We’ve all seen it, people turning on others because they’ve “sold their soul to the devil”. Bloggers bad-mouthing other bloggers over Twitter for accepting sponsored posts or being involved with brands in some way. Fans turning on indie bands when they secure a record deal and “go mainstream”. The masses rolling their eyes when an actor promotes the latest sports drink/fancy watch/perfume. We’d like to think that we’d never sell out, that if we were in the same position we’d hold onto our integrity and say no. The truth is, we probably wouldn’t.
It’s extremely hard to earn an income in the creative arts. I know dozens of talented actors, musicians and writers that are climbing the corporate ladder with a heavy heart because the bills simply need to be paid. The idea of the struggling artist seems romantic to those who haven’t experienced it firsthand. Knowing that someone loves their craft so much that they’re willing to eat 2 minute noodles and sleep on a mattress on the floor to really immerse themselves in it. It’s not romantic. It’s damn hard work.
I have a girlfriend who is a wonderful actress. She consistently gets rave reviews for her roles on stage and occasionally lands appearances on television shows and ads. She had seven casual jobs at one stage and was barely scraping through. She eventually moved back in with her parents to lighten the load. Crazy huh?
We are comfortable with those that are relatively unsuccessful in the arts because it makes us feel better about choosing a “responsible career” over our passion or (if we’re aiming for that artistic goal) relieved because we’re in the same leaky boat. But as soon as we see someone living our dream and earning a substantial income from it, our inner nasty bitch takes over.“She must have slept her way into that contract”. “They’ve sacrificed their music for the fame”.“His writing is no longer authentic because he’s getting paid to give his opinion on that product.”
If someone has consistently been delivering amazing content or producing impressive art (in any form), why do we throw them to the wolves as soon as they’re rewarded for it? There is a limit to how much work someone should have to do for free in order to establish themselves, then they bloody well deserve some recognition!
We often find it hard to acknowledge the long hours and determination that goes on behind the scenes before someone becomes a success story because we’d rather act as though it were dumb luck or that the person did something immoral to get there. This allows us to justify our own lack of success to ourselves – it was really just luck, so I probably wouldn’t have received that opportunity no matter how hard I tried. The jealousy and venom associated with Tall Poppy Syndrome comes from our own regrets.
Instead of firing harsh comments via social media or behind people’s backs about how they’ve lost their credibility, why not see their success as an inspiration? There is enough success for everyone. They haven’t stolen possible income from you or stopped you from being able to get your foot in the door. Instead they’ve shown you that it’s achievable. Learn from them. Study their game plan.They’re not the reason you didn’t follow your dream or put in the hard yards – you are. So go do something about it!