• Warren Ells

Elitism

Everybody loves a winner, but nobody loves a winner. - Steven Spielberg


You're on a quest for truth, beauty and touching emotions. You want people to hear your message of hope, hear you sing your lyrics of love and loss, admire the works of art you have poured your soul into, and wake up and smell the roses of positive change, not just where you live, but throughout the entire world. To that end, you've not only created these works of the mind and heart, you are trying to market them to the world in the midst of the never-ending social media onslaught of kittens, puppies, babies, time-lapse recipes, selfies, memes, inspirational quotes, videos, personal anecdotes and shameless self-promotion present everywhere. By yourself in front of your computer, when nobody else could hear you, you may have shouted at the monitor, "LOOK AT ME! I'm just as good and talented as anybody out there. My message is just as worthy to hear as anyone else's. Why am I getting nowhere?"


I find television shows about people roughing it in Alaska or some other harsh climate quite fascinating on a psychological level. In one show about adventurers racing each other to a remote destination, one team came across a man living by himself a hundred miles from the nearest civilization. He was completely self-sufficient, raising his own food, building and repairing his own shelter, and taking his chances on staying healthy in an unforgiving place. At first, he seemed quite startled at the presence of other human beings, but he was quite friendly and hospitable. After a short visit, he sent the travelers on their way with no apparent longing to stay in their company.


At least one reason for his decision to be isolated from the rest of humanity seems fairly obvious: he had become disenfranchised enough with family, friends and/or society at large to leave it all behind. Maybe that's the appeal of living out there in solitude. You don't have to deal with the hierarchy that exists everywhere in society. Drop out and tune them all out.


Elitism can be blatant. You may have been harshly rejected by a record label or publisher. Perhaps you've been told you have no talent and you shouldn't give up your day job because you'll never make it. It's a nice hobby but there's no money in it. Elitism can also be subtle. Instead of getting a tongue lashing, you are simply ignored. Your emails aren't read. You leave messages online or on the phone to which nobody responds. Your Facebook friends hit the like button for your latest video but won't buy your album or your book. The message in either case is you're not worthy of my attention or money because you're a nobody. I only support famous people. If that doesn't make you feel a little resentment for those who have decided the worthiness club membership, I don't know what will.


There is no good or single answer as to why some people emerge from the muck below to become the idols of a particular culture. It obviously isn't just talent, a good idea, persistence or hard work. All those things are necessary but don't insure you'll be the next star. However you go about trying to crack the success nut, I think there is one principle that applies: the secret sauce is getting people to change their perception of you. Change who they think you are, and you will change your situation.

How to change perception is the subject of the next post.


Until then, love what you do and let that love shine through so much that it becomes undeniable to your audience.

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