[More thoughts on The Ignored Series.]
DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME WORRYING ABOUT THE HIGHLIGHT REEL.
We like to think that it’s our life’s highlights (our “highlight reel”, as it were) that make us happy.
That time we walked the red carpet. That time we stood in front of the Grand Canyon and took a selfie. That time we had dinner with the famous person. That time we gave a big talk at SXSW.
But it turns out it’s the little stuff we do daily that actually makes us happy long term.
That first cup of coffee in the morning. That bagel every Saturday morning on Lexington Avenue and 41st. That last whisky before bedtime. That half hour of reading before lights out. Sunday dinner after church. Tennis with Marcio after work on Tuesdays. Hanging out at the comic book shop with Phil. Walking around downtown taking photographs.
The highlight reel is all about what motivates you extrinsically. And the little stuff is about what motivates you intrinsically.
And “intrinsic” is where actually happiness- the kind that lasts- is found. Sure, you can build the “extrinsic” stuff into the mix as you go along, but to sacrifice everything some the former just to have a wee bit more of the latter is a fool’s errand.
INTRODUCTION: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE IGNORED
I call you that because you’re like me, you see.
Your movie will never be bought by Hollywood. Washington will never elect you to the Senate. The New York Times will never review your book. Columbia will never offer you a record deal. Google will never buy your startup. You will never be a guest on The Tonight Show. Your paintings will never hang in the MoMA.
Like me, you will be permanently ignored by the big fish. You will never be a “Name”. You will be one of those people that the “Names” are completely oblivious to.
But that’s OK. By being “Ignored”, that means nobody is watching you. That means you can do what you want, with the people you want, making a difference on your own terms. By being “Ignored”, you are forced to discover your own “intrinsic” meaning behind your work, because the “Names” and their “”extrinsic” acolytes aren’t there to help you.
And with the Internet, all that is easier than ever. Just start. Today. Find your tribe online and give them a reason to be excited. Make it matter. Make it count. Like Seth Godin says, don’t wait to be picked, pick yourself.
Just don’t waste a second ever again, waiting for the phone to ring. The phone isn’t going to ring. This is our fate. We are The Ignored. We’re going to change the world on our terms, not theirs.
And “The Book of The Ignored” will show you how, or at least, help you get there a little faster.
Let me know how you get on,
Lots of Love,
FURTHER READING FROM “THE BOOK OF THE IGNORED”:
- DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME WORRYING ABOUT THE HIGHLIGHT REEL.
- NEVER PLAY DICE WITH THE UNIVERSE.
- HOW TO BE A SELL-OUT.
- DO IT WITH REVERENCE.
- SPEND MORE TIME WITH THE LORD
- FIND THAT MOMENT OF TRUTH
- NOBODY KEEPS THEIR SOULD FOR FREE.
- “THIS IS WHAT I DO”
- IT’S NOT HOW MUCH, BUT HOW OFTEN.
- TIME IS ALWAYS THE ENEMY
- FAME IS OVERRATED.
- THE DAY I REALIZED I WAS IN THE WRONG BUSINESS
- AND PREPARE FOR DEATH.
- ART IS CAPITAL, NOT INCOME
- PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MEME CHOSE
With some businesses, everything has to work first time, straight out of gate, or else it’s considered a flop and everybody loses their shirt. The movie business is like that. Restaurants, too (Here’s a very painful but compelling example of what I’m talking about).
In the art business, that single-role-of-dice approach is simply not going to work. As an artist, you’re going to try dozens and dozens of different things over time- different approaches, different job titles- mostly stumbling blindly forward, until one day you find something that clicks.
That’s how it’s done. It might take your five years. It might take you twenty. Nobody knows. No guarantees.
The only guarantee (which isn’t saying much)… is you.
i.e. You keep on working, you keep on learning, you keep your options open, you keep your sorry ass on the straight and narrow in the meantime.
But to let it all be decided by a single throw of the dice is beyond stupid. Life doesn’t work that way.
I once had this artist friend, a Hispanic dude who was very quick to call other artists out for being a “sell-out”.
The slightest whiff of “commercial” and boy, that was you on his permanent shit list. Then he’d drop you like a stone.
What funny is that over the years he became the poster boy for that politically correct, identity politics crap (and it is “crap”) the museums and the Academy love so much these days. And because he was a minority from the wrong side of the tracks (which he would never let anyone forget, not for second), he fast tracked into that world of slippery words and dead meanings. He played the part. He was a “natural”.
Now if that ain’t a “sell-out”, I don’t know what is. But I doubt he’d notice the irony.