One common thought that goes through many creative artists’s minds is also one of the most destructive: ‘Who am I to put my work out into the world?’ That little voice that nags away saying ‘Don’t be too full of yourself. Why should you impose your style, your art, your ideas on the world?’
Here’s a better question: why shouldn’t you?
It’s not egocentric to share what you have with the world. Your audience chooses to invest in you and your work. You’re not forcing yourself on anyone. So what if your work won’t speak to everyone? That doesn’t matter. It’s the core of people it does speak to who matter. Who knows what subtle or portentous ways your style, your voice or your ideas may influence them? By holding any of that in you’re only doing the world a disservice.
The truth is that we all owe it to our audience – current or potential – to share what we’ve got. That’s not arrogant. No-one is saying that makes you better than anyone else. Life is about variety of experience: if you don’t bring your platter to the table the world is poorer for that.
Because ultimately, it’s not really about being full of yourself at all. It’s about being full of what you, and only you, can do for the world. How you and your work can touch, motivate and inspire other people. How it can do all of those things in a way that’s unique and personal to you. It’s not vain or arrogant to have a sense of drive and direction. It’s not selfish to use your self-expression for some wider purpose.
Art may not be as necessary as food, water, shelter or healthcare, but without art our lives would be unimaginably poorer. Think of all the good days, bad days, rollercoaster days of your life that were infinitely richer for having music in them. And all because the people who created that music weren’t afraid of sharing their ideas, their message and their unique contribution with the world.
Either you let the world see what you’ve got or you don’t. Either you celebrate your unique gift or you don’t. Either you dare to show yourself or you just don’t.
Which will you choose?