Thursday, March 14, 2013

Missed Opportunities

Abound. Missed opportunities abound. It's funny how shit folds back on itself, the learning cycle - unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, unconscious competence - and so forth.

A couple of years ago I determined that all the artists' I respects advice boils down to 'Do the work'. After a long toil, and perhaps a lap of that learning cycle, I have come to the same conclusion. Here's why:

In certain situations you can say that two errors can be observed, type 1 - saying 'No' when you should say 'Yes' and type 2 - saying 'Yes' when you should say 'No'.

Broadly this could apply to any opportunity, but let's look at creative arts - a type 1 error you can see anywhere virtually any day of the week, unrecognised talent - that really cool piece of art on the back wall of the bar you are drinking in, or the really cool band playing in the bar you are drinking in. The big-time in both cases hasn't found these artists, and said 'Yes' to them.

Type 1 errors aren't controversial, everybody recognises the struggle in the arts, that few make it, and you should concentrate your efforts on getting a respectable job and paying off a mortgage.

Type 2 errors though contribute to the creative environment and it really fucks shit up, few people think about or understand them, even though you would have conversed about a type 2 error many a time. In a regular office this commonly happens when a manager makes a bad hire, they pick the wrong person for the job, I could write pages of speculative theory as to all that is wrong with recruitment, business and education.

I'll instead get back to the creative field, people who are successful that are not very 'good'. One reason it doesn't get discussed, debated or talked about much is because any core meaning to the error will be thrown out with the subjective bathwater. Start with movies though and you have less subjective examples - movies that tank, bomb, that do not live up to the hype. There's movies like Oprah's 'Beloved' that tanked at the box office, and then there's movies like ID4 that are successful at the box office despite being massive pieces of shit, and the type 2 error only comes out with the passage of time.

Stuff gets picked, by gallareys, by record companies, by producers all the time for various reasons that simply fails to succeed, or succeeds arbitrarily - for a while.

Type 2 errors highlight that much of 'success' is arbitrary. The difficult type 2 errors are the stuff that is successful despite on a subjective level being seemingly 'shit' that demonstrates that some decision makers, some outlets have a degree of immunity, they are influential to the point that they can make anything succeed.

Now to try and bring it all back to 'doing the work', if you are aspiring to be an artist, in any form or medium, you are looking at a field not only with people who should succeed but for whatever reason haven't, but people who have succeeded but in some point in your gut, 'shouldn't'. And it's fucking confusing.

The truth is, there's not much to learn, I mean there's a lot to learn, but like trying to ascertain any 'meaning' of life, there is no formula for success that you can figure out.

The industry in whatever form applies to you, will miss a lot of opportunities, as will you. The thing to do is just work. What is your motivation? To 'succeed' if you succeed as a type 2, you will never feel successful. Your motivation should be because you love it, it's an addiction, you are compelled to do nothing else, the work itself is it's own reward. To be great as you can be.

It will be subject to an emotional rollercoaster as to whether you get that recognition, validation and material support that bundles together into what may loosely serve as 'success' but the fact is your job, your mission is to grow and get better, to bridge the gap between the art you create in your head and the art you can create with your hands.

Create enough opportunities for somebody to say 'Yes' to you, and it will happen and it won't be an error at all.

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