MAKE A DIFFERENCE

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Everybody reading this wants to make a difference. Of course we do. That’s been the human condition since Adam bit the apple.

(And while we’re on the subject, the human condition is not so much about every rose having a thorn, but every thornbush having a rose. Life is a thorn bush, and making a difference -i.e. Love- is the rose etc etc etc.)

And here’s the thing: Most people I know who wanted to make a difference, did so. It was just a question of having enough talent, stamina and discipline to last long enough, until the stars aligned in their favor.

Until that moment arrives, the big question everyone’s asking is, “Will I make it?”

But there’s a bigger question, I believe, which is “Yes, but for how long?”

Yes, your time in the sun, your time to “make it” will come (I already said that it would), but it does pass, and it does pass quickly.

Jimi Hendrix and The Doors and The Beatles and Van Gough and Modigiani and Keith Haring and Basquiat all had a handful of years, then it was all over. And in startups, hey, remember FriendFeed? Or MySpace? Or Gawker? Where are they now?

But some folk manage to keep it going. U2 or Rush or The Stones or Willie Nelson still manage to play large arenas after decades on the road. Companies like Apple, IBM and Microsoft have regenerated many times.

Joe Rogan went from being a second-or-third-tier sitcom funnyman to being the most interesting broadcaster/interviewer/podcaster/new media rockstar on the planet two decades later. He kept moving forward, re-inventing.

No real artist (or entrepreneur) wants their best work behind them. And the only way to prevent that from happening (or at least, prevent the worst bits of that from happening) is to keep evolving.

And the only way to do that, the only way to keep evolving and making a difference, is to keep giving. Giving the best part of yourself, with or without the prospect of reward.

But what does all that “giving” mean for you, exactly? You tell me. Others figured it out. You figure it out.

Sic transit gloria mundi.


THE AUDACITY OF WANTING TO BE CREATIVE

THE AUDACITY OF WANTING TO BE CREATIVE

Once Ignore Everybody got successful, there were more than one naysayers out there, saying something like, “Well, truly creative people don’t need somebody to tell them how to do so, so your book doubtlessly deserves to fail, Loser.”

Heh. Well, yeah, Merry Christmas to you, too.

Fortunately, the book didn’t fail and secondly, though it may be true that extremely creative people don’t need to be told how, that is ONLY after the fact, after they have found their groove.

Before the fact, there’s tends to be a very long embryonic stage (late childhood and early adulthood, mostly, often lasting many years), where lots nurturing and encouragement is key.

Thirdly, the fact is even the most brilliant of geniuses lose their mojo sometimes, i.e. fall into disenchantment with their whole process and need a little jolt to get going again. Even the biggest Titan in this game is still only human. So reminding them of why they got into this game in the first pace could certainly be helpful.

Fourthly, for every genius out there *not* needing any help, there are hundreds of normal people in normal jobs who could use a little bit of extra creative Oomph! in their M.O., who could use a creative outlet in their lives, however modest.

Lastly, it’s the economy, Stupid. Companies are under increasing pressure to innovate nowadays, and that’s much more likely if the corporate culture allows more creativity to thrive within their midsts. So there’s an actual profit motive in there somewhere.

I’m not someone who gets all high and mighty about creativity (I prefer to think of it as something far simpler: a higher brain function that makes problem solving easier, not some kind of new-age, quasi-supernatural experience), but I still think it’s damn vital to our existence, and at least once in our careers, we owe it to ourselves to pay it some serious attention.

Not to mention, it’s a whole lot of fun when you do so. Cheers.


FLIP BURGERS

FLIP BURGERS

When art is a hobby, you can afford to take your time. You’re only doing it for your own amusement, after all.

But once you turn pro, all that goes away. Especially if you get really successful, with suddenly everyone wanting a piece of you, like, *yesterday*.

So the only way to stay in the game at this level is to crank it out, in much the same way a fry chef cranks out burgers at a diner. Cheese, no cheese, medium, rare, hold the pickles, Yessir.

In other words, yeah, being an artist is a job. And the more you treat like a job, with all the usual pros and cons, the happier and more successful you will be.

Don’t let all that high-falutin’ arty-farty stuff distract you. Get out there and start flipping burgers.


DON’T WORRY IF YOU CAN’T MONETIZE YOUR SPECIAL THING. MAYBE THAT’S NOT THE POINT.

DON’T WORRY IF YOU CAN’T MONETIZE YOUR SPECIAL THING. MAYBE THAT’S NOT THE POINT.

My favorite thing to do has always been the little business-card doodles I’ve been cranking out since 1997.

But I never really tried to monetize them. For one thing, I’ve always believed that with the occasional very rare exception, people generally don’t buy art. Not really. For the vast majority of artists, the fine art market is a lousy business to be in. And no lousy business is worth the hassle, I don’t care how pretty you are.

So along the way I had to find something else to pay the bills. That’s why my friend and former client, Jason Korman co-founded the organizational consultancy, Gapingvoid Culture Design. It makes good use of my art, but the art is not the main point of the business, cultural change inside the workplace is.

Nobody needs *yet another fine artist*, but everyone wants their business to function better culturally. And my work, in tandem with everything else Gapingvoid does, has proved very helpful in that regard. So it makes sense.

But even if I don’t monetize the cards, doesn’t mean they don’t help my day job, indirectly. The more of them I do, the more they influence my client work in a positive way, the more they keep the “day job” interesting and useful..

So there’s a lot of “indirect” benefits going on. A ton. And I’m fine with that. It may not follow the Hollywood script, but it’s worked out beautifully, regardless.

So quit worrying if your side hustle isn’t allowing you to quit the ol’ day job. Maybe that’s not the point. Maybe something larger is in play.

In the meantime, as always, keep working.