Learning from those that have come before us is the key to success in life. If you can save yourself the growth pains, you’ll place yourself in the position to capitalize on opportunities earlier, and thus experience a longer period of compound returns.
What’s more, learning from fellow artists in different disciplines helps clarify the fundamentals to focus on. As an independent author, you are a corporation, and it’s vital you learn to manage your assets (the books you produce) accordingly. That means learning to place the financial needs of the business above your personal desires.
George Lucas, Academy Class of 1989, Full Interview
This was an excellent insight into what it means to be a success. George Lucas is likely the most influential artist of his generation, and it’s in large part due to his ability to treat his art as a business.
His insights into how to mange success are valuable to learn before success finds you. One success hits, it’s formulating a plan. This is another fundamental of business, plan for success. Lucas’s main advice was not to wallow in success, but rather keep it in arm’s length, and the place distance between yourself and events of the release. Take time to go away and be by yourself, that way you can return to learn what happened, but don’t have to live through the daily emotional rollercoaster.
Basically, don’t take it seriously, unless it comes from a source that you admired beforehand. Most of the time it’s being done as a means to teardown the work, rather than offer a reframing. Most criticism is nothing more than an opinion stated loudly. Don’t feel obliged to listen.
That being said, it’s vital you find a peer group you can receive criticism from. Art is not made in a vacuum. It requires a tribe to produce anything, from a book to a movie.
Tied into the idea of the tribe, is the understanding that cooperation is the only path to success. Competition, where your success requires the failure of another, is not a stable game. In order to find lasting success, it must be built out of a community of shared success, where each member pays it forward within the community. Helps those around you become successful and they in turn will be able to help you in the future.
“Trying to be the number one person, is ultimately a losing proposition.” – George Lucas
Obligations of Success
If you have the means to help, then now is the time to help. It’s not when you’re retired and no longer need to worry about the future, that it becomes time to buy yourself some goodwill. Give what you can, to whom you can. And in the same way as the above cooperation where you’re hoping for their success so that it can help you. Instead you give from your success to those in need solely because it makes the world a better place.
You can give of your time, knowledge, or resources, but regardless you should give.