The Bell Curve Lies about Your Impact

As creators, whenever we share what matters to us, especially what we create, we feel vulnerable. Here’s a key principle that can help soften the blow.

Whatever you share will receive a spectrum of responses — it's a classic bell curve.

This bell curve lies about the worth of your work.

Or, rather, if you misunderstand the bell curve, you will believe two big, disheartening lies rather than the one key, empowering truth.

Lie no. 1: Your work doesn’t matter because most people don’t care

At a glance, this is who you will see:

  • Most people will do little or nothing about it (the Spectators).
  • A slightly smaller group will acknowledge it but push it away, often passive-aggressively (the Evaders).
  • An even smaller minority will hate and criticize it (the Unbelievers).

Taken together, that’s most of the people.

But REMEMBER: they are not the real audience for what you create. Rather —

  • Another smaller group looks forward to everything you share (the Fans)
  • And an even more select group doesn’t just relish your work, but supports and promotes it (the Advocates)

THESE people — your Fans and Advocates — are those for whom you create.

As your audience grows, this bell curve grows along with it.

Lie no. 2: You can escape the bell curve

REMEMBER: as your audience grows, the bell curve grows along with it.

So even if your work becomes well-known, your Fans and Advocates will always be in the minority of the people who know about it.

No matter how big you are, if you survey your work’s aggregate response, it will always feel like your work is being ignored or even opposed.

With the scales eternally tipped toward apathetic-to-negative, it’s tempting to feel like your Fans and Advocates don’t count.

Truth: Your Fans and Advocates are hungry for your work

So most of all, REMEMBER: Your work is NOT up for popular vote.

You KNOW your Fans and Advocates treasure your work.

So shun the Unbelievers. Slough the Evaders. Ignore the inaction of the Spectators.

You only need to worry about how well you serve your Fans and Advocates.

Because, as Seth Godin says, they will miss you when you’re gone.

Don’t Miss Next Week’s Post

Sign up to stay in the loop about music worth hearing, process tips worth trying, career relationship ideas worth pursuing, and creative stories worth living.

Share Your Thoughts

Scroll to top
Sign up below to stay in the loop about 🎶 Music worth hearing, 🛠 Process tips worth trying, 🤝 Career ideas worth pursuing & 💬 Creative stories worth living.