passion, talents, needs -- which comes first?

  Outtake of one of the images I'm using for   CREATE.2014  .

Outtake of one of the images I'm using for CREATE.2014.

This week I've been spending a lot of time working on content for CREATE.2014.  Every time I plan one of these courses, I actually do all of the exercises myself -- it helps me ensure that content is fresh, of course, but the real reason that I do them is because I find that I need them myself.  This time is no different.

I'm really enjoying this preparation process because -- guilty admission, here -- I had fallen out of my otherwise steadfast habit of journaling.  Blame it on travel, or the holidays, or whatever, but I just never seemed to get around to making messes in my journal during the last few months.  And the truth is that it has showed:  I'm more scattered than usual, and distracted throughout the day.  Returning to my practice has been really grounding for me.

Yesterday, as I was preparing the pages you see above, I started thinking about the fact that I'm a project person, and wondering what big projects I should consider for 2014.  As I  was writing (stream-of-consciousness, like I do), I came up with the following:

I'm finding myself wondering what My Next Big Project should be -- what is it that the world needs that I could passionately provide?  

But then I wonder if it actually matters if the world needs it or not.  I mean, I didn't write The Beauty of Different because I thought the world needed it, so much as I did it simply because I was driven to do it.  Perhaps the trick to figuring all this out is to simply do what I'm driven to do -- and once I do, maybe the world will figure out it needs it after the fact?

I've never shared the words I've written in my journal here on Chookooloonks, but I've been thinking about this ever since I wrote them, and haven't really come to much of a conclusion.  I thought perhaps you guys might have some interesting insights into this.

What do you think?  Do you think that you should just ignore the critics, do your thing, make your art to the best of your ability, and eventually, assuming hard work, your market will find you (sort of like Shoeless Joe Jackson, "if you build it they will come")?  Or, rather, do you think it makes more sense to study the market, see what it needs, and then tailor your passions or talents to meet those needs (as Aristotle said, determine "where your talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation")?

Or something else?  

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Song:  Hey ya, as performed by Obadiah Parker.  

Still spots available for CREATE.2014:  it's going to be all about framing the coming year, with lots of mess-making, and not a guilt-inducing resolution in sight.  Registration closes January 1st, the course begins January 6th.  I'd love for you to join us.