Can you aim for success and still be creative?
Within the creative industry, success is the s-word. It's that thing that you're not supposed care about because it somehow taints the art if you do. No one wants to be a sell out; everyone wants to be authentic. So this new mindset arose out of the industry and every creative blog, book and TED talk will tell you that if you're authentic, you'll find success and even if you don't, well... you shouldn't be caring about it anyway so just keep doing you.
But here's the truth: we all want to succeed. No one wants to fail... especially when they're being authentic. Because if they fail while being authentic, it's as though the world is saying, "you're a failure." Isn't that the truth? That internal dialogue is rampant in the creative circles but no one really wants to talk about those fears because it's not something you're supposed to be fearful of.
So to protect ourselves from failure while being 100% authentically us, what do we do? We become a little less original and a adopt a little more of others. If we mimic other successful people, we're hoping that we too will get a taste of the s-word. In order to guarantee our success, we sacrifice some of our creativity for less risky alternatives. So in a way, success does taint the art. But only if we let our desire for success convince us to let go of our art.
The love of success is the root of unoriginality.
But we can't hate success. We have to make money, we have to provide for our families, we have to pay bills. Success, to a degree, is a necessity. It's only when it begins interfering with our creativity that we should take caution. This might mean separating our creativity from our work entirely or simply finding a balance. If however, you do find yourself pursuing a successful career or lifestyle through your art, don't worry! You can maintain your creativity. You can be authentic and still have success. Sometimes, just being aware is enough to ensure you don't sell out.