This post is part of The Renegade Musician Series.

The starving artist stereotype has been perpetuated through the ages. We even have tortured genius archetypes like Vincent van Gogh to point to whenever it’s convenient. People wrongfully assume he lived out a tragic, penniless life – because he chose art – when in fact he was just an eccentric recluse who liked to paint and didn’t care for people all that much. Who’s to say that wasn’t perfect for him.

But it gives your parents and teachers even more reason to say, “Becoming an artist is impractical. If a genius like van Gogh couldn’t do it in his lifetime, what chance do you have? Go to school, get good grades, and find a good job. That’s your path to security.”

If your parents or teachers are still saying that, though, they’re probably Gen X or older. Millennials were born into a much different world, and intuitively, they have always known the flaws with the crumbling traditional model. They have always sought to do things their own way. Play by their own rules. Seek fulfillment outside the accepted norms. Free themselves from the shackles of societal expectations.

It’s plain to see where the old model has failed. We see it in the eyes of those who’ve gone before us. To follow in their footsteps is to play right into the cycle of insanity. “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a cliché the traumatized can’t afford to perpetuate.

“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a cliché the traumatized can’t afford to perpetuate. Click To Tweet

Now, it’s all well and good to do things your own way, play by your own rules, and seek fulfillment on your own terms. But you can take it too far, and for all the good the creator economy has done, it has also turned otherwise normal people into slaves of a different kind – live streamers twerking at the camera, gamers speed running decade-old games for the rest of eternity, and bloggers churning out “how much money I make on Medium per second” posts by the hour.

Some people like what they do. I can’t come down on them for that.

But to liberate yourself from the Matrix without violating your values and principles requires a radical shift in mindset and approach. Freedom without restriction is a step beyond self-employment. It’s a step beyond leaving one form of slavery only to step into another.

Freedom without restriction is a step beyond self-employment. It’s a step beyond leaving one form of slavery only to step into another. Click To Tweet

Take advantage of The Most Incredible Back to School Sale while you still can.

David Andrew Wiebe
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