We're all filters now, constantly presented with the task of deciding to read something or ignore it, to share a thought with the world on Twitter or let it go unheard. For creators this challenge of filtering can become overwhelming. Satya Colombo writes about a recent experience with this:
So, here's the dilemma: do I share what compels me, what sparks this very intimate recognition within me, pulls a small heart string... Or do I share the thing I think other people might resonate with? The thing I think might actually be more compelling?
In this case, I decided to just shelf it, and do nothing. [...]
The point is — how to decide what to create, and what to share, and what voices to listen to in deciding…?!
Sometimes you just know — that thing you just did is Fricken good. It's ready to fly. But more often than not, there's this gray area…
A lot of people get stuck in that gray area. Especially when trying something new, or finally listening to those voices and actually pursuing a soul calling. Everyone has an opinion, or an idea of how to do it based on what they've seen and done, and unless they're really amazingly brilliant and/or they know you really well, their opinion is absolute crap when it comes to you. Totally useless. Please don't listen to them.
There's a lot of voices you can choose to listen to, but then there's one really awesome one that rules them all, and it's the language of the universe when it comes through your spirit.
Some people hear it speaking through a tree they're sitting next to, or the wind rustling overhead. Sometimes it comes through on the smile of a child, or a flash in the eye of the checkout bagging girl. You recognize it when you're really open to it — when you're connected to yourself, and actively surrendering to the marvelous creative pull of your work. Whatever and whenever that might be.
As creators, we're constantly presented with the task of figuring out if we should create that which our audience will most likely understand and appreciate or if we should create what feels real, authentic, and true to ourselves. I believe a balance between the two can and should be found, but often that requires a very deep and thorough understanding of both sides: an understanding of ourselves and of those who are listening.
When in doubt, my philosophy is to do without. If I'm not sure about something, I hold back and create and share nothing. While this is certainly a safe route, I think it's also a fear-based route. Playing it safe is easier than making a mistake or creating something that is misunderstood, but it's also a sure way to mediocrity. It's far better to risk making mistakes and asking for forgiveness than to play it safe and remain quietly invisible to the world.