Should I tell or not?

I looked scrappy and I needed to get a haircut so I went to get one while waiting for my turn I stepped outside to watch a bit of the Arsenal vs Man City Football Match that was being watched at a beer parlour beside the barbing saloon. Man City was leading by 1 goal, while I was just trying to follow the game I was distracted by 2 grown men arguing, soon they stood up and marched outside, I was glad, good riddance to the source of noise, the younger of the two was ahead and had stepped out while the older man was held back, a few people pleading with him to not go, it appeared they were going to settle their differences with a fight. While they were still trying to pacify him the other of the pair appeared shirtless, he was ready to fight! As more people stepped in to intervene power went off and the argument subsided. I went back to check the saloon, it was my turn and the generator was about put on, the barber started and had taken some chunks of my hair off before the generator went off, he tried to tilt the gen to maximise the little petrol in the gen but it was of no use, he had to go buy petrol, I was considering going home but haven waited for a while and considering the fact that he wasn’t going too far on a second thought I decided to wait and get the hair cut. I stepped out and was pacing on the corridor of the barbing saloon in my bid to pass time. After about 5 minutes of pacing, I noticed that the two men had commenced arguing but this time it was purely verbal.

The younger man took a shot at the elder man telling him that his mates are playing football while he was here, the elder man dismissed his claim stating it was unrealistic and threw his first blow by stating that the younger man is a driver and he can never consider that a profession, the younger in defence stated that he had two cars and was doing well, the elder man stated that he would send his children to beat him, the younger asked where are his children in life, the elder boldly stated that his children are in school and that all his children went to private schools… On and on they went blowing their trumpet often times seeking for validation from the listening audience in the beer parlour who were mute.

All this happened while I was waiting for the barber to come back and I couldn’t help but observe since my phone was down, all I could see were two men flaunting their ego in an endless game of self-promotion. While it was clear they were going about it wrongly and probably also under the influence of Alcohol, I remembered someone asking me the night before what I thought about people who came online to share the good work or stuff they did? I answered it was a matter of motive and when it’s more of an ego massage, the person should cease or reduce it. Thinking about it again, I think it’s a dilemma that many people face and while people might have different points of view, while I still stand by my response, I think people need to share more of what they do and not just fine pictures of you slaying- which is cool of course but more of meaningful and helpful stuff.

“Engage and inspire, whether on an individual level or loudly within your communities,” he said. “Talk about your accomplishments. It’s very important. Be humble, but not too humble. Don’t be invisible. The days of being anonymous activist or participant are over. How can we inspire if we are only behind the scenes? How will an anonymous donation ever inspire another? That was the way of previous generations. No disrespect, but don’t be like them. Let your actions serve as an endorsement.” Pharrell Williams’ NYU 2017 Commencement Speech

I’d hand you over to Austin Kleon’s words in his amazing book – Show your Work!

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

Think Process, Not Product.

Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal: Write your thoughts down in a notebook, or speak them into an audio recorder. Keep a scrapbook. Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. Take advantage of all the cheap, easy tools at your disposal—these days, most of us carry a fully functional multimedia studio around in our smartphones.
Whether you share it or not, documenting and recording your process as you go along has its own rewards: You’ll start to see the work you’re doing more clearly and feel like you’re making progress.

You Don’t Have to Be a Genius.

Don’t worry about everything you post being perfect. Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once said that 90 percent of everything is crap.

The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs

Share Something Small Everyday

Of course, don’t let sharing your work take precedence over actually doing your work. If you’re having a hard time balancing the two, just set a timer for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off, kick yourself off the Internet and get back to work.

“Put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.” Bobby Solomon

Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?” There’s nothing wrong with saving things for later.

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

Build a Good (Domain) Name

Social networks are great, but they come and go. (Remember Myspace? Friendster? GeoCities?) If you’re really interested in sharing your work and expressing yourself, nothing beats owning your own space online, a place that you control, a place that no one can take away from you, a world headquarters where people can always find you.

If your name is common, or you don’t like your name, come up with a pseudonym or an alias, and register that. Then buy some web hosting and build a website.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to build your own site, there’s a small army of web designers ready to help you. Your website doesn’t have to look pretty; it just has to exist.

Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. Online, you can become the person you really want to be. Fill your website with your work and your ideas and the stuff you care about. Over the years, you will be tempted to abandon it for the newest, shiniest social network. Don’t give in. Don’t let it fall into neglect. Think about it in the long term. Stick with it, maintain it, and let it change with you over time.

Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities

Where do you get your inspiration? What sorts of things do you fill your head with? What do you read? Do you subscribe to anything? What sites do you visit on the Internet? What music do you listen to? What movies do you see? Do you look at art? What do you collect? What’s inside your scrapbook? What do you pin to the corkboard above your desk? What do you stick on your refrigerator? Who’s done work that you admire? Who do you steal ideas from? Do you have any heroes? Who do you follow online? Who are the practitioners you look up to in your field?
Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do—sometimes even more than your own work.

When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Don’t feel guilty about the pleasure you take in the things you enjoy. Celebrate them. When you share your taste and your influences, have the guts to own all of it.

Don’t share things you can’t properly credit. Find the right credit, or don’t share.

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

Tell Good Stories

The cat sat on a mat’ is not a story. ‘The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is a story.” —John le Carré

Everybody loves a good story, but good storytelling doesn’t come easy to everybody. It’s a skill that takes a lifetime to master. So study the great stories and then go find some of your own. Your stories will get better the more you tell them.

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon
©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon
©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

Whether you’re telling a finished or unfinished story, always keep your audience in mind. Speak to them directly in plain language. Value their time. Be brief. Learn to speak. Learn to write. Use spell-check. You’re never “keeping it real” with your lack of proofreading and punctuation, you’re keeping it unintelligible.

Teach What You Know

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others. Share your reading list. Point to helpful reference materials. Create some tutorials and post them online. Use pictures, words, and video. Take people step-by-step through part of your process. As blogger Kathy Sierra says, “Make people better at something they want to be better at.”

When you teach someone how to do your work, you are, in effect, generating more interest in your work. People feel closer to your work because you’re letting them in on what you know.

Don’t Turn into a Human Spam

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community. If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong.

“What you want is to follow and be followed by human beings who care about issues you care about. This thing we make together. This thing is about hearts and minds, not eyeballs.”
—Jeffrey Zeldman

Stop worrying about how many people follow you online and start worrying about the quality of people who follow you.

Show Your Work!

If you want followers, be someone worth following.

You and I will be around a lot longer than Twitter, and nothing substitutes face to face.”
—Rob Delaney

If you’ve been friends for a while with somebody online and you live in the same town, ask them if they want to grab a coffee. If you want to go all out, offer to buy them lunch. If you’re traveling, let your online friends know you’re going to be in town. I like asking my artist friends to take me to their favorite art museums and asking my writer friends to take me to their favorite bookstore. If we get sick of talking to one another, we can browse, and if we get sick of browsing, we can grab a coffee in the café.

Learn to Take a Punch

When you put your work out into the world, you have to be ready for the good, the bad, and the ugly. The more people come across your work, the more criticism you’ll face.

You have to remember that your work is something you do, not who you are. This is especially hard for artists to accept, as so much of what they do is personal.

“There’s never a space under paintings in a gallery where someone writes their opinion,” says cartoonist Natalie Dee. “When you get to the end of a book, you don’t have to see what everyone else thought of it.”

Sell Out

Everybody says they want artists to make money, and then when they do, everybody hates them for it. The word sellout is spit out by the bitterest, smallest parts of ourselves. Don’t be one of those horrible fans who stops listening to your favorite band just because they have a hit single. Don’t write off your friends because they’ve had a little bit of success. Don’t be jealous when the people you like do well—celebrate their victory as if it’s your own.

©️ Show Your Work — Austin Kleon

Whether you ask for donations, crowdfund, or sell your products or services, asking for money in return for your work is a leap you want to take only when you feel confident that you’re putting work out into the world that you think is truly worth something. Don’t be afraid to charge for your work, but put a price on it that you think is fair.

Welcome back

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24 NLT

An additional thought, How many content creators who have helped you — YouTube Videos, Books, Bloggers, Articles, Tutorials — have you written to, commented or sent a message to thank them for how much impact their work has had on you? Probably not a lot!

Don’t let the stats or feedback deceive you, What you have to share matters!

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