“It’s showtime.”

July 27 2015

Audible groans fill the train. A man with a bike is asked to move, and after refusing, a much taller man carries the bike to the back of the car. Reluctantly, the biker follows. Three performers fill the empty space and press play on a steady beat. Six pack abs curl around poles as the train lurches slowly towards Brooklyn. Flipping, stomping, twirling, hopping. A second dancer begins his routine, less steady than the first. It’s impossible not to wonder if someone will be kicked in the face. You’re waiting for a slip, an accident, but miraculously it doesn’t happen.

The dancing stops, and the boys start asking for money. Except no one gives it to them. In fact, the dancers are hardly acknowledged. And they become angry.

“I’m going to quit. I’m going to stop doing this!” one performer scowls.

The commuters keep their eyes fixed on books, each other and away from the demanding, outstretched hands. “C’mon New York, where are you?” they plead. Then the insulting begins. It seems to carry on entirely too long. Their jabs become worse and more desperate and there’s a palpable tension in the air.

When we do art, when we give of ourselves and become generous with the world, we can’t ask for a certain outcome. Do your art, but make sure it’s for the right reason. Sell, market, produce, copy and manufacture all you want, but don’t demand attention. Earn it.

(H/T permission marketing, Seth Godin)