Today’s article was contributed by Mike Robertson, who is our guest on this episode of Power Up Living: Finding YOUR Technicolor Life. You’ll love Mike’s sense of humor and the fun personal stories he shares. Be sure to tune in to discover how to approach and do YOUR great work! ~KG
~ By Mike Robertson ~
Are you familiar with the work of photographer Vivian Maier? Born in New York, raised in France, and later living for many years in Chicago, Vivian took more than 150,000 pictures documenting the people and architecture of whatever city she was living in at the time. Her photos have been featured in more than 50 exhibitions in the past three years, and she is the subject of two documentary films.
She never got to see any of it.
Vivian died in 2009 at the age of 83; many of her photos had never even been developed. Only after she died did her amazing work come to light and win the attention and praise of critics and photography buffs.
If you find that depressing, please give yourself a whack upside the head…metaphorically speaking, of course. Because it’s a wonderful thing that Vivian is now beginning to get her due.
We are increasingly becoming a culture that believes good = famous and that’s simply not the case. The truth is much more fascinating: there are geniuses in every field who go unrecognized. They devote themselves to becoming the very best at their particular sort of work. Some seek the spotlight and never find it, while others don’t want the attention at all; they just want to do good work.
Head over to YouTube and check out some videos by a guy named Harry “The Hipster” Gibson. Harry was an amazing pianist who wrote and sang some rockin’ tunes. His facial expressions remind me of Bugs Bunny, and Harry turns out to be quite an animated character himself. He stands up while playing the piano and cuts loose with the jiviest hip talk you ever heard. But here’s the thing: he did it ten years before Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard would become famous for doing the same schtick.
I consider myself very well informed when it comes to popular music of the 20th Century, but I had never heard of Harry the Hipster until just a few years ago.
And I love that fact. We are fortunate to live in a time when you can instantly hear almost any music ever recorded; you can see almost any movie you want whenever you wish. What that means is that we will continue to learn about people from the past who did great work, but never got the recognition.
Now that it’s so easy to preserve music, movies, writing, photography, and almost everything else humans produce, I find satisfaction in knowing that the great work of today will still be able to impact lives tomorrow. And the “famous” people of today, who contribute nothing of beauty or merit to the world…in a few years, they will be footnotes at best.
But there’s an even more wonderful element to existing at this point in time. It is easier than ever for an ordinary person to make a movie, record a song, publish a novel. And, because the tools for creating and distributing have become so accessible, you may not even have to die before your great work is appreciated.
Even so, the question remains: would you rather have success right now or leave a legacy that could inspire generations yet unborn?
I visited Paris for the first time this year and fell in love with that amazing city. One of the most meaningful things I encountered was France’s great love and reverence for great work of the past. It’s so refreshing to see buildings which aren’t torn down and replaced every 25 years, to see amazing architecture that is not ornamented with a Starbucks or a McDonalds.
Longevity is a beautiful thing. And—for me—to succeed without leaving something beautiful and lasting and meaningful behind would mean I had not fulfilled my potential.
Yes, let’s all make money and become household names; that’s fine. But let’s also do great things that will stand the test of time.
About the Author
Mike Robertson is a professional member of the National Speakers Association whose greatest joy is in helping people find and develop their creative abilities. He practices what he preaches: Mike is a musician, author of three books, gifted storyteller, and has more than 20 years of graphic design experience. He views his presentations as works of art, designed to entertain, inspire and dazzle audiences through his humor, insight and artistic approach to the visuals which accompany his words. He has been married to Lisa for 27 years. They have one daughter, Lindsey, who is currently a writer and actor in New York City.
Visit Mike at www.IsThisMikeOn.com.