Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trading Places

Switching out of your own perspective and sliding into someone else's shoes can be a very healthy thing to do. Whether you trade your perspective with your fans, fellow artists, or someone you are having a robust debate with, it's helpful from all sides if you can play the role of empath. After all most of us are seeking to fulfil our needs, and often, whether by chance or planning, WE suddenly arrive in a position to fulfill those needs.

Fans may want inspiration from us to use in their own lives. They might hope for contact, understanding, or simply acknowledgement. The same can be said for most of the people who we have contact with. It's human nature to want confirmation that we exist, that there is meaning in our existence, and that we have a role to play within our own lives.

Even in a heated argument, each side may in fact be more needful of acknowledgement than being told they are right. Passionate exchange is as much about the exploration of ourselves as it is about being validated. It's common for us to say things and take strong positions on topics which we hadn't really thought-out before, because oftentimes it's the argument itself which helps us dig deep and discover for ourselves how we feel and what we believe. It's not all that difficult to acknowledge someone without sacrificing your own view on the matter, simply through the act of stepping into their shoes and trying to see things from their perspective.

For the artist, exploring a work from the viewer's or listener's perspective can help us step back from our work. This is very important on the business end of the Arts, being paid to accomplish a specific task. This doesn't mean "selling out" or jeopardising the creative integrity of a work, but merely offers an opportunity to explore other possibilities. Another person will NEVER see the creative work in the same way as the artist.

Try it. You might be surprised how interesting it can be :)

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