You get an idea, you make something and what’s the first thing you want to do? Tell someone about it, right? Are they usually as excited about your idea or creation as you? Probably not.
You might feed off of this and lose a bit of your original excitement. Maybe you push through and the next time you have a brilliant idea or make a work of art, you rush to show someone once again and maybe this time they focus on the one thing wrong with it out of the hundred things right with it and you walk away determined to continue with your idea despite what others think but you also possibly decide not to talk about it so much with them.
Fast forward a few years into the future and we often find a once creative ball of energy glued to a screen watching other people exert their energy and create things that can only now be thought of as miraculous and the product of luck, connections and god-given talent. Any ideas are kept inside and any creative works are hidden away for the occasional person thought to be supportive enough and nice enough to show them to.
What happens to many of us over time is that we become the effect of the things people say or don’t say. We see how people can be, with their body mannerisms and their silence when shown something we think is awesome and they don’t. After many experiences like this we might come to the conclusion that our ideas or work are not good enough and that people should be approached with caution. In other words, we become fearful and withdraw. But the funny thing is that this does not keep someone safe, instead they go right into the most dangerous place of all, solitary confinement. It’s what keeps every single person on Earth from achieving the success they are really looking for. It’s not fame and fortune; it’s a pat on the back, it’s a thumbs up, it’s a look of admiration — it’s what we feel from other people.
The reason someone is not successful has everything to do with their ability to confront and communicate with other human beings. Are there mean people? Are there jerks and assholes? Are there criminals and liars? Yes, totally. However, most people are not. Are they sometimes lacking in enthusiasm? Do they make mistakes and say the wrong things? Are they sometimes too engrossed in their own problems that they fail to fully pay attention to what’s going on with others around them? Yes, of course.
Super, awesome people do exist but they are few and far between. If you’re expecting everyone to readily accept your ideas and your art and validate the hell out of your hard work and brilliance, you’re going to be sadly disappointed a majority of the time. It does happen, but not as often as we all want it to.
So what does this all mean?
It means that no matter what you are trying to accomplish or what you have to sell or what message you are attempting to deliver, you are trying to do these things with other human beings, who are not saints, who are not super human and who might just say or do the wrong thing and you have to be understanding of this to have any success with anything.
I don’t care if you’re trying to break through as a novelist or be the best damn stay at home mom in the world or create the next killer app, you will have to interact with and communicate with other human beings to win.
No man is an island all to himself and you wouldn’t want to be. What makes life great is that everyone is unique. There is no one else exactly like you. You are different, literally. So, of course it will be a challenge to talk to and connect with other people.
Everyone has their own backstory, their own set of experiences and their own reality about things. You’re not trying to get everyone to be like you or like what you like, you just need to communicate with enough people about your idea or your work to find the ones they will resonate with. But if you let the few mean and ornery individuals out there get to you, and if you allow their criticisms and negativity to seep into your purposes and goals, you will never push through enough to reach the awesome people, the ones open to communication and willing to check your stuff out.
People often view what happens online in a very strange way. They sometimes see their friends or followers or subscribers as an anonymous, blurry mass of a concept rather than as real human beings. The way to win at it is not to simply throw out content and post links. The real way to win is through one on one human connection and interaction.
When you personally communicate to someone online or in the real world doesn’t that mean more than something you look at that was sent to a bunch of people all at once? Doesn’t it mean something when someone sends you a direct message rather than just clicking like on a post?
People are so focused on building a large audience and getting the most out of their posts but the real game is not in the inflated numbers of likes, tweets, followers etc. The real game is building genuine relationships that are built on more than a superficial clicking of a like button. They are built on friendship, good will, support, help and all the best things about people.
You want to really crush it in your lifetime? Want to realize all of your potential and walk through life fearless and overflowing with confidence? Do right by people. Build something real between you and those you communicate with. Look for ways you can help others rather than how others can help you. Be the embodiment of what a friend should be to the greatest number of people.
Is it hard? Will it take a lot of time? Will it cost you? Yep, but all the best things worth pursuing always do. However, what’s the alternative? What kind of world do you actually want to live in? One where people aren’t being real and aren’t actually talking and listening to each other? Or do you want to live in a world full of meaning and genuine communication where people freely create and ideas are easily received? The world is truly being built as we speak.
Communicate, but make sure you’re keeping it real. People are easy to find, especially with hashtags and profiles, but the hard thing is getting them to care. It takes work and persistence but the solution is super simple. Care about other people and they’ll end up caring about you. Now go communicate with them!
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I'm David Carus. From overcoming one of the most dangerous cities in the country and graduating from one of the most prestigious colleges in America to leading an educational movement as a teacher and running for Congress at the age of 25, I decided the best hope our world has is through art.