We often look to others for where we should go on vacation, what restaurant to visit, or what to wear this season. Social media sites such as FourSquare, Yelp, and others provide user-generated content to help us guide others to have the same experiences (or not!) that we’ve had with a business.
Sometimes we look for what work we should be doing, too, based on how similar we are to someone else or how much we like them or their output.
Too many people sacrifice success in one area of their life for success in another, giving the impression that they’ve got a great life, all around. They don’t mean to give that impression, it just happens.
When we see someone else who is successful in any area we want to have success in, what we are really seeing is the tangible results of effort; proof that it can indeed be achieved.
This isn’t the map, though. We’re only seeing the ‘x’ on the map that shows the treasure.
The paradox here is that while following someone else’s map is easy, it’s infinitely harder to succeed, because their treasure is not your treasure.
Sure, you may like what they’ve accomplished or created, but that’s not your art. It’s very unlikely you should be creating the same thing.
What should we do with others’ art?
Use it as inspiration.
I’m a huge Foo Fighters fan, I think they can do no wrong (they haven’t yet, at least) musically. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could create music like the Foos do.
But I can’t.
Not because I’m not musically inclined (I am) or because I can’t grow my hair long (I’ve done it), but because their music is their life, told in song. My life just wouldn’t sound like that.
My friends have never overdosed on drugs or killed themselves. I’ve never driven across the country in a van to record an album, either.
Good news is, I don’t have to. My story (and yours) can be just as interesting as those of complete strangers who write rock n roll records.
We just have to follow our own map.
So why don’t we?
Why is it so scary to step out in faith and try something we dreamed of years ago and often since?
Because someone once told us we couldn’t. We weren’t good enough, or smart enough, or cool enough. That someone may even imagined, inside your head.
They were wrong. They still are, and always will be.
The only way to find our treasure, the one meant for our eyes only, is to follow our own map. To fight the voices that tell us we won’t win. To practice daily, taking baby steps to our treasure.
Then, when we’ve uncovered it, we’ll be able to enjoy it because we fought for it. That’s another thing, don’t expect to truly enjoy something someone hands to you. You’ll be sorely disappointed in that kind of gift.
I hope this helps you start something awesome. Go do it. Now.