A Theory of Everything
I feel like I’ve spent my whole life trying to find a “theory of everything” to tie all the things I most love to do together into one pursuit. Like somehow, if I get the mixture just right, I can blog and write music and create software and record podcasts and comment on the latest Apple news and produce videos and open an art gallery…all at the same time for the same audience.
I’ve finally come to realize that this is likely never going to come to pass. And that’s fine. With the wisdom that comes from experience, you begin to realize that seasons in life come and go. Sometimes you feel an urge to focus on one particular skillset, one particular customer base, one particular industry. You turn your attention onto that for a time, and then the season changes and something else comes along to light a fire in your belly.
My advice? Don’t fight it. Roll with it. Not everyone will like everything you do. Some projects you undertake will resonate with a lot of people, others perhaps not. What’s most important is that you don’t engage in self-censorship. Don’t sideline important aspects of your creative soul just because you’re afraid of how others might take it.
After George W. Bush concluded his presidency, he moved back to Texas and took up painting. Probably not the first thing anyone would have guessed he’d do next after leaving the White House, and there were plenty of people ready to scoff at the idea of President Bush at an easel with a brush in hand. But that’s exactly what he did, and it’s now a common acknowledgement—even among many of his political critics—that he’s actually a pretty good artist.
I suspect you won’t be stepping down as President to reach for the blue ochre any time soon, but it’s very probable your career as an independent creator will morph and evolve over time. Don’t do what I’ve done and agonize over every little shift in focus and interest. Embrace your insatiable curiosity! Every true artistic breakthrough is born out of discontent with the status quo…even if that status quo is your own.