I finished Seth Godin's new book, The Icarus Deception. I like his "big ideas."
In this book, he argues that in a post-industrial economy, in which we are bombarded with media messages, we will stand out only if we give a gift to the world that is REMARKABLE. The gift, freely given from a place of urgency and pure joy, is our art.
While I don't see an effort to clearly define what "art" he means, he uses the term so broadly that it could include any creative effort that you pursue diligently, passionately, and with increasingly greater skill and insight. It requires you to face down your own fears of failure and inadequacy (which he attributes to the "lizard brain," aka the amygdala and other fear centers of the left brain, mostly).
It requires you to pursue your art even when those around you discourage you actively and more passively. It requires you to separate your art from your own self-worth, so criticism of your art does not unbalance or undermine your identity as an artist. It requires you to make better art, all the time. It requires a fearless commitment to expressing yourself in a way that sets you apart from everyone else. It makes you REMARKABLE.
He argues that our economy is one based on connectivity, provided by the world wide web, in which we now have the luxury of finding all the people who may share with us even the narrowest interest in music, photos, painting, gourmet meals, sports, fiction, poetry, gardening, woodworking, web design, crafting, fashion, home decor, architecture, research, film, theater, and every other form of creative endevour.
In the old days, an author needed to find an established publisher. Now with Kickstarter fundraising and on-line publishing tools, an artist can bring his or her work quickly to an audience. In the old days, a musician had a minuscule chance of every getting a record label to produce a commercially viable recording. Now YouTube watchers regularly discover new talent. iTunes provides the vehicle to make that new talent a commercial blockbuster. The difference now from then? The artist must use these new tools to create the audience for his or her art. She no longer needs, or should rely on, a middleman.
How exciting is that big idea? How will I apply it in my own life? I'll tell you later.