Here is the 2nd key to having a successful relationship: The companion. The companion is defined as the other person in any life relationship that is not you–be work, home, school, wherever. The more value you invest in another person, the greater value you will give the world. And the greater value that will come back to you. If you are trying to do everything alone, there is no relationship made. End of story. For the self-starter, you simply cannot have a relationship without another person to have a relationship with. The alternative is simply a self-absorbed narcissism. This is the worst place that we can be as creative artists, yet most of us find ourselves here at some point. Simply stated if you are unwilling to share yourself no relationship can exist. This is actually the most selfish thing you can do–Deprive the world of your talents and abilities. Look at these 3 examples to see if you are on the verge of extinction, or getting ready to take the world by storm. My art is about me, My art is about you, and My art is about us.
EXAMPLE 1: My art is about me. I create because I want to create. I create the things I want. I create the things I care about. Me. Me. Me. If you think about it, this kind of mentality is also very selfish and self-absorbed. Isn’t it interesting, though, how even this kind of selfishness can produce great relationships? Someone may see the art inspired by your heart and become inspired. They may contact you, buy your print, share your art with friends for you. There is something to be said about being selfish. The person in this example turned the corner, though. He had to have to courage to show the artwork that he created. No more being shy, huddled in the back room. You are a creator; time to show your work and not be tucked away in a hermit hole. Let the creativity shine through for every fiber of your being. This is one way to unintentionally build relationships. It is a viable option, so don’t discount it, but let’s explore another.
EXAMPLE 2: My art is about you. I create because I want you to be happy. I create the things you want. This generally manifests itself as a boss-employee / client – creator relationship. Tell me what you want, I’ll make it. I will sell you my skills, my ability, my talent for $25-$50/hour or $100/page. This is how the economy is supposed to work right? Someone has money, they need a job done, and they pay to do it. I have had a lot of really great relationships form this way. People I have worked with over jobs that maintain a sense of loyalty, camaraderie, and mutual respect. In theory this is a give and take relationship. I will give you the talent and skills. You will take what I produce. I will take your money, in exchange, you will take my time, energy and life. Most people are pretty happy with this arrangement. They can work in the field of their choice and then get paid a nice living to create work for other people. As I look around the current economy. It looks like this is the relationship, most people want. Hey, it works. I have to work very hard, but if I keep working hard someday, I will be able to be create great content for someone really famous and get a lot of money doing so. Sounds like a nice dream doesn’t it? This is a viable option. Let’s look at one more.
EXAMPLE 3: Our art is about us. I create art because I enjoy creating this type of art, and you enjoy looking at sharing my art with your friends who like this art as well. You faithfully contribute to the creation process of this art. This is where you have a project and an artist sharing mutual satisfaction for the project at hand. But it goes on a much deeper level than that. We know that the work we are creating will not only inspire you and me, it will inspire the people around us—and hopefully future generations. We are linking hearts to create something that we could not do on our own. We are linking hearts to create works not only for us, but for the betterment of mankind. We sharpen each other to be better talent than we currently are. We push, prod, and develop each other. These are the relationships that transcend time and space. These relationships are almost too good to be true, but they are. If you are happily married, you know what these relationships look like. If you have are part of a great writer/artist team like WATCHMEN creators Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons, you know what these relationships look like. If you are Superman creators Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster, you know what products these relationships produce.
The companion is defined as the person in your life who will make you better than you will ever be without them. This is the person, you need to have in your life to make life worth living. Interaction is the best indicator of developing a relationship with this person. As you can probably notice, you may have several companions at various points in each of these relationship comparisons. Which relationship pattern do you think are the most beneficial? Which have you been more free to explore? All are valuable at some level. As you decide to start cultivating relationships, please know that you can only develop a small number of these relationships before you start losing the value of the relationship. People are a highly valuable commodity. Invest highly in them. The more value that you put into the life of your companion, the better your value will be. In a way, you are investing into yourself by investing in them.
The more time, energy and value you place on someone as your “companion” the more valuable they are to you and you only have so much time, heart, and energy to go around. I’m a big fan of the cartoon FOX TROT by Bill Amend. So for all you math geeks out there, here’s a simple investment formula:
(TIME) x (HEART) x (ENERGY) = VALUE of the COMPANION.
TIME= time spent with the companion
HEART=your hearts connected with the companion
ENERGY=you passions fueling the work you do with the companion.
VALUE OF THE COMPANION=what you get in return for your relationship with this person.
COMPANION=person you share life with
Value can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Insurance companies try to put a price tag on a human life. Turning people into points is nothing better than a decentralization of the value of the soul. Just because a businessman may have a $10,000,000 life insurance policy, doesn’t make him more valuable than the dad who has no insurance and is working nights to feed his babies (The million dollar businessman matters nothing to the baby!) Humans are an invaluable resource. The value of a human companion to you–is what you put into them. Here is some quick numbers as it pertains to the examples above.
EXAMPLE 1: My art is about me.
(1 time) x (10heart) x (10energy)= 100
EXAMPLE 2: My art is about you.
(10 time) x (1 heart) x (5 energy)= 50
EXAMPLE 3: Our art is about us.
(10 time) x (10heart) x (10 energy) = 1000
Check this formula out. Try it with a few of your relationships. Are you making the most investment in the relationships that matter the most?