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.
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).
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
TOTALLY FREAK OUT
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!