We each have our own tastes — our likes and our dislikes. This fact always fascinated me because one would think that things, activities or even people are either likable or unlikable — objectively.
We presume that all experience produces the same sensational phenomena yet for some reason while one of us will love a certain something, another could despise it. What's even more interesting is that while we may love something one day, we may be entirely perplexed to how we were able to stomach it only months later.
Tastes change; fads come in and out, becoming extinct and then recycle. This is all fine and dandy for all those consuming, but for those of us that produce — trying to catch onto a fad in time to be considered trendy can prove to be very difficult and rather nerve-wracking.
It's not enough to simply grasp onto a trend once it is already trending. Sure, if you catch one right in its infancy, you may be able to hop on and be part of the wave — but you won't be in the lead where all the chatter is; you'll be lurking in the shadows and picking up whatever grace bounces off the man — or woman — lighting the way.
If you are in search of greatness, of fame or of true recognition in whatever field you may be in, you need to be one of the few on top. But how does one do this? Without being in the possession of a crystal ball, it's impossible for you to know what will be popular a year or two down the road.
If you don't know what people will enjoy seeing, listening to, tasting, feeling, buying down the line, then how the hell can you figure out what you ought to be producing? There isn't a worse feeling in the world than putting your time, energy and heart into something for it only to be chewed up and spit back in your face. Thankfully there is one way — and one way only — for you to receive the recognition that you dream of having.
If you want to be immortalized in the history of whichever industry you are working within, you cannot expect to catch onto a trend in time to be part of the wave. You need to be at the head of the pack; you need to be a trendsetter. You can't wait for a trend to form and then try to adapt yourself and your art to the latest phenomenon.
The only way to be recognized as top of any field is to do things differently and better than the rest. Consider all the artists throughout history that are to this day held in the highest regard. Each of them mark the divergence from one style or trend to another — usually going in the complete opposite direction. If you want to be remembered then you need to be innovative.
Innovation, being a trendsetter, requires you to do one simple thing: do what you love and only what you love. We are all different enough that as long as we are able to find what it is that keeps that fire burning within us, people will eventually begin to fuel our fire for us; once this happens there is nothing holding us back from setting the whole damn world on fire.
It's not about chasing a trend — chasing a trend leads to inevitable failure. You have to allow the trend to come to you. You need to always remain a step ahead of the wave otherwise it will crash right on top of you and leave you broken.
This is where it gets rather easy — as long as you have that one golden virtue: patience. Whether you'd like to take the truth for what it is or not, it isn't possible to succeed in life without a little bit of luck. You can work your ass off for your entire life, but if you live a life void of all good fortune, then you will never achieve success.
If you are never dealt a winning hand, you will never win — that's the sad truth. But, thankfully, the odds of being dealt a winner at least once in your life are tilted significantly in your favor. The only thing that remains is playing that hand once it has been dealt to you.
This is where strategy comes in. The only strategy that is guaranteed to work is finding what you love and working that passion, developing it and allowing it to grow to the point where your skills alone become deserving of recognition.
Once you reach the point where your art screams beautiful execution, once you become a true creator, having control of every detail of your production, then you will be ready to get lucky. Now you will just need to continue doing what you do for long enough to catch that wave.
Trends come and go; they remain in a constant state of flux. As long as you are constantly developing your passion and become skilled at your art — skill always being necessary for praise — then the winds of trend are bound to blow the wave of "hip" and "cool" in your direction.
As long as your work reflects whom you define yourself as a person, then you will begin to build a fan base; we are all loveable and therefore if our work is a projection of our being into a form tangible by the senses, then your work, like you yourself, will be recognized and loved.
Once you begin to lead the pack, you only have to allow your work to continue to develop and grow as you yourself do as a person; your fans will grow alongside you. Art cannot be forced. It cannot be created in order to live in fame because pieces that are created for that purpose fizzle and die — then get tagged as one-hit-wonders.
Stay true to yourself, develop your skillset, keep your passion burning and you will have your moment. Recognition is not something that can be rushed; it comes when the wave comes. You just need to be sure you are prepared to ride it.
Paul Hudson | Elite.
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