Creating for success vs. creating for oneself

There’s a delicate balance between creating for success, and creating for oneself—creating for the sake of creating.

There’s something powerful about creating with success in mind—or creating with the hopes to “make it.” Little else can drive you more eagerly into self knowledge. Little else can make you more readily endure discomfort. Little else can force you to acknowledge that you alone are responsible for your success or failure. Creating with success in mind is as strong of a vehicle for self improvement as anything.

But if you only create with success in mind, your work will suffer, and so will you. You’ll drive yourself into a downward spiral: Your disappointment in your lack of success will cause you to reach for success. As you reach for success, your work will disconnect from your sense of self. When your work disconnects from your sense of self, your work gets worse. Bad work drives you further from success, thus repeating the cycle.

You have to create for yourself. If you don’t find pleasure in the act of creation—and even pleasure in the uncomfortable feeling of pushing your work to greater heights—your work will be as flat as the half-drunk Coke your grandpa left in the shed out back.