I recently received an email asking for advice on how one quits their day job and starts an independent career in art. It’s a question I get from time to time, and I thought I’d take a moment today and give some advice to people who are thinking about it.
I don’t know if I believe in Fate, but I do know when the universe is nudging me in a certain direction. While thinking about today’s blog post for EBSQ I stumbled upon two things: a wonderful calligraphy message from illustrator and designer Fathima Kathrada and a quote by Seth Godin.
Of course it’s difficult…
Students choose to attend expensive colleges but don’t major in engineering because the courses are killer.
Doing more than the customary amount of customer service is expensive, time-consuming and hard to sustain.
Raising money for short-term urgent projects is easier than finding support for the long, difficult work of changing the culture and the infrastructure.
Finding a new path up the mountain is far more difficult than hiring a sherpa and following the tried and true path. Of course it is. That’s precisely why it’s scarce and valuable.
The word economy comes from the Greek word for scarcity. The only things that are scarce in the world of connection and services and the net are the things that are difficult, and the only things that are valuable are the things that are scarce. When we intentionally seek out the difficult tasks, we’re much more likely to actually create value.
Both messages essentially say the same thing. Be you. Be unique. I think we all need to be reminded of this from time to time, but artists especially. We are surrounded by other amazing artists and all of us at one time or another have thought, I want to paint like that! But if you want to stand out–make a mark for yourself–you need to be unique. You need to be you.