w: ajleon

The Myth of Competiton

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.
Sir Cecil Beaton

With respect to competition, the world is neatly divided into two camps.

Those who make stuff happen (the Makers), and those who emulate those who make stuff happen (the imitators).

Misfit (my traveling circus) has been working with a large cultural organization for a couple years. Someday, I’ll tell you the story in depth here, but to make a long story short, as is our Misfit-way, we’ve launched an onslaught of value-add, web-based projects with them in a very short period, helping them take over their world by amplifying their message; and projecting it all over the planet in a variety of ways. Unsurprisingly to me, throughout the past year, I’ve noticed other cultural organizations in their niche *directly* rip off (ie, emulate, imitate) things we have done with them. Somebody asked me the other day, “Are you worried about it?” That’s an interesting question. If I thought our creativity were tapped, if I thought we had no art left in us, I’d be quaking in my boots (I don’t actually wear boots, but you get my drift). But I know that’s not the case. Because I know we are the people who make shit happen.

And besides, if there is anything being immersed in the creative world has taught me, it’s this – no power in all the wide world will ever stop people from imitating the Makers. This gives the Makers only two options -(a) stop making stuff, whine about people copying their work and start trying to chase them down or litigate against them, or (b) keep making stuff or as my Cuban grandmother would say hecha palante (keep moving forward). Of course, true Makers never choose the former option.

There will always be far more emulators than there are Makers, folks, “them’s is the rules”. But although we’re outnumbered, we’re not out-gunned.

Why?

Because you and I make shit happen, kids. We have what they don’t, the ability to weave the threads of disparate ideas into the fabric of reality. While they’re busy second guessing themselves in board rooms, we’re making stuff. Any half-trained monkey can make a photocopy of a painting, but it takes a true artist to have extracted the original idea from her mind onto the canvas in the first place. That’s the hard part. That’s the magic. And *that* is what they cannot do.

Don’t worry about what the competition is doing. Just keep making stuff happen. Because the reality is, as long you keep Making, and they’re worried about what you’re doing, as long as they keep emulating, you don’t actually have any competition anyways.

From the mountains of Asheville

Your Fellow Misfit,

AJ

476 words

7.11.13

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