The Battle Of Self: How To Stop Your Ego From Destroying Your Talent
In the world of Art, it is very easy to fall prey to almost anything. An artist paints, draws, writes, sings or dances the essence of their being into the world around them. They take their blood, sweat and tears and hand it to the world to enjoy and critique. It is simple to fall to the wayside of your hopes and dreams when the going gets rough. And, even when the ‘going’ is more or less smooth and successful, it is still just as easy to look around at the world around you and become the victim of it. Even worse, it is even easier to become a victim of yourself. You become prey to your own ego, and because the danger is coming from within your own spirit, it may not seem like danger at all. So, how does one stay balanced and centered in such a rocky, shaky world? It’s not easy, but it is possible.
For starters, stop making the art about you. Don’t make your gift and your talent about you. I make sure to continuously remind myself that I was given this talent by G-d. That being the case, it isn’t really about me, is it? It’s about Him. If it’s about Him, and I’m doing this for a greater purpose than my own self esteem, it is easier to handle whatever gets thrown my way. I am a vessel for the writing to come into the world. It comes through me and out of me, and is therefore not my concern. Though it is my great passion in life, I have learned that making it all about me is probably the worst thing I could possibly do. 1) Don’t make your art about yourself. Make it yours; own it, but don’t hold it captive.
Don’t compare yourself to others. (2). Thank G-d, in the two weeks since Shattered Illusions was released, I have seen success and happy readers. But, that doesn’t stop me from constantly comparing myself to others. It doesn’t help that the rest of the world is encouraging the comparison. ‘Didn’t so and so make a this much during the first week of release?’ ‘Didn’t so and so make it to the NY Times on the day of release?’ Nothing will be enough for them or for you until you become content and happy with who you are. Comparing yourself to others who you know very little to nothing about is as about unhealthy as it gets. Sure, it’s human nature to look at others and find your own faults in their successes, but that doesn’t make it right. If you are content with yourself, and truly happy with where you stand, you won’t feel a need to compare yourself to others. So, just stop it.
Also, (3), googling yourself and checking your social media sites every thirty seconds is a bad idea. Been there, done that. Inflating your ego may seem like a fun thing to do, but that is exactly the opposite of what this process should be. This process is not (or should not) be about making you feel grand and superior. Art should be humbling. Creating art should deflate the ego, not the other way around. Creating something of so much depth should not cause a person to become haughty. Success is fine, as long as you ground yourself and keep your head locked on tight. You don’t want to end up like a balloon, floating aimlessly through the world. That brings me back to number 1: Don’t make the art about you.
So, really, it all comes down to the ego. The lovely little ego that holds you prison. You become a slave to yourself without realizing because it seems so natural. It’s almost like being in a prison cell with the keys inside. They sit in the palm of your hands and yet you choose not to do anything to remove yourself from an incarcerating state. Ego is not necessarily a bad thing, it just depends what you do with it. Stop making your ego about yourself, and use it for the sake of others. Use “I” for the sake of the world around you. Use your ego in order to better the world, not just bettering yourself. Step out of your frame, out of your bubble and your comfort zone, and do something for someone else. Your talents will shine all the more brighter when stop making your talents about you.
One of my favorite Daily Dose quotes (written by Tzvi Freeman) highlights this sickness we have with our egos:
Get out of your prison cell and go do something great to change the world. Make yourself a vessel with which the world at large will benefit. It’s not easy, but oh, will it make a difference.