The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. But maybe some people like nails that stick up?
I’m what you might call a “laid-back guy”. I don’t experience all that much in terms of outward aggression or inward stress. Life comes and it goes and I see myself somewhere in the middle of that mess of existence.
I don’t know how much of our behavior is determined by genes. I’ve seen it written that none of your genes affect behavior as a whole, while other places seem to put genes up with “fate” as the force that will determine every future road in life. Life experience or “nurture” is the force at the other end.
My father gets angry sometimes, but remains generally calm. My mother gets flustered at times but also seems pretty lax. Was it them? My brother has turned out more loud and intense than I ever was. But could that just be the genes that gave him his ADHD? Who knows?
In any case, when going to Japan, I never sought to be loud. In fact, I’d sometimes act that way because that’s what people expected of me as an American. They thought it was odd that I wasn’t so rambunctious. Wasn’t I a loud foreigner? Isn’t that the stereotype I was supposed to fill?
So, to do my job well I needed to be louder. Teachers need to be loud, after all. But they don’t necessarily need to be super forward. That said, when you see kids on the street and they come up to try and speak English, it makes sense to put on that expected teacher mask and the energy that comes with it.
“Hello! How are you?”
“I’m great!” *Gives them a high five*
I don’t really want to be crazy, but I do want to encourage them, even if it takes energy out of me.
And that’s what it is. Like an “introvert” (though I’m not a fan of any kind of dichotomy that pits any one side versus another), I can’t just keep up this public image. I don’t want to be loud. I’d rather everyone was just a little more laid back. Just relax a little. But I can’t control the world, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to.
What ends up being the most difficult part of any creative endeavor, for me, is the marketing. More specifically, the self-promotion.
I’ve done it more and more recently. Posting on Twitter and Facebook with articles that I’ve written. I’m looking to potentially be sending emails and making press kits for the games I’m working on, in spite of how forward-seeming and in-your-face these things are to me.
But, like the English teaching and speaking English on the street in Japan, I know that there is value in it. Because the truth is that there are people who will not see what I write or make if I don’t get it out there. And without that promotion, maybe I’ll never be able to positively impact someone’s life in a meaningful way. Maybe this blog would just collect internet dust instead of being useful.
I think that’s what keeps us back–the thought that our work is good, but not good enough to put in front of someone else. I know that by promoting something, it will end up wasting someone’s time. Someone will look and decide that the post or game or whatnot is time that could have been better spent. However, it’s more important to remember that someone else out there may really appreciate what you make.
So, the key? To improve my writing and game design. To better the chances that someone will look at something and have it positively affect them.
And, while that’s happening, to just put out what I put out and hope that the right people are seeing it.