How To Be Successful – “Make Good Art”

how to be successful - make good art - Nail GaimanThis inspiring speech, made by Neil Gaiman to graduates of the University of the Arts in 2012, is primarily aimed at artists – whether they be writers, painters, singers, musicians, actors,…

However, his comments are relevant for anyone in business, who has a creative bone in their body.

He talks about some advice given to him by Stephen King, after he had achieved a measure of success with his comic and a book he wrote with Terry Pratchett. The advice Stephen King gave was simple: “This is really great. You should enjoy it.”

Whether or not you are successful now, it’s important to enjoy the journey. Whether or not you achieve great acclaim, that should never be the goal anyway. It should be enough to simply show up and do the work – because if you’re not enjoying it, then you won’t do your best work.

Another useful piece of advice that Neil gives, with regard to making a living doing what you love, is that in order to be successful, you need to do 3 things:

  • Be likeable
  • Do good work
  • Deliver on time

However, as he points out, you don’t even need to do all 3… you just need to manage 2 out of 3!

  • People will put up with your work being late, if they like you and you do good work
  • People will put up with your tantrums, if you do good work and you always deliver on time
  • And if people like you, and you deliver on time, your work doesn’t have to be all that good!

Of course, if you can do all 3, then you’ll be unbeatable!! My advice would be to concentrate on #1 first… That way, you’ll make life more enjoyable for those around you! 🙂

Nowadays so many people are offering similar solutions, that it really comes down to whether or not you like the person you’re going to be doing business with. For me, that’s crucial – it always has been, even when I had a corporate job. Now, I only work with clients whom I like and who like me. It makes the process so much more enjoyable for all of us!


About the author Julia Barnickle - The Quiet EntrepreneurJulia Barnickle is a film maker, photographer, artist and writer, and the founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur community for introverts in business. She offers visibility coaching to raise your online profile, and helps you create videos to promote and deliver your services.

Follow Julia on Instagram | Youtube | Twitter | or on her website.

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