When I look back over my life so far (46 years) I find that much of it was wasted waiting for approval. This need for approval is a very disempowering trait as it holds back creativity and forces us to conform to family and social patterns that many times do not take into account our individual abilities or wishes. It is a fact that no matter what you do in life or how sensitive you may be to others you will always upset someone. The human race is so I’m told in excess of 6 billion people and I would contend than not one of those 6 billion people could agree in most cases on anything.
I would suggest that unless we break free from our need for approval or support for how we decide to live, our lives can never really be our own. We will all only be what others want and so despite our apparent freedoms we will always be slaves to others ideals and standards.
I think an example of what I am talking about is required.
Lets say you wish to become an artist be it a musician, painter or photographer. Your standard way to do this is to learn it via a school or collage or video, magazines etc. What does this ultimately mean? It means that from the outset you will be often be moulded to create in a certain style, All personal ideas and techniques are overlooked in a decree that says you shall paint, play like this. Many people will say yes but you have to learn the basics before you can find your own styles. And I would agree to this up to a point but let’s take photography which I know a little bit about. Time and time again I have seen amazing photos taken by people who don’t know an ISO from a f-stop yet they take wonderful photos because they love the subject matter or they are in tune with the moment.
Purists would say yes but they exercised no skill they just pressed the button and took a picture and it was pot luck. I know a photographer who must be the luckiest man alive as he takes wonderful pictures time and time again but knows nothing of the working of the camera he just know a great picture when he see’s one. He has never had a photography lesson in is life and I hope he never does. Mind you, he does not make this common knowledge for fear for rejection.
Now put this man in a room of photographers and he would be made to feel a fool, but put him in a room of people who love to buy his style of photography and he would feel right at home and he would also receive respect and support for what he does. Now the whole point of this is if he was waiting for approval from the photography fraternity he still be waiting but the fact is he just went out and did it and now he makes a good living. On the other foot I know another photographer who takes photos that would blow the guy I have been talking about out of the water. But despite pleas from friends and family he doesn’t think his work is good enough to sell. He draws this conclusion from the fact he hasn’t yet got some piece of paper saying he is a photographer. This is complete bollocks to my mind. I and most people I know like the art, photography and music they do just because they do and not because of the qualifications the person that produces the work has achieved.
Stop right now and think are you holding yourself back because of some social protocol. Do you believe that you are what a piece of paper says you are? Do you think that the way things are done is the only way. Do you believe that what we know is the truth …then think again and again for time and time again the established way of thinking has bee shattered by ‘rebels’ who refused to play by the ‘rules’.
The knowledge and life styles of the human race has only grown and improved because of those the refused to except the status quo, they refused to wait for approval.