According to some writers, writing is less about choice than it is about acceptance. It is about writing the stories within rather than ‘creating’ them according to a formula. Other types of artists talk of this as well. Michelangelo famously said that he saw the ‘David’ in the piece of marble before he started. He simply removed the extra marble that wasn’t David.
This can also be true for those of us who are not famous authors or artists. Stories within can come out from all of us. The stories we write, the pictures we paint, or the way in which we live may appeal to millions or to less than 5. Is the ‘success’ in terms of numbers a judgement on the ‘goodness’ of the story, our art, or our lives?
Too often we judge success on numbers. We idolise scale and size, with bigger always being seen as better. If this blog was read by a million people everyday would it be better than it is right now? When Harry Potter was being rejected by countless publishers was it worse than the Harry Potter stories available today?
Scale can often be formulaic and generic. In some ways it has to be to appeal to the masses. But success does not have to scale. Change can be successful in small numbers. So too can digital transformation and innovation.
Many of us have ‘things’ inside us that we need to ‘bring to life’. Perhaps it’s a story, a dream, a lifestyle, a change. And perhaps it only makes a difference for you or for one or two others. It could still be ‘wildly successful’. Or it could reach millions and be a failure. Success is a relative term.
And perhaps when we grasp its relativity, it can help us be happier.