Success is tricky. To me it used to mean winning over the masses - national radio play, sold out shows, millions of album sales. I just don’t feel like that’s success anymore.

I think the reason for trying to win over the masses in most cases is insecurity. At least, it has been for me. Convincing millions of people that I’m good makes it easier for me to believe it. But it doesn’t work. For one, it’s selfish and rarely results in meaningful art. But the biggest reason is this:

Even if/when we convince the masses - when our album goes platinum or our book hits #1 - the voices in our head will find a way to convince us it was a fluke. We got lucky, and they’ll find out we’re a fraud on the next release.

No amount of external affirmation, whether from the masses or someone we respect, will make it any easier to believe we’re any good. It’s a fool’s errand and we end up wasting our life on it.

The truth is that you are already who you are. There’s nothing to add. The way you succeed is by quitting the game everyone else is playing of trying to “win”.

What you’re looking for will only happen once you’ve peeled away everything that isn’t you, until you’re left with only you and nothing else. No stage, no lights, no accomplishments to hide behind. It’s the place most of us spend our entire life avoiding, and it’s the place every one of us longs for more than anything else. Because what if I get to that place, where everything is stripped away and all that’s left is me, and it’s good?? Success.

(And now, for the first time, you have something to offer the masses.)

Wednesday April 22, 2015