ALWAYS play to the front row

We’re taught to try and please as many people as possible.

In life, in art, in business, the received wisdom is that it makes most sense to appeal to the masses, not be too ‘out there’ or too niche.

There couldn’t be worse advice, really there couldn’t.

In a mass-produced world, the one truly subversive act is to be completely yourself.

But you knew that already, right?

Trick is, how to manage it, when there are plenty of folks out there who are happy to cut you down the minute you speak your mind.

Here’s the trick.  I shall share it.


It’s all about how you work it – and who you work it FOR!

Play to the front row.

Your art, energy, words, whatever, must only ever be for the people who love what you do the most.  Direct it right at those who appreciate you and your work.  Don’t worry about the rest.

Laser focus, my dear, laser focus on those adoring faces in the front row.  Oh, and those toffs in the Royal Box as well, obviously.

Sure, negative feedback can be useful and I’d never advise ignoring it entirely (though I wouldn’t advise spending too time with it, it’s soul destroying for one thing).  Feedback is handy when placed in it’s proper context.  This isn’t about feedback, this is about where to direct your performance.

When you are creating, don’t play to the haters, the luke-warmers, the ones in the cheap seats (or who didn’t show up to see you at all).


Sometimes you have to be your own front row, you know?

Play to the people who coughed up lots of cash to sit in the front row, where they could get an uninterrupted view of the wonder that is YOU.

Those are the ones who deserve your energy, those are the ones who will give you the feedback you need to create better, and more.

Last year, I wrote about surrounding yourself with people who appreciate you.  I wrote about how your life is not a democracy (it really isn’t!).

That post brought out the most vicious hater I’ve ever had.  Wow, was that person angry when he read that post and wow, did he let me know about it.

Be certain that some people will        


when you play to the front row.

The folks in the cheap seats like to heckle, and grab your attention.



Don’t give it to them.  Turn down those house lights and look to the people who appreciate what you do.

Play your life to that front row, dear creative being, and watch the difference it makes!

How do you play to the front row in your art, life or business?  Please share in the comments!


PS: Just to be clear – the front row is a metaphor for life, m’kay?  Obviously if you are an actor, then you play to the whole house, otherwise you’ll belly flop big time!


ALWAYS play to the front row — 16 Comments

  1. I really needed to hear this now, and I’m getting this message over and over again.

    Just the other day I got a well meaning e-mail from a person who generally likes my work, but thinks my art is “too personal” to be understood by the average people so I shouldn’t push it front and center on my website, and I tried my best to explain that I don’t want to be liked by the “average people”. I realized I was justifying myself to this person because he was generally very nice to me the whole time, so he wasn’t a hater, so I wanted him to understand me in totality.

    Of course, this reflects my problem with my own parents who are “generally very nice to me”, but would like me to be different.
    I know you’re a skeptic so your view may be different, but for me, when people like this appear it’s always a sign of something unresolved with my parents, and me actually justifying myself to my parents.

    I didn’t see the hater post before, wow that really sucked! You handled it very gracefully.

  2. I decided a long time ago, the only people whose opinion about my art that matters is the people who buy it and become advocates of my work. They shape the future direction I take as they are the only ones worth listening too.

  3. Thank you! I do think we have life lessons come to us through people we meet, if we choose to see people as teachers it can be so powerful 🙂

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  5. Thank you, I need to hear this message over and over again, but tonight I needed it even more, thank you for being the channel of this powerful message! Be blessed, Simone

  6. Thank you!!!!!! Reading this as I come out of a two days time off from internet and from my creative and sacred business was a very special gift for me. What a wonderful and precious timing. Every single word you wrote hit me in just the right spot. I’m saving this post in my favorite file so I can come back to it when a reminder is needed (plus, I printed part of it so I can put it right on the front page of my agenda and look at it daily). Thank you dear one! Thank you!!!!!!