After performing at a corporate event the other night, a friend of mine, who just so happens to be a talented singer, ended up in conversation with a member of the security team as she was leaving the venue. However, it wasn’t so much a conversation as it was a lecture. He just wanted to inform her that although he believed all the performers involved at the event were very talented, it was time we all got ‘real’ jobs. This opinion is nothing new to those in creative careers, we’re used to people not-so-subtly rolling their eyes at our choices. This man admitted that he had a job he hates so that he can pay his bills and was under the impression no one likes their jobs.
Sometimes, needs must and we have to do things we don’t want to do. Most performers will have been in this position at some point or another. What we have in common is that we have a passion and a drive for something that to us, is worth the hardship.
When I was at school, I believed that intelligence was achieving high grades in academic subjects. You were officially clever if you were excellent at Maths and Science, end of. I was not strong in these fields which led me to believe I was not intelligent. Despite achieving above average grades in other areas I firmly believed I was pretty thick for a long time.
Recently, it dawned on me that I might just be more intelligent than I thought. I was sitting at the Public Policy Exchange’s conference about promoting positive mental health and body image in young people. Surrounded by Doctors, University Professors, Social Entrepreneurs and even an MP. These are people whom I respect and whole-heartedly believe they are seriously intelligent. What surprised me was that not only did I fully understand everything they talked about but I found I had some insight in the area, could add to what they said and even ended up forming a relationship which has now grown into a professional collaboration.
Ken Robinson once said that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. I know this to be true; teachers and parents can often be quite discouraging of childrens’ creative abilities just in case they might, heaven forbid, make a career out of it. I was so lucky to have supportive people around me who have been telling me for years that I’ve never been stupid, it’s a shame it took so long for me to believe them. I may not know my periodic table and I still have to use my fingers sometimes to add up(!) but I’m confident that I have a job that many people would never be able to do.
My point is that the man ranting at my friend had us performers wrong. It’s so true that if you have a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s sad that a lot of people will never experience this but what the security guard failed to notice was that the man standing opposite him in the exact same career, really loves his job!
Intelligence and learning abilities come in all shapes and sizes. Our brains, much like our bodies come in a wide variety of strengths, weaknesses and talents. We should celebrate our minds and bodies as one and embrace our unique abilities instead of constantly trying to conform with stereotypes laid out for us by modern society.
Everybody is good at something. It doesn’t matter what that something is, the point is that you’re good at it! Do it your way, in your own time and be proud of what sets you apart.