Popular is a paradox. Why, do you ask? Perhaps ask yourself these questions.
Are you being true to yourself? Are your ideas, dreams, goals, and work reflective of your own unique creative expression? Do you aim towards a successful life or a life being successful for your inner creative abilities?
There are copious amounts of advice that preach the validity of being true to yourself. Yet, in reality, it is the mass produced popular ideas and products that succeed. It’s a fine tightrope that we all walk in our desire to find creative success. Many people quit and go for the easy way out by pursuing the latest trend.
Seth Godin wrote a great blog addressing this issue. Read it and I’m sure you’ll agree that he has articulated this topic beautifully.
The paradox of popular
Most things are liked because they’re popular.
I know that seems to be a redundancy, but it’s worth decoding.
Pop music, for example, is a must-listen among certain populations because that’s what “everyone else” is listening to, and being in sync is the primary benefit on offer.
The paradox, of course, is that you have to walk through a huge valley of unpopular before you arrive at the population that will embrace you because that’s the thing to do.
The focus on mass acceptance, on the big company or the mass market embracing you, distracts from the difficult work of being embraced by people who lead, not follow.