not me you're betraying. It's you, dummy.”
And you're all, “Will you shut up already? You're causing me extreme mental fatigue.”
And your soul smugly replies, “Yeah, and you can rest assured that I'll be back, sweetheart. Except next time it will be when you've already got a whole bunch of other responsibilities, and it'll be much harder for you to pay attention to me. But eventually, you will. You have to. I am your only salvation. You have no other choice.”
And then you sigh.
Because you know your soul is right.
You ignore it for now, because you just don't know what else to do. You don't know how else to make an income. You don't know how to make everything work. It all seems too complicated. It's easier to just suck it up and continue doing what you're doing, and chalk it all up to “life.”
In the messages I shared with Paolo, he seemed nearly at that point. While his intense LOVE for performing is so vividly clear & apparent, he's been discouraged in the past from not getting the right opportunities at the right time…and as a result, his love got put on the back burner.
But, what if Paolo were to take a different approach?–
What if, instead of waiting for someone to GIVE HIM an opportunity, he went out and CREATED ONE?
Would he be so dependent on others (employers) to give him his big break and make his dreams come true?
The answer is no.
But the real question is whether he has the GUTS.
We've always had the power to create. Painters have always had the power to paint, photographers have always had the power to photograph, writers have always had the power to write, and performers have always had the power to perform.
Whatever type of artist you are (whether your art is defined in traditional terms or something else), you have always had the power to create your art.
Nothing new there.
What's changed, however, is the market.
By leveraging the power of the internet, every single one of us now has a global market at our fingertips. And for FREE.
No longer is it just big businesses who have the money to be able to reach enough of their target prospects.
Now, your target prospects are just a click away, and oftentimes–thanks to that thing we call a search engine–they're already looking for you.
Despite how it sounds, that is NOT stalker creepy. That, my friends, is awesome.
Because do you know what that means, when you have people actively searching for you & YOUR THING?
It means there's a demand.
Do you know what you can do with a demand?
You can step up to the plate, start creating, and provide a SUPPLY.
Do you know what happens when you've got a lot of demand, and some supply?
In a most basic sense, this is precisely how we can leverage the internet to start building businesses around our passions, our loves, our interests, our desires, OUR THING.
And it's authentically good.
Because it gives you the power to control your own circumstances in ways that we never could have in the past.
It's up to you whether or not you choose to take advantage of it.
So, to the Paolo's of the world, I have something to say to you:
Your art is not frivolous.
As a matter of fact, your art is necessary.
Necessary not only for your own good…
…but for the well-being of the human race.
We need you to create.
We need you to put yourself out there.
And we need you to share your gifts with us.
Because inspiration builds upon inspiration.
And without you, we will be sorely lacking.
Lacking in the confidence to pursue our own art.
Which will ultimately end up on the backburner…
…in the same place that so many artists have permanently stored their unrequited inner longings.
And the day that happens to enough of us, will be the day that the human race dies.
Because without art, we aren't human.
We're merely tools.
Factors of production.
And no man deserves that fate.
So, please, I beg you.
Because you are the only one who can save us from ourselves.