I was emailed by a subscriber recently who brought up, in my view, one of the most significant questions that we face as artists and entrepreneurs.
All around us we see other great artists; other people starting businesses; people with incredible talent; beautiful products; people making average work; competition, noise. Stuff. Everywhere.
People in every corner of the planet are this very second working away at something new to bring into existence. They are adding one last brush stroke to a painting. They are typing in the first line of code for a new app. They are writing the last crucial page of that novel.
Or like some of us, they aren’t doing a thing because all this noise stops us in our tracks.
If there is so much stuff out there, so many goods and services and products and great art, why does the world need yet more stuff?
This is the question I received from my reader. Why bother?
This for me is a huge question because if we don’t know how to answer it, it could mean that we never make that step.
But yes, why bother? If we never invented that new widget thing, would the world end?
Does the world need what we create?
Well, no. The world doesn’t really need us. Nothing you will ever create is really necessary, in the wider picture.
This can be a sobering fact until you realize that this is only true when you underestimate the potential of one single person.
Think about moments in your life where you were really inspired to create something. Very often, a single individual provided that spark of encouragement.
For me, whether it’s the playful writing of Roald Dahl, the film-making skill of Ridley Scott, the courage of Martin Luther King Jr, or even the charisma of particular classmates in school, all have impacted my life in a good way.
The list goes on. There is no end to the range and contribution that various people have had on my life.
In a world as full of people as it is, isn’t it marvellous that one person can change the way you act and think so significantly?
En mass, the world is a seething, noisy conglomerate of chaos.
But seen from a new perspective – we can see that individual humans are what make this world the way it is. Individuals can possess an enormous power of influence on every one of us.
Influence need not be felt at a global level, of course, and the value of people are seen in all spheres and in all corners.
So when we wonder to ourselves whether the world needs yet more of our creativity, even more of what we can contribute, it does – but on one condition.
We need to be doing what makes us come alive.
This is where your true value as an individual manifests itself.
This is where the world needs us. The world doesn’t need stuff. The world doesn’t need more art.
The world needs more people who come alive through making art.
When we look at the world through this prism, what we see is that very few people are really alive. This is the real currency. And it is in massive demand. Very few people are truly awake, who use their energy in a positive way.
Very few people do what it takes to produce passionately at a rate consistent enough to get noticed. And this is what is required of us.
We are inspired, not by the work we see hanging in galleries. We are not inspired by the music we hear per se. We are not brought to life by the buildings we see around town. We are inspired because we have discovered someone who has found their outlet for expression that resonates with us too.
I’m currently living in Bangkok, Thailand. Recently I had a dentist’s appointment in the Silom district of downtown. When I got there I found myself staring straight up at the tallest new building in the neighbourhood – the MahaNakhon.
With it’s notable share of fashionable and bold architectural achievements, does Bangkok really need another tall, quirky building? Not really. It does and it doesn’t.
But the point is that I felt inspired looking up at the building, because I was seeing the result of someone who was living with aliveness and purpose, and had the courage to share that creation with the world.
When more people are living with purpose and are able to use the energy this generates for positive ends, then great things happen.
So create and contribute, because it will bring you to life, but do so while earning enough to keep it sustainable, and more.
As I always say, get your needs met first. Do what you need to do for enough money, shelter and food, then do what energises you, and keep doing it. You might not know what that is yet. But you will find out when you try a few things and stick to it.
The world needs more people who do what they do for themselves. They do it for their own spirit.
You need to do it for your own spirit, and then you need to share that spirit with the world.
The energy you bring to what you do will flood into others like a nourishing virus.
If you can find that thing that raises your frequency, then you will know that the world needs what you do.