When we think of ‘going big’, we see ourselves starting a thing or creating art that effects jillions (yes, jillions) of people.
It was really bizarre. I went to my first Dave Matthews Band concert this past weekend (don’t judge) at the famed Gorge Amphitheater. As great as it was to finally see one of my favorite artists live, the venue itself was a spiritually excavating setting.
27,000 people. On a grassy hillside. Overlooking the Columbia River in eastern Washington. Incredible.
At one time, I started thinking… “Damn. This is a lot of people gathered in one extremely remote location across three days for the admiration of a few dudes. And it’s only a small fraction of their following.”
This took me down the rabbit hole of — “Wow, there’s about 25,000 people who follow Higher Thoughts. Like, all these people in this huge venue.” (Not that every single one of them would show up for me in the boonies of Washington — but stay with me here and let me dream.)
When I got back, I couldn’t get this picture out of my mind. Like everyone at the Gorge was sitting on the other side of my computer screen, waiting for me to hit Publish.
After some initial stress and heart palpitations, an insight struck…
A particular passage from Montaigne arose (which I had to look up for accuracy-sake)…
You and one companion are audience enough for each other; so are you for yourself. For you, let the crowd be one, and one be a crowd… You should no longer be concerned with what the world says of you but with what you say to yourself. Withdraw into yourself, but first prepare yourself to welcome yourself there. It would be madness to entrust yourself to yourself, if you did not know how to govern yourself. There are ways of failing in solitude as in society.
This is the work we have in front of us. Inner-approval first and foremost. Your audience is you. Always. (Everything I write is just as much for me as it is for you 😁)
I don’t want to see you explode on the scene. I want to see you implode and create from within.
If you’re creating something that you find useful/enjoyable, keep at it. But if you’re chasing the audience without paying homage to your soul, something will ALWAYS be missing (no matter how many people are standing on that grassy hillside hoping you don’t lose your voice at the end of your tour).
I want you to be so gung-ho about what you’re bringing to the world that you can be elated with it even while the world around you is rolling their eyes.
Implode. Go within. Light yourself afire.
Sure… Take the occasional peek to see who might be paying attention. But never forget where the true audience lies.