I was recently listening to the executive of a popular television network explain how the ratings system worked for his programming. And he said something that I’ll never forget.
Ninety nine out of a hundred people aren’t watching my show, and I’m a millionaire.
Funny how few people you actually need to make art, make a living and make a difference.
The challenge, then, is being okay with not being for everybody. Letting go of the customers who don’t get the joke. Recognizing who your people are and, perhaps more importantly, who your people aren’t.
Every week, I perform music under tunnel in the park by my house. The architecture is inspiring and the natural acoustics are astounding.
But what’s interesting is, although hundreds of people will walk through that tunnel during any given concert, a large percentage of them won’t even acknowledge my existence. They treat me like I’m invisible. As if I wasn’t standing there in public, nakedly sharing my art with the world.
Which, initially, hurt my feelings.
I thought to myself, how loud do I have to sing for you people to pay attention to me?
But after a year of busking in that tunnel, something occurred to me. Nietzsche was right. He famously said that those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
And so, let it go. I started focusing on the small percentage of people who stopped, smiled and sang along. And to my surprise, that audience was enough for me.
Remember, if you are making everyone happy, you are also making some of the wrong people happy.
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Now booking for 2017-2018.
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