We cross paths with many influential people on a day to day basis, who tend to either intimidate us or make us feel somewhat jealous. From the photographer on Instagram who challenges you to explore and capture the world around you, to the musician who inspires your creativity with their carefully crafted melodies, to the barista at your coffee shop who is always having meaningful engagements with the customers, to your family member who started a pottery business in their garage; they all have one thing in common: they influenced you enough for them to stand out in your mind. Notice how none of those people were inherently famous either, just influential.
What if we could transform our initial reaction of intimidation into a desire for genuine connection with people? Instead of automatically seeing someone as too out of reach for us to interact with, we could train our minds to boldly engage them and get to know them. As an artist, I find myself scrolling through the content-rich social media platforms and often feel badly about my own work, and can even deceive myself to believe that what I am doing in the art world is not as important as the artist whose page I just drooled over. There has to be a better way of pushing ourselves to create.
Instead of our art being fueled by jealousy, it could be fueled by a passion which longs for genuine connection with others. If we treated art as the universal language for communicating between souls and not some fame-hungry competition, then maybe it would land on a few more welcoming hearts.
My challenge for us is to be humble enough to break the norm of “non-social” media and bold enough to ask that person to lunch or coffee and just see where it takes you. Being a friend may be the best way to connect with someone creatively. Leave all the questions about camera gear and how to attract more followers at home, and truly get to know the mind that is sitting across the table from you. Ask about what they do in their spare time, what side projects they are currently working on, or how they find rest in this crazy thing called life. Instead of looking at a person through their Instagram, look at their Instagram through the person you just invested in. The fruitfulness of engagement may surprise you.