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I am doing art but nobody is watching

Obscurity Capital

OBSCURITY CAPITAL@2x

The Context

The skills of ownership, discipline, patience and innovation are key to becoming prolific. Both in the entrepreneur world and in the corporate arena. If you're given the gift of obscurity in the early days of your professional development, make a meal out of it. Fall in love with the process and do something amazing anyway. Even if not a soul is listening. And trust that meaningful groundwork is being laid. Obscurity gives you license to experiment in ways you wouldn't do if people were watching closely.

The Tool

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Obscurity Capital

OBSCURITY CAPITAL — A level of psychological wealth built through the practice of private, creative freedom

For any creative person to become what they ultimately hope to become requires long periods of obscurity with little or no payout or payoff. This is why love is so essential. Because if you don't love it, it means you're doing it for some imaginary audience whose applause will never come. On the other hand, think about how you could you liberate yourself through the blessing of no boundaries.

My college experience centered around the campus radio station. Everything from running the marketing team to writing and producing commercials to setting up remote broadcasts, redhawk radio was the perfect productive obsession to sink my teeth into. The highlight of that project was hosting my own radio show. Sunday mornings was The Acoustic Buffet, our weekend showcase for stripped down versions of popular and obscure nineties rock songs. My friends called me crazy. Why in the hell would anyone want to host a radio show during that timeslot? And who would even be listening anyway? The entire student body was passed out, hungover or still drunk at that time. Which was true. But considering I was one of the only sober people on campus, it was a perfect fit. What else was there for me to do? Sunday mornings were full of energy and inspiration. In fact, precisely because nobody was listening made the process even more satisfying. Because it liberated me from having to worry about the audience. No listeners meant no criticism. No criticism meant no boundaries. I was winking in the dark, and nobody could stop me from messing with format, spinning obscure records, making my own commercials, failing quietly and improving my skills as a broadcaster and engineer. Sunday morning allowed me to execute the show according to my exact vision. My thought was, hell, nobody's listening anyway, why not go for broke? Fast forward to the end of the year, and the radio station presented me with the annual award for best new program. Not because everybody knew about it, but because somebody committed to it.

The Rest

Obscurity capital is about trust and patience. Having faith in the process of building something of our own, from whole cloth, inch by inch, word by word, brick by brick. Remember, to become what we ultimately hope to become often takes long periods of obscurity. And so, even if the thrill is gone, even if you don’t always have time to be patient, find ways to stay in the game so you can outlive the critics and still be around when the world is ready for you. How long are we willing to keep doing it before the right people notice?

The Benefits

Hone your technical skills by failing quietly
Practice executing your exact vision without criticism or hindrance
Create a safe zone of experimentation for your ideas
Build your resilience to withstand creative struggles in the future

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