You Have to Be Before You Are

We have a tendency to think of all celebrities as overnight successes. This is 100% wrong. There’s no reason to sugar coat that because if you’ve been around longer than two years on this Earth you’ve probably figured that out by now.

But what we don’t ever recognize is that they all had to be something before they were whatever they are known for now. In other words: They had to believe in themselves and create whatever they wanted to be before they were ever known for that by anyone else.

The challenge that new artists or anyone who wants to do anything significant faces is whether or not you are going to believe in yourself enough to do the thing you most want to be known for before you are known for it? Can you keep going as if you are already known for it before anyone else even knows you are doing it? Can you be before you are? What’s more, can you keep doing the work when you realize that the amount of work you do does not necessarily correlate to how successful your work is? Once you realize that sometimes you’ll spend weeks worrying over a piece only to have it find no audience and watch a photograph you took on a vacation with no intention of selling become the thing you’re most famous for, can you still continue?

Everyone who does anything creative has to face this reality. What’s more, every piece that they create then creates a further question: Will it be successful? Even the most famous artist, musician or writer you can think of still wonders this on the first day of their career and their last day of their career. This is one of the reasons it is so true that whatever you do never gets easier you only get better.

You may get better but as your talent grows your taste grows even more and you may always feel as if you are not good enough even after you have achieved a level of skill you once only dreamed of.

The question remains: Can you continue to be?


2 responses to “You Have to Be Before You Are”

  1. I’ve been entertaining this question a lot lately too, because as someone who’s decided to pursue a path in fiction, I’m learning that there’s nothing linear about creative work. You can spend your entire life pursuing excellence, and still end up not seeing the fruits of your labour.

    I’m finding ways to tie my self-worth to my effort instead of external approval, and I think that’s the best way forward.

    Anyway, thanks for this thought-provoking post!


    1. Thank you for your thought provoking comment!


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