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For me, this is part of a bigger discussion about money and art. Here’s where I stand:
Do what’s best for your art.
Usually, money improves your art. (Why? Keep reading.)
It’s scary. Do it anyway.
Art isn’t just painting and writing. Art is whatever creative work you do: Energy healing, ritual, teaching, event promotion, engineering, computer programming. Whatever you bring to the world, that’s your art.
Do what’s best for bringing that art into the world.
Money refines artistic vision.
Yes, really. Free speakers can be mediocre. But if you expect someone to pay, you need to be compelling.
So decide to be paid. Then do the work to get there: Read and take classes on speaking. Practice, at free venues and toastmasters and wherever you can. (“I’ll speak at your event for free, but I need a recording of my talk so I can review it and improve.”) Write, to learn to explain your ideas and to build your resume.
Those are all hard and scary. Deciding to make money forces you to face them. That’s the point.
These days, my art is Healing Lab. I want to be paid to develop new healing techniques. And getting serious about money has been excellent:
Before I was serious about money, I thought about doing healing sessions some friends, getting some referrals, building up a small practice. Unremarkable.
Then I embraced my goal: To develop high-price healing techniques for people with serious conditions. And realizing that, the path changed. I’m focused on publishing double-blind studies to demonstrate my techniques. I’m focused on refining healing techniques through case studies, so I feel confident publishing and selling them. And I’m practicing explaining my system of healing, in writing, and among friends, and among strangers at toastmasters and other venues. All of that is hard and scary. But all of it is necessary.
It’s Scary. Do It Anyway
Whatever your art, getting good is scary.
At a minimum, it requires honestly assessing where you are right now. Every time I’ve done that, I’ve been less good than I thought I was. And I’ve repeated a mantra:
I’d rather become good tomorrow, than believe I’m good today. Recognizing a weakness doesn’t make it any worse. I’ve gotten this far with those weaknesses, so fixing them will take me even farther.
(Money forces an honest assessment of how good you are. That’s the point.)
Getting good also forces you to face your limits. Can you become so good at public speaking that people will pay for it? (Answer: Yes, but it’ll take 10,000 hours of focused work.)
Can I develop healing techniques so obvious and reliable, I can demonstrate it to university researchers, doctors, and investors? I don’t know. But I’m committed to doing it anyway.
(Why don’t I say “I’m going to try?” Because my goal isn’t to have tried. My goal is to succeed. Good post on LessWrong.)
Getting good is scary. Do it anyway.
What about visionary art? Doesn’t money poison that?
I’m not qualified to say. But I want to share two images. Before Picasso did this:
He did this:
The first step is getting good. The visionary art comes after.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.