Greatness Requires Courage & Courage Requires STRENGTH…
“We both had strength, but not courage. We both
committed the same kind of treason somewhere…”
~ Ayn Rand
Greatness requires courage, and courage requires strength. By this, I mean that your talents, abilities, independent judgment and sense of self-direction aren’t simply assets, but obligations as well, in that they require a certain strength of mind (and strength of character) in order to exhibit themselves and sustain their purity over time.
I mean that there’s a betrayal that occurs – a subtle type of internal disloyalty – not only when we fail to strive, but worse: when we rearrange or attenuate our abilities to suit the tastes, ideals or dictates of others. I mean that we denounce ourselves when we adapt our artistic talents to current market trends in a search for commercial success, or mutate our ideals to current political or ideological trends in a search for social acceptance.
For instance, if I were to reformat (or repurpose) my book, perhaps by re-titling it something pathetically common like “The Secrets to Conquer Success: 7 Hidden Techniques Famous Artists Used To Make it Big,” I’d probably sell a lot more copies, but I’d also be selling away something far more important (and irreplaceable): the honor inherit within the expression of my unique intelligence…that which makes me, “me.”
I have a TON of friends who rhyme, paint, DJ, act, perform stand-up comedy, or otherwise express themselves artistically who constantly run up against this same challenge, and it requires them to make a decision which they often stagnate indecisively between.
Remember 2 Things
To help you make this decisions – because that’s what it ultimately boils down to, a decisions best made CONSCIOUSLY, and deliberately – remember that (1) we live in a capitalistic society. While capitalism allows us a level of freedom and a standard of living hitherto unforeseen, to transduce or convert what’s essentially a unique, creative or artistic expression into a commercially or economically viable one, one often must “product-tize,” simplify or bastardize its constitution.
Also, remember that (2) something can’t be conducive to what, by its very own nature, it is not.. That is, if you have an artistic strength – if you love rhyming, painting, stand-up comedy or whatever – and you’re aiming (primarily) to get something from it BESIDES the joy of the craft itself, you’ll most likely sacrifice the integrity and purity of the creative art in order to secure the financial gain; in order to turn “lead into the gold” if you will. (Or, in this case, “gold into lead.”)
This is what I mean when by, “Greatness requires courage, and courage requires strength.” The capacities that make you great – the talents, proclivities and unique, creative intelligence that compose and guide your individuality – require a strength of character, an internalized courageousness, in order to remain what they are.
They are, without question, your greatest assets: if you’re willing to trade them in for material success, or for anything whatsoever, have no doubt as to the nature of such an exchange…
Discover more great insights, techniques, strategies and wisdom for self-mastery and artistic success in my new book, How to Conquer Yourself: Discipline & Willpower for the Conscious, Creative Thinker, available on on Amazon here. (For autographed and personally-dedicated copies, delivered much faster, click here)