That song. That track. That project. That career. That cultural artifact I'm trying to create because I believe it will make the world better. That passion project. Why should I work hard on it?
If I really put my heart and soul into it, it will probably get lost in the noise. It will probably achieve less attention than I feel it deserves. Even those close to me will not understand that this isn’t like all that other cheap work that simply exists to satisfy the requirements of a fickle market. I didn’t just follow the leader. I didn’t take the easiest route. Sure, I was influenced, but I didn't just copy the trend. I worked for it. Hard. Why would I associate it with all that other less interesting work?
And what can I do to get this thing out of me?
You’re standing ankle-deep in the ocean. With every new person that obtains a smartphone and begins posting their own information, content and art online, the tide rises a little more. And a little more. And a little more. Pretty soon, you’re up to your neck in water, and it keeps rising. Without choosing to be, you’re part of the competition for dry land.
What is the answer? Is it to be a better swimmer than everyone else? Is it to be smarter, to own a map to the nearest dry land?
The answer is to build a boat. To build your own means of distribution. To build your own audience of loyal adherents. To resist the temptation to gain quick success by winning a race to dry land. The water is going to keep rising.
You need to demonstrate that you’re in a different content entirely. A contest not with the competition, but with the tide itself.
Before they pay you the attention you feel you deserve, your people need to know that you’re all in. Invested in building something that has earned its place in society. Something that has paid its dues.
The onus is on you to convince people that you’re all in by being all in.
Do the work.