Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Excess of Expectation

Success doesn’t just breed success – it breeds expectation.

“I’ve seen your trick, what’s next?”

That’s what our audiences demand. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Which, from the standpoint of productivity, is great. People’s craving for novelty is a helpful probe to keep us relevant and keep us on top of our creative game. It reminds us that we should always throw a few new songs into the set in between the classics.

On the other hand, there’s downside to success. One we can’t afford to ignore.

With an excess of expectation, the increased pressure to deliver can destroy us.

Take professional athletes. These guys, supposed role models, willingly juice up when their professional association’s drug policy specifically prohibits the use of anabolic steroids. As a result, their reputations are ruined, their credibility is destroyed and their records are redacted or stricken with an asterisk. Strike three.

But we have to look at it from their perspective. These guys are legends. Celebrities. Cultural icons that we’ve given all the adulation, adoration, attention and applause they can handle. They don’t cheat because they’re horrible people – they cheat because they’re successful people. And when you’re successful, when you have a huge audience who willingly spends their hard earned money to watch you perform, they own you.

And with that relationship comes an expectation.

The fans didn’t put the needle in the player’s arms.

They just made it a lot harder to say no.

Whether we’re ballplayers, entrepreneurs or artists, expectation is a balancing act. On one hand, we don’t want to become a victim of our own success. On the other, we don’t want to stop taking the creative risks that made us successful in the first place.

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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