“You aren’t going to change the world with your ideas.”
But why not at least try? What have we got to lose?
Often I encounter people who have ideas but never do more than sit and think about them. They tell me, “I have this great idea,” but when I ask how it’s going a month later, I’m told the idea fizzled out. “What’s the point?” is a typical reason. Others include not knowing where to start, the fear of failure, or uncertainty in general.
Whatever the creative goal – be it writing a book, starting a business, opening a shop, becoming a prolific painter, you name it – your job is to do the work. No matter what. Even if you don’t know where to start. Even if you’re afraid the end result will be failure.
Really the worst case scenario is you do fail. Your book doesn’t get published. Your business closes its doors. Your paintings don’t hang in a gallery.
But even failure is a victory for creativity, in a lot of ways.
Failing helps us learn (even when we’re not consciously aware of it). More importantly, I think failure allows us to create a lot of varied work, work that may not fulfill our goals or help us reach our vision, but work that can ultimately inspire or motivate others. It’s through any work we do that we do, in-fact, change the world; arguably for the better.
It’s impossible to know what will be a success, but you can improve the odds of encountering it by producing a lot of work.
For years I’ve been writing here on Creative Something. For many, many years people ignored what I wrote. Countless posts have gone onto the graveyard that is the Internet archive, never to be read again. But after writing for so long I’m beginning to learn that people are reading these posts.
Sometimes it’s a few thousand people, other times it’s only a handful.
What I’ve learned is that the handful are motivated enough from what I write to go on and do something with what they’ve read. They act on it, they teach it to others, and while I may not so the fruit of their labors, I know I’ve made an impact in at least one or two or a dozen people’s lives. And that impact inevitably grows. My intents may have failed, but the impact of my efforts have led to a very large and worthwhile reward.
Even failure in producing creative work can be promising.
No, you don’t have to set out to improve the world or change lives, but by merely doing creative work (a lot of it) you undoubtedly will. If your work doesn’t make you a lot of money, give you a reputation, or propel you into the place you want to be, it can, at the very least, inspire or motivate others. But you have to do the work to get even there.
Don’t wait, start today, right now.