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Death, Creativity, And Caring What Others Think

1In this piece, James Shotwell tackles the triple minefield of a cultivating a creativity based career, the opinions of others and when they matter, and the inevitability of death as it relates success in the music industry.


Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

There are a lot of reasons to disregards your critics, but one applies to almost everyone in any creative pursuit.

Everyone wants to be successful in their pursuits, but there’s always a catch. The problem with finding success in the arts, especially at an early age, is that it establishes a standard that might not align with your goals. Maybe you dream of writing pop music, but your metal band takes off first. Perhaps you want to be known as a musician, but all your friends consider you a great promoter.

Breaking from the standard sounds easy enough. After all, most of us were told at some point in our adolescence that we should always strive to be ourselves. But something changes when success enters the picture. Once people like you or appreciate you for something, the risk of doing anything else can trigger fears and anxieties, you never knew you possessed.

5Before you let the fear of rejection stop you from pursuing something I want you to consider death, which will inevitably come for us all. We have lost some great people in recent years, including legendary musicians such as Prince and David Bowie, but how often do you find yourself thinking — or more importantly, talking — about them in your daily life? The world may have mourned them when they passed, but how long did that last? Two days? A week?

Information is now exchanged at speeds never before witnessed by the human race, and a lot of that is owed to the rise of social media. We consume news and opinions at a rate that is almost hard to wrap your head around, and all signs point to that speed rising as technology continues to advance. If the best of all-time is only given 48-hours of attention when they pass, how long will people talk about you?

The answer, for both you and I, is probably not long at all. Our family and friends will care, of course, but their opinions probably aren’t the ones you’re worried about when considering a new endeavor.

As for the haters, those anonymous people whose opinions haunts your every ambition, they will be forgotten just as fast as the rest of us.

If we accept that we and everyone who knows us will be forgotten almost as soon as they have died, then why give a damn what people think about you now? Their opinion of you is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but how you feel about yourself and the things you pursue will last as long as you have air in your lungs.

All we have is now. Lose yourself in the moment. Take a chance on yourself because you may never have the opportunity to do so again. Squeeze the juice out of life until your last breath.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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