Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?
But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.
In The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin tells us that the safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort.
Art is frightening
Art isn’t pretty.
Art isn’t painting.
Art isn’t something you hang on the wall.
Art is what we do when we’re truly alive.
If you’ve already decided that you’re not an artist, it’s worth considering why you made that decision and what it might take to unmake it.
If you’ve announced that you have no talent (in anything!), then you’re hiding.
Art might scare you.
Art might bust you.
But art is who we are and what we do and what we need.
[bluebox] An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it (all of it: the work, the process, the feedback from those we seek to connect with) personally.[/bluebox]
We are all artists now. How long are you going to wait?
Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.
They told you to get your résumé in order, to punch your ticket, to fit in, and to follow instructions.
They told you to swallow your pride, not follow your dream.
The promised trinkets and prizes and possibly riches if you would just suck it up and be part of the system, if you would merely do what you were told and conform.
They sold you debt and self-storage and reality TV shows. They sold your daughters and sons, too.
All in exchange for what would happen later, when it was your turn.
It’s your turn
Your ability to follow instructions is not the secret to your success.
You are hiding your best work, your best insight, and your best self from us every day.
We know how much you care, and it’s a shame that the system works overtime to push you away from the people and the projects you care about.
The world does not owe you a living, but just when you needed it, a door was opened for you to make a difference.
It’s too bad that so much time has been wasted, but it would be unforgivable to wait any longer. You have the ability to contribute so much. We need you, NOW.
Complement The Icarus Deception with Art & Fear: Observations on the perils (and rewards) of artmaking.