I subscribe to the Farnam Street newsletter and recently there was a quote that I am going to share here:
Recognizing that people’s reactions don’t belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you’ve created, terrific. If people ignore what you’ve created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you’ve created, don’t sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest – as politely as you possibly can – that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.—Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the book “Eat, Pray, Love” which I haven’t yet read because the word “Pray” kind of scares me off. However, I like the calls to “Eat” and to “Love” so I might give the book a try anyway.
Elizabeth also did a TED talk, which is one of my favorite TED talks, and I have watched it a couple of times.
In the talk, she says that after the success of “Eat, Pray, Love” people approached her and said: “Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to be able to top that?”
And what stuck with me is when she said:
I’m pretty young, I’m only about 40 years old. I still have maybe another four decades of work left in me. (…) It’s exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me.
That’s scary. What if my greatest success is behind me? And I haven’t even achieved anything that amazing. I have just a few moderate successes: my “Not Today” design, our “Hidden Paws” game. What if nothing I make will top that?
Elizabeth has an answer. It’s in the quote cited at the beginning, “stubbornly continue making yours [art]”. And in the TED talk when she says, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job.”
I like this attitude. Create things — that’s your job. Everything else is out of your hands.