We live in a time where every little bit of information is readily available. We’re seeing more and more self-taught people create sustainable careers in this digital era. These people are true inspiration.
I know a guy who taught himself guitar through Youtube videos and after years of learning and gigging, he scored his first ARIA in 2014. A musician who has never paid for a single lesson went on to receive one of our national recording industry’s highest accolades – so you have no more excuses.
There is a wealth of information readily available online, which can be accessed anywhere and anytime. People are earning their university degrees, learning real-world skills, and making million-dollar deals all from their smart devices. We are no longer confined by the notions of time and geography – it’s all right there at our fingertips.
Even these blogs are an example of how easy it is to gain knowledge and skills without leaving your home, or office, or wherever you can open a web browser. Personally, I learned how to use WordPress by reading online tutorials and I’m relearning the Spanish I forgot from high school through an app on my phone.
Information is everywhere, but sometimes we neglect these wonderful resources for things posing as entertainment like the hit-and-miss content of Netflix, or the cultural vacuum of intelligence that calls itself ‘Married at First Sight’. We’ve got a world of information in our pockets, yet we opt for vapid time-wasters like social media and reality television.
I’m not here to roast these distractions – sometimes they’re a necessary evil. But anyone that claims to be creative recognizes the vast amount of resources available to us. A little research online and you can earn yourself the same skills and knowledge I gained through a $30,000 university debt. The internet has ruined the idea of an expert because amateurs have never had more well equipped for self-discovery. For goodness sake, Aaron Swartz died trying to ensure free online access to university-level resources – don’t let his death be in vain.
People are quitting their full-time jobs to become content producers and thanks to platforms like Youtube, Twitch, Soundcloud, and Instagram – they have the channels to become creative professionals without ever leaving their homes. We live in a time where the opportunities to shape your own career has never been so dynamic and diverse.
I’m not trying to get nostalgic here, but I remember a time when my school assignments were researched from books, which meant schlepping to the library and finding the right reading material. Now you’ve got Google and (better still) word-search functions. You have no more excuses for why you can’t express yourself creatively. If you’re lacking in inspiration, go watch some videos of someone who’s doing it right. If you don’t know how to achieve a certain effect or design, look up a tutorial.
To quote the incredible writer/director Jim Jarmusch, “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said, ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to’.”