Does something only become ‘great’ at the point it gets an audience? Or when the audience reaches a certain size?

I don’t think so. If it’s great, it was already great before people found it.

Confusing

The relationship between audience size, audience engagement, creativity and quality can be confusing. And if we worry about it all too much, it can overwhelm.

Logic tells us that the better something is, the more people engage. But there are other forces at play.

Timing, taste (no one is for everyone) and luck for example. All of which are a nuisance.

Confidence and Patience

If you want people to discover how great you are, confidence and patience have a big part to play.

And please note that if you rely on audience size and engagement as the only way to decide if something you are doing is great, you may be in trouble.  Your spirit may become broken as you wait to be found.

What to do?

My plan is:

  1. Be as great as I know how, today (and then try to be even greater tomorrow).
  2. Do it for me (so I remain individual, true to me and not solely reliant on what other people do or say in order to assess my value).
  3. Be patient (because I do think that what I am doing is valuable, so when people do eventually find me they will benefit).

Found

Being great and being found are two different things.

My friend Pete’s instagram page is great, but he’s currently only been found by a couple of hundred people (https://www.instagram.com/petezulu3/). It’s a shame in my mind. But not in Pete’s. Because he’s doing it for him.

There are numerous amazing things out there without audiences. And when the audience does come it doesn’t mean they suddenly got great. It just means they suddenly got found.

Great

Is it possible that you will be great and never found? Yes. Of course. That’s the way it is. But that is not a reason to not to be great.

Being found is not what makes you great. Being great is what makes you great.

And if you get frustrated – remember, there is something much worse than being great and not being found.

It’s being found and not being great.

2 Comments

  1. Another great article. I think the word ‘eventually’ should be in bold. Doing something great can never be about recognition by an audience. Most of the greatest writers, artists, musicians, designers, charity founders, enterprise starters, fabulous helpers and inspirers to communities, family and friends and pioneers in every field believe that eventually, they’ll do something ‘great’ to make a difference. It keeps them going through adversity and allows them happiness and fulfilment. Some are recognised for doing ‘great’ things early in their lifetime, others late in their lifetime and some after they’ve died or not at all. It doesn’t matter if or when an audience recognises the greatness. Only the American Way measures greatness by wealth and audience recognition and this leads to selfishness, poverty, depression and makes it a mean old world.

    • Michael Owen

      Thanks Tony. Selflessness is something I read between the lines of your comments.

      You’re a supportive guy by nature I think.

      I have a confession though… I myself am not bulletproof to ‘audience’ on two levels.

      1. It actually does matter what some people think of what I do. Not so that it paralyses or upsets me. But it matters marginally more than it should, I think. I am working on this.

      2. Some commercial aspects of what I am doing, especially at https://www.alwayswearred.com do of course require engagement.

      I believe in what AWR is for though. I am not just trying to sell things. We are changing people. So I feel OK.

      And I can be inconsistent. Some days I am strong and I stride on regardless. Some days I get knocked slightly by things.

      But the principles that you and I seem to be agreeing on here, I am 100% behind.

      Doing it for you, is right. And (a whole new subject) creativity is so much more wonderful when unshackled by audience.

      See you very soon I hope.

      Michael

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