The creative act of rebirth

Image: Simon Matzinger

The Rolling Stones have been doing the same thing for 52 years. They figured out a schtick that worked and they’ve just rinse-repeated for decades.

As popular as they are, how many of you are waiting on the edge of your seat for their new album to come out? Am I the only one who’d rather just listen to their Greatest Hits (again)?…

Don’t you think it’s sort of sad, even if it’s made them rich beyond their wildest dreams?

Then you have other performers who have consciously killed off the prior version of themselves in order to be reborn into the newer, more authentic version of themselves.

Steve Martin comes to mind in this category. When he wanted to step into the life of the Steve Martin who sold out stadiums, he had to kill off the street busking magician. When he got there, he knew he didn’t want to be doing the same show for several more decades (although he probably could have). Instead, he consciously walked away from the epic comedy shows to do movies. Next, he killed off the movie version of himself to become a playwright. He did the same thing when he wanted to make playing the banjo his thing. Who knows what he’ll do next.

I find Martin’s example endlessly more intriguing (people like Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan also come to mind in this category). This is what I believe art to be.

Art is a human act, a generous contribution, something that might not work, and it is intended to change the recipient for the better, often causing a connection to happen.
- Seth Godin

I believe the key part of the above quote is something that might not work (although, without the other qualities he mentions, even that falls short).

Martin and people like him are true artists because they look fear in the face and choose the love that comes from stepping into the evolution of their soul and embracing the thing that might not work.

Here, they say… Take my Greatest Hits album. It’s for you. But I’m doing this thing now. If you don’t want to come along, that’s fine. But I’m being born again in this new thing and this is where I’m going.

Art is the fearlessness of listening to the evolution of your soul and stepping into it knowing that it might not work.

To listen to and follow the evolution of your soul… To let it take your art to that next uncertain and terrifying stage…

This… Is bold. 
This… Is interesting. 
This… Is remarkable. 
This… Is who I want to follow around.


HT to James Altucher and his most recent Seth Godin interview for the inspiration.


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