The danger of seeking acknowledgement and recognition in the creative sphere.


Acknowledgement and recognition to me are hazardous to creativity. They can be propellers, creating fuel for more creativity. They bring with them the feeling of acceptance, the stamping of somewhat of a pride of place within an endeavour. They provide a sense of establishment to the creator within their sphere of creative ability.

Unfair criticisms on the other hand are simply “unfair!”. They have a red flag attached to them as soon as they appear and so the creator perceives them and can instantly with wisdom push them away stopping them from impeding creativity. With good practice, criticisms can be spotted, determined and removed from the creator’s consciousness by simply ignoring and not rising to them.

This automatically makes acknowledgement and recognition the preferred accolades to experience. However I find that the fuel they provide to an artist is very risky and highly volatile. They come very quickly but have the tendency of vanishing as quickly as they come. They can raise an artist and propel him/her to more success but the problems they bring to the artist begin when they stop coming. The artist is then left emotionally downcast and tumbles down, in a crash landing manner. The unexpected and abrupt way they become withheld or non-existent in some cases can block the artist and equally impede further creativity.

An artist may begin to lose the zeal to keep creating because they feel unable to muster praise and acknowledgement from people. Praises come without warning, creating enjoyment and a good old euphoria of certainty and reassurance to the artist about the authenticity of his/her work. Consequently, it is not surprising that because they begin so suddenly, they can reduce or stop without warning as well. The best types of acknowledgement and recognition are the ones that breed praises that are unsolicited, sincere and really a mere appreciation of the prowess achieved by an artist. Anything other than this will be mere flattery and lip service. Acknowledgement and recognition should be the product of success and not the centre, essence and focus of creativity

When all an artist seeks is acknowledgement, it can create a block. Simple pieces become over-analysed by the artist and the need for praises overtake the need for creativity while working. This in turn interferes with the masterpiece set out to be created by the artist.

“Will they like this one?”

“Should I add this or that to be sensational?”

…when these types of questions begin to come up, they encroach and overtake the consciousness of the artist until they weigh down and ultimately extinguish the real creation intended by the artist.

There becomes the need to find a new kind of fuel for the artist… a fuel from within.

This preferred type of fuel will be the type that can remain constant and not yoyo at will.

Just a simple interest and strong conviction about what the artist intends to achieve should be enough to drive creativity. So you simply paint because you like to paint. You run because you love to run and feel you will have it in you to push yourself even further. You write come rain, come shine because you just love to write!

Let the acknowledgement and recognition or praise of your work stay outside of you. Let them not consume your consciousness until you cannot live and breathe without them. This attitude relieves the pressure on an artist as s/he functions within their creative sphere.  The do or die nature that is bred by praise seeking becomes reduced.

You are a star- once a star always a star.

Not all stars will shine as brightly as the Sun or Northern Star but that does not reduce their place in the galaxy as stars.

The sky is big enough for all the stars. So stop trying to bring down other artists so that you can look better and as such gain acknowledgement from others. Not everyone is blessed to create masterpieces every day and you reduce your chance of creating that masterpiece each time you tilt your eyes away from your work. Each time you spend chasing praises can be better spent refining your masterpiece.

Some activists were not loved while they lived. They just felt very strongly about the causes they stood for and many were killed in the process. If they were depending on the acknowledgement and total acceptance of people, there would have been no basis for the inspiration they now posthumously endear in people today.

So today, if you’re guilty of seeking this vain glory, you should consider refocusing your energy on your talent and work.

When you are successful, glory will come...

Success has always been the mother of acknowledgement. Success has many family members- nuclear and extended. But failure on the other hand is always an orphan. So as my people will say in Nigerian pidgin “Ushay face ya work o!”

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