by Michael Damico
“What is it artists do?” And I mumbled something. “They do two things,” he said. “First, they admit they can’t straighten out the whole universe. And then second, they make at least one little part of it exactly as it should be. A block of clay, a square of canvas, a piece of paper, or whatever.” – Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? – Advice for the Young
Are you the creative type? Maybe you’re independent with an entrepreneurial spirit. I have a message for you. Actually, my message applies to anyone in any field, but especially the creatives and entrepreneurs. There is no “magic bullet” that is the answer to success for people like us. I’m always amazed at how diverse niches become as people discover their audience. As they learn who and where they’re clients are hiding. I have to admit one thing, though. There is definitely a consistent trait that I see in all those who find a way to make it work. In the ones that then grow and flourish. Any guesses? Plain and simple: they don’t give up.
I believe that the closest thing you’ll find to a so-called magic bullet is to look at success as a gradual net gain through failure and success. During the first three years of starting my company, I was broke as joke. But I never quit showing up. I never stopped learning or paying attention to what works and what doesn’t work. And I let go of the fear of trying different things. In doing this, I learned a key lesson. I had to give myself the freedom to fluctuate and to forgive myself when my best wasn’t as good as the day before.
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” – Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? – Advice for the Young
Do you do that? Do you forgive yourself when your creativity seems sub-par or your business ideas fall flat? Most of us are really hard on ourselves, but that’s counter-productive. There is a way to do it, you know. But it’s up to you find it. As I travel my own paths of art, business, and life in general, I’m learning that I don’t know it all. And that I never will. In the end, money is just a mechanical function of operating. It’s a lot like the way gas makes a car move. And it certainly will never define you as an individual. Here are the things that count: our interactions, the meaning we have for others and ourselves, and the purpose we fill in the world.
Frankly, the sooner we listen to the truth inside of us, then usually the easier the cash just shows up. So just keep up the work. Even just showing up matters. It’s a start. Don’t look at failure as an ending. Make yourself useful to your little area of our beautiful planet earth. There’s no need to over-complicate and over-think it. I promise that doing these simple things will lead to good things for you and the people around you.