We all want to be popular. We want as many people as possible to like us and to love our work. But what if that desire stops us from getting the most out of our talents and turning our ordinary work into spectacular art? What if it stops us from giving the world our best?
“Planning our work so it pleases the largest number of people possible often has us censor ourselves, and usually stops us from doing something amazing.”–Greg Knapp
But, Greg, I need people to buy my work. I need to make money.
Absolutely. And you do need to make sure there’s a market for what you’re producing. By all means do your research to find your niche to create something people want.
But, here’s the irony. When we try to make our work popular with everybody we usually end up earning less than when we follow our passion, and do inspired work.
Sure, we’ll be less popular. But the people who love us, really love us. They keep coming back and buying what we have to offer. They tell all their friends about us – because we connected with them.
Plus, it’s a lot more fun than trying to do what you think people want!
Pablo Picasso was an excellent artist from a young age. But, did you know he was classically trained and painted landscapes early in his career? He could have stuck with that and made a good living. But he was inspired to experiment and helped create the Cubism movement.
Not everyone liked his abstract paintings. You could say they were “less popular.” But he was doing the work he really cared about and the people who did like them really liked them. In fact, at the time of his death, Picasso’s net worth was estimated to be $50 million. (He was an artist who didn’t have to wait until he died to make money!)
Not bad for being less popular, eh?
Questions for soul searching:
Who are you trying to please?
Are you going to climb the ladder of success only to find you put it up on the wrong wall?
Where have you been pulling back on the type of work you really want to do because you’re worried you will lose customers?
Could it be that’s what’s holding you back from bigger success?