Your Art May Never Go Viral or Change the World — Make It Anyway

If a piece of art is born and nobody sees it — does it mean anything?

Does it matter?

Sometimes, we hold ourselves back from the things we want to do because we’re afraid of what might happen — or rather, what might not happen. We don’t create that story, or write that song, or pursue that idea because we don’t think it will mean anything. We judge our work’s value before it even has the chance to exist. What’s the point? we ask. It doesn’t matter if I make this if nobody is going to care. If nobody gives a shit, why should I bother? I’ll just be wasting my time.

There are a thousand things I have yet to make or finish because on some level, I’m always fighting the fear that nobody will care in the end, and it won’t make a difference.

That it won’t matter.

But while it’s natural and beautiful for us to want to do work that matters, to make art that’s worth sharing and connecting over —

I still think that every piece of art we make legitimately exists and matters.

And we should make it — regardless of whether or not anyone else cares.

Because you see, every time you make art, it fundamentally is being seen and experienced by you. You are the observer, observing yourself, witnessing what you create, as you create it.

The act of making art is art itself.

The question isn’t whether or not anyone else cares about your art.

The question is, do YOU care?

Does it matter to you? Does it bring you joy? Does it leave you fulfilled, give you release? Does it change you, challenge you, grow you, evolve you? Does it connect you more deeply to who you really are?

Does it make you feel alive?

Because if the answer is yes to any of those questions, then believe me:

Making your art matters, even if no one ever sees it.

Even if no one seems to care.

Because while the world may not be looking at your art

it sure as hell is looking at you.

And while your work may not connect with this person, or that person, or that other person, or whomever…

The art you make will always connect with one particular person.

And that’s you.

Making your art connects you more deeply with yourself.

And the more connected you are with yourself?

The more connected you can be with others.

So even if your art doesn’t connect?

By the sheer act of making your art and living your art — you will connect.

You, thinking, feeling, breathing human, will be the one to connect with somebody else.

And this kind of connection won’t just be some fleeting, feel-good attention.

It won’t just be mere appreciation of you, or your art, either.

Instead, this kind of connection will reverberate deep within your bones, and feel more like revelation. Like profound recognition. Recognition of yourself, and of another human being; of yourself within another human being, and another human being within you.

The kind of connection that always feels so raw, honest, and tenderly human.

And I’ll take that kind of connection over applause, any day.

Because ultimately?

You, and your life, are your greatest works of art. You are living art, art itself; a moving, breathing vessel of your greatest, living masterpiece.

And when you make your art regardless of whether or not anyone cares, but because you care, you inherently say to yourself and to the world that you give a shit about yourself.

That you are worth giving a shit about.

That you, one among billions of people, matter.

Because the truth is, every single one of us matters. Every single piece of our stories, ideas, thoughts, emotions, experiences, desires, matters. But it’s up to us to talk about them. To give life to them. To stand up for them. To believe in them. To believe in ourselves. And to tirelessly fight the voice in our heads that’s always telling us we shouldn’t, we don’t, we won’t, we can’t, we aren’t.

No. We are. We can. We should.

We must.

So all those things you always wanted to do?

You take all that fear of not mattering, of not being liked, of not being understood, of not being appreciated, of not being seen, of not being heard, and you breathe it, and you feel it — and you make sure you do it all anyway.

Do what you want — really, truly want — anyway.

Make all the art you ever wanted to make anyway.

Maybe it won’t change the world. It doesn’t matter.

Because it is changing you.

The very act of making your art, in spite of all the resistance you feel around you and inside you — is changing you.

And the you that stands up for what you believe in, that steps into your joy; the you that claims your power and greatness, the you that is endlessly growing and evolving; the you that is connected irrevocably, unmistakably, to your truest, fullest self and has come exquisitely, magnetically alive?

That’s exactly who the world needs to exist—

for it to ever change at all.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s leading publication for entrepreneurs and startups.

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