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The people in the shadows are watching you

There are two groups of people your life is currently impacting: those who tell you and those who don’t.

You can never know how big the second group, or your effect upon the people in it, is.

Even if no one is praising you or patting you on the back, there’s still a good reason for showing up and tending to the fire that burns in your heart.

Someone is always watching. And even though they may never come out of the shadows to admit it, they still need the message, the example, and the creative energy you embody.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

P.S. Even if the second group didn’t exist (and trust me, it does), your bliss is worth following for its own sake.

Dark matter, bright possibilities

According to this NASA article, approximately 70% of the universe is composed of Dark Energy. Dark Matter comprises 25% and the remaining 5% constitutes the stuff we know.

What we know is only a small fraction of the total amount of data existing in the cosmos.

As an optimist, I do not claim to be certain of the universe’s benevolence, but I am absolutely confident in the following: we never have enough information to be pessimistic.

Negative judgments, just like all other judgments which purport to be rational, require evidence. And since the amount of stuff we don’t know is greater than the amount of stuff we do know, the evidence for hopelessness and pending doom is inconclusive at best.

You don’t need to cheer up. Just open up.

The universe is filled with possibilities and we don’t even know the half.

“Be nobody’s darling”

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm. 

Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer; 
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast; 
Be pleased to walk alone
(Uncool) 
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Fools.
― Alice Walker

It’s nice to be thought of as a sensible, non-contradictory human being.

Nothing makes people more comfortable than when the beliefs and behavior of their companions make sense.

If you can achieve consistency without compromise, have at it, but “be nobody’s darling.”

Your fans, friends, and family can cope with the plight of being perplexed.

It’s not your job to unperplex people. It’s your job to create the results that matter most to you—even if that leaves others feeling bewildered and befuddled by your blazing trails of exploratory bliss.

Don’t fear the brand

“It’s frustrating every single day of my life, but that’s something I’ve learned to let roll off my back. In reality, no one is ever completely going to know everything that you do, especially if the things that you’re doing mass media–wise is only one thing. You can’t fault people, because it’s human nature for folks to want to put you in a box.” -Wayne Brady

Many times we fail to commit to specificity because we fear our decision will come back to haunt us at a later time when we wish to branch out beyond our identifiable brand.

In other words, we hesitate to create some of the things we feel passionate about because we’re afraid we’ll become known for that one thing. Then, when we decide to experiment with something totally different, the world wont give us permission because of our catalogue of previous work.

This fear is ungrounded for two main reasons:

1) People will identify you with oversimplified labels no matter what you do. There isn’t an approach you can take to brand-building and personal development that will make you exempt from the possibility that many people will associate you with a single action or piece of work. One of my favorite musicians is Bobby McFerrin. He is widely known and highly respected as one of the greatest vocal innovators in history (click here for a sample of the evidence). Yet, to most people, he’ll always be the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy Guy.” Chances are, the same thing is going to happen to you. You can create 50 million different amazing things and people will still boil the story of your life down to the one thing that resonated with them the most. People will see what they want to see in your body of work. If there’s more to your creative work than what lies beneath the surface, the people who are meant to find it will gravitate in that direction.

2) Creative progress, regardless of the area in which it is achieved, gives you leverage. The experiences you gain, the connections you make, the resources you procure, the confidence you develop, and the skills you sharpen will all be advantageous to you in any future venture you undertake. Michael Jordan, Donald Trump, and Oprah Winfrey are not musicians but they would all have an easier time recording and selling an album, if they wanted to, than most well-trained musicians. The reputation and resources they’ve gained from their prior work constitutes a powerful asset. Of course people will stereotype them based on their most well known achievements. But that happens to everyone anyway.

Here’s today’s two cents:

The work you do now will always benefit (in some shape, form, or fashion) the work you choose to do later, even if it’s a completely different type of work.

So if you want to create something, create it. You’re always better off when you commit to creating the results that matter most to you.

Creativity, even when it leads to being slapped with simplistic labels, is still better than any of its alternatives.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

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