Many people equate success with being popular, though that is not the case. Of course, while sometimes the motivation to become popular leads to success, this is extremely rare and typically leads to being mediocre since you stretch yourself too thin and end up doing everything half-way and losing who you truly are. Trying to please everyone will leave you unhappy and you won’t have the same impact you would have if you stopped trying to become famous or popular and instead focused on trying to succeed in your field. You may think, “Well, isn’t that the same thing?” but it isn’t. Fame and success are very different things and success must come before fame.
The secret to succeeding is to stop trying to just get popular. In a society where we believe success is measured by fame, it can be hard to wrap your head around the fact that popularity cannot measure how successful a person is. Take a step back and look at the people you know. Typically, the smartest people you know will be the ones who keep the lowest profile while the most widely known people might not be the most intelligent or talented but are very good at keeping people around and being influential.
Now, this is not to discredit low-profile people or people who keep a high-profile. It is simply to say that you can’t always trust the voices that are the loudest. People who don’t know what they’re talking about tend to shout to make others feel like they must be right if they’re talking that loud. It’s a little nerve-wracking to think that the most known people in whatever industry you’re in may not actually be the ones you should be listening to. It can be hard to find one of the smaller people though, since you never know who is right and who is just shouting to the wind, hoping to get famous.
There’s a question you should ask yourself. Do you want to be famous or do you want to be successful? Your success doesn’t have to mean simply raking in the cash, but you don’t want to measure your own success by fame either. Of course, the world of celebrities is full of people who haven’t done anything of huge significance but still managed to gain fame. Society doesn’t need another pretty face with nothing else to offer, it needs your intelligence, your art, whatever makes you unique to the world.
So, you’ve picked success over fame. Now, what next? You must fall in love with what you do and the work you must do, and not fall in love with the results. This translates to every industry. Whether you are a singer, painter, website designer, whatever it is you do, you have to love what you do so you can continue to do it well.
Think of some of the most famous people. Vincent van Gogh was not appreciated during his time but is now one of the most well-known artists. James Joyce was called unintelligible in his time. Harper Lee wrote only one book but it is now read by freshman across the U.S. every single year. Create your art for YOU instead of making it for those who may or may not appreciate your brand of genius.
Finally, you must hone your craft. Sometimes in the world, it can be easy to just sit back and do nothing and somehow still gain a following. However, if you want to leave a legacy and stick around on the top, you have to actually practice. Of course, you can still blog and publish your work while practicing, but you should always strive to get better instead of focusing of promoting yourself. Success takes time and work and practice, hours upon hours of practice, but you will make it. Never forget, you will make it.