If you wish in this world to advance,
Your merits you're bound to enhance;
You must stir it and stump it
And blow your own trumpet,
Or trust me, you haven't a chance.
-William Schwenck Gilbert
Do we create in order to be visible or do we create in order to be valuable? Do we want to succeed primarily out of a need to impress others, gain celebrity and public acclaim - or do we create because what we do is our passion; it is who we are?
It is best to pursue our creative aspirations because of an intrinsic, gnawing, relentless drive to do so - a desire to contribute something we truly believe has value - something of which we are proud. We believe that our creative enterprise is enduring and worthwhile. Our measure of ourselves and our creativity is internally based and not reliant on public visibility or on the opinions of others.
Creative people have the capacity to look outside themselves and to see their work and their world as bigger than themselves. They are not fearful of following their hunches or trying new things lest they become visible failures. They have the courage to create their way.
Even though success is seldom a guarantee, that lack of certainty should not present an obstacle to continuing along the creative path or paths they have chosen. Even more than public recognition (which at times, can be self-affirming) truly creative people derive joy and satisfaction from doing work that is meaningful to them - work that is fulfilling and often, in fact, a calling.
Doing something in order to be visible - visibly educated, visibly creative, visibly virtuous, visibly rich, instead of out of interest, passion and caring is a creativity cruncher. The joy in the doing is reduced - often, in fact, can be barely there. The headiness of exploration can be supplanted by creative anxiety and stultification of creative growth which results when intuitions or hunches are followed with spontaneity and daring - leading to creative leaps in work and an abundance of creativity. Granted, there is seldom a guarantee that these leaps will succeed.
All too often, there is confusion about whose image is best, rather than about being excellent at what we do and creating something of substance. Furthermore, those who become celebrities, are continually worried about losing their fragile fame. Eventually, they might mature into realizing that true creative quality is not about impressing others. Instead, it is about perfecting what they do, being self-challenging and committed to improvement. Being valuable is far more important than being visible.