By Johnny Dwinell
How do you want to be perceived?
Do you want people to see you as a great artist? A great writer? Innovative? Intelligent? On the way up? A survivor? A maverick? An icon? Maybe an outlaw? We artists always think about how we want to be perceived in the very best way; with huge dreams and aspirations. We imagine ourselves at the top with all the trappings that come with huge success, like money, influence, adoration, etc.
How ARE you actually being perceived? What do people think of you right now? Do they perceive you as you want to be perceived or are you experiencing frustration, friction, doubt, condescension, alienation, and overall lackluster and underwhelming feedback? Wow, those are heavy thoughts, man, but as artists we are always hardest on ourselves and react to the negative inner voices which are a constant hurdle. Ugh, it’s a daily battle for me at least, I promise you!
You see it’s the thoughts we focus on consistently and the work we do consistently that determines what exactly we achieve, which in turn dictates how people REALLY perceive us. We can’t get a reputation based on future possibilities; on what we want to be. We can only get a reputation based on the work we have accomplished; which is where we are right now.
To accomplish any artistic work we have to be courageous enough to be imperfect and anal (crazy?) enough to constantly search for perfection; quite the dichotomy, no? We all have to take that first step of faith even though we can’t see the whole staircase; because I promise you that you will NEVER see the whole staircase! Think about this, the reality of your existence is never what you planned it would be; any well thought out, intensely prepared effort towards some goal never goes according to the plan. David Lee Roth accurately described the “Law of Rock & Roll” by saying Murphy completely underestimated the problem! To be effective at managing the constant change in life (especially the online music business which is a constantly moving target) you have to be smart enough to know that you don’t know (or at least smart enough to know that you did know yesterday, but today the game has completely changed). You have to be secure enough to admit that you don’t know (to yourself as well as others). Finally, you have to be smart enough and secure enough to seek and accept help where a change is required to get one step closer to greatness. Those that don’t, simply get lost in the din and never really rise to a level where they can make a living at the art they enjoy so much.
That’s really sad, but totally preventable!
You have to work harder than anyone else, and truly understand that while creating great art is paramount to your highest dreams, ensuring people are exposed to it is also mission critical too. After all, it is only after people are exposed to your art that they will develop a perception of you and your art, right?
Re-evaluate your process for creating great art; constantly tweak this. Then, realize that exposure is the next MISSION CRITICAL step to influencing perceptions.
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