Bob Baker's Artist Empowerment Blog

Are You Certain? Or Not?

Here's a thought to ponder that just might have a big impact on the way you approach creative success.

Life is filled with a combination of two things: certainty and uncertainty. Lucky for us, it is. If we were absolutely certain about everything, life would be routine and boring. If we were filled with uncertainty about everything, we'd constantly live in fear.

Having a balance between the two is healthy. The only thing is, most artists and writers (and creative people in general) have an unhealthy certainty and uncertainty balance.

Want some examples?

Common Topics Artists Are Often Certain About:

- Pursuing an independent creative career is a tough, uphill battle.
- It's not what you know, it's who you know.
- If I can't get widespread media exposure, I'm doomed.
- Without approval from an industry gatekeeper, I will wallow in obscurity for eternity.

Common Topics Artists Are Often Uncertain About:

- Do I really have what it takes to succeed as an artist?
- How can I possibly promote myself when I know very little about it?
- Do I even deserve to reach my artistic dreams?
- How can I compete with so many other talented artists?

Here's the thing, all of these thoughts of certainty and uncertainty are merely personal perceptions. In other words, they're choices that each person makes. So, if you get to choose, why not put a more empowering spin on your choices?

What if you were to reverse the categories above? What if you had a sense of certainty about your ability to promote yourself and find your unique place in the world of successful artists?

You might not know how you're going to get there, but you can still embrace a feeling of confident expectation that you will arrive. You do the same thing when you drive somewhere you've never been before. You may not be familiar with the route, but you "know" that you will get there.

And what if you cultivated a less certain attitude toward industry rules and traditions? What if you asked, "Do I really need widespread media exposure to reach my fans?" or "Might I enjoy an independent, do-it-yourself career more than the traditional path?" or "How can I make promotion fun instead of a hardship?"

Keep a watchful eye on the way you process your world. And when you find yourself latching on to a certainty or an uncertainty, ask that most powerful of questions ...

What if ...?

Doing so will greatly increase your odds of reaching your dreams. And that's one thing I am certain about!


On George Carlin & Al Gore

Pardon the off-topic post, but this is a topic I feel compelled to write about.

At first glance, George Carlin and Al Gore don't seem to have a lot in common, but I think they do. About 15 years ago, Carlin recorded a hilarious routine called "The Planet Is Fine." Go here to read the full text, but here's an excerpt:

We're so self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great.

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles ... hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages ... And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

We're going away. Pack your shit, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam ... The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed.

Carlin's point was that the environmentalist slogan should have been changed from "Save the Planet" to "Save Our Own Asses." Last week that idea was driven home a lot further when I saw the film "An Inconvenient Truth," the new documentary that chronicles Al Gore's mission to make people aware of the real consequences that humans are beginning to witness after decades of short-sighted treatment of the Earth's atmosphere.

There are no tree huggers, no pleas to be kind to Mother Nature. Gore simply shows -- using a nice blend of humor and facts -- how global warming, melting ice caps, and rising CO2 levels are having a real effect on people's lives -- and how things will only get worse for humans if we continue to ignore the changes taking place.

See "An Inconvenient Truth." Keep an open mind. Decide for yourself how important this issue is.

Or at least take 90 minutes to learn how a future generation may be shaken off the Earth like a bad case of fleas.

Here's a trailer for the movie at YouTube:

And here's Gore being interviewed by David Letterman:

Again, see the movie. Keep an open mind. And decide for yourself how important it is.