The artist vs the businessperson, where do you stand?

Is it shallow to go after riches instead of honing your craft?

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Last weekend I got together with a friend to catch up over sushi.

Between fumbling with the chopsticks, we got into a huge life discussion and I would love your input on the topic.

I was telling him about a part of the book I’m reading, “The Richest Man in Babylon [side note: I totally recommend this book. It gave me a new perspective on money and life pursuits].

So in the book, this richest man, Arkad, is giving a lesson to his not-so-well-off friends. Essentially, his point was that while his friends were focusing on getting to the top of their individual crafts – one was a renowned chariot maker, another a renowned musician – he was focused on mastering the craft of making money.

My friend thinks that’s a shallow way to live.

His take was, shouldn’t we all be able to make a successful and wealthy living simply by continuing to get better and better at what we love? After all, look at the recent success of Pokemon Go, or the wealth and notoriety of masters like Elon Musk and Michelin-starred chefs.

I get that. At pure face value, it probably does seem shallow.

But for me, I think we should think of our craft not so much as art, but as something that increases the value we can provide to others, and by extension increases our wealth. That is a more direct and selfless path of helping more people, creating more employment and building something bigger than ourselves.

It’s my belief that if you focus solely on your craft, you’re committing to taking the road not traveled by those who seek riches, but for those who love the art above all else. Those who will be satisfied by simply creating the best there ever was.

In the end, I think we need both types in this world.

Anyway, over to you, where do you stand on this? Maybe you have a third take?

Talk soon.

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