In a way, we are all artists. You don’t have to write, act, or create music to be one. Because whatever it is that you create each and every day, whether it’s the way you raise your kids or how you perform at your job, that is your art, the thing that only you can do in your own unique way.
As an artist, you’re going to meet people who don’t respond to your art the way you think they should. They don’t ‘get’ the book that you wrote or why you wrote it. They don’t offer you the job. They don’t agree with how you parent your kids. The non-artist gets offended. They try to convince others why their book should be read, why they parent the way they do, why they should be hired.
But the artist shrugs his shoulders and simply says, “I’m not for you.”
Our best work won’t appeal to the masses. It can’t. If it does, that means it’s just average. Average might feel safe and it might work for a while. But in the end, average doesn’t really benefit anyone.
Music with mass appeal becomes elevator music over time. It plays in the background and goes unnoticed. It’s tolerable for a while, but it’s soon forgotten. Nobody appreciates elevator music.
Music that doesn’t appeal to the masses is different. It’s fresh and unique and delights the world. It dares greatly. That means that some people won’t get it. That also means that others will love it.
Our job as artists is to find and connect with those who love what we do and what we have to offer the world and then find more of those people to be around. Because the reality is that the only way to create great art worth mentioning is by doing something that will resonate with some, but not all.
If others don’t get you and whatever it is that you have to offer, that’s okay. Don’t change your strategy. Don’t try the opposite approach. Don’t do something different. Don’t reinvent yourself.
Just walk away. Shrug your shoulders and say, “I’m not for you.”
Creating something that doesn’t appeal to the masses and isn’t average takes courage. It might take a while for you to find your tribe, but when you do, your bravery will not go unnoticed.
And they’ll love you for it.