You got to get used to not getting accolades when you start doing something. Certain compliments are always welcome, no matter who you are, no matter what you do or where you are in your journey, let’s say. Those compliments give you a boost, but one must be careful not to fall into the need of constant external validation. It is a hard thing to do when you are doing something that is personal, something that resonates with you. I am a writer. I want people to read what I write. Yes, I want them to appreciate what I do. But to what extent? How far should I go? Where is the line between self-validation and external validation? How do I stay clear of that trap, for lack of a better word? Having a passion and working to improve your craft is a lonely exercise, a tough path to walk and one usually walks it alone.

You gotta get used to not getting applause and admiration when you are working. I must keep working on my craft. I gotta stay laser focused. Yet, I also need to listen to others. I could always lose myself in what I am doing. The ego is never too far, and it can take over as fast as lightning. I could end up doing things solely for others instead of doing what I want to do. As a writer, I always have a message to get across and I gotta make sure it isn’t entirely diluted by other people’s needs and expectations of me. I gotta stay true to myself while welcoming people’s input, without allowing the latter to influence me so much I lose my sense of direction. Once again, it isn’t easy. The balance isn’t easy to sustain or rather to find.

You gotta get used to doing your thing, whether people like it or not. I write and talk about many subjects and I have been doing so for the past few years. Some subjects are almost universally appreciated, while others aren’t. There can always be some controversy or a subject that isn’t unanimously appreciated. After all, I am sharing my opinions and who could ever agree with me 100% of the time? It is logically and mathematically impossible. Yet, backing down because I am afraid of being judged, misjudged, misunderstood, ignored, isn’t an option in my mind. Backing down means capitulating to other people’s moods, sensibilities, opinions, etc. That isn’t an option.

You gotta get used to doing your thing. Sometimes, I will make a mistake; that is a certainty. No one is above making a mistake. However, I thank the gods I am surrounded by people who will point out my mistakes. I am surrounded by people who will take their time and talk to me. Therefore, listening to others without getting offended or pissed, that is a behavioral trait I have developed as a writer and especially as a human being. I listen to everybody. Sometimes, I am wrong, and I change my course. Sometimes I listen and I determine I wasn’t wrong because I went with what my values dictate, and I keep going. This isn’t a popularity contest, I don’t have any clients I must please without regard to my own wellbeing, values and rules. I do what I gotta do. That’s it.

You gotta get used to doing your thing because you love it, because you care about it, because it gives you meaning, purpose and a sense of achievement. To each their own. There are so many people who do things I don’t agree with but it’s their right to do whatever makes them happy, just as writing makes me happy. I wouldn’t want others to tell me what to say, write or do. Therefore, I don’t tell others what to say, write or do. I ain’t no one’s father or boss. People are free to do whatever they want so long as they don’t hurt others. Writing gives me a channel of expression. I love it more than anything. I will always write because I am immensely happy, fulfilled, and free when I am typing these words on my computer.

If you are doing something right, applause, admiration, prizes and accolades will eventually come. When? That is a question for the ages. However, one cannot stop doing what they are doing because they aren’t getting any applause, admiration, prizes and accolades. Once again, this isn’t a popularity contest. If you desire to be popular, you will cater to people’s needs. They will applaud you and celebrate and put on you on a pedestal. Then, one day, you will mess up and miss your mark. And, on that day, if you are lucky, they will just tell you how much you suck. If you are unlucky or if the mob is waiting for you to fail, you will get crucified. They will disown you with the same energy and will they used to celebrate you. They might even make you a pariah. Then, you will see what loneliness means. You will see how heavy, brutal, and unforgiving the mob is.

I’d say the only thing that matters, is what you do and how you feel about it. The rest is simply a mirage. So, keep doing your thing. Enjoy every step of your journey. Do what you gotta do because you love it and because it gives you that sense of purpose only you understand. You could try to explain yourself yet, not everybody will get it and not everybody should.

You gotta get used to doing things alone without the recognition. Get better, learn, fall, learn some more, enjoy the voyage, learn even more, find happiness in what you do. Moreover, if you do it with love, care, and self-respect, you will enjoy the hell out of it.

Then, one day, that applause you don’t need to keep going, will surely come. But, by then, you will be happy, and you won’t need that external validation to keep going.

So, please remember this; you gotta get used to doing things alone, without recognition and for your own sake.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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