Do you love your work?
Do you want to love your work?
Have you been engaged in it for a decade or longer?
Do you strive for excellence in your output, not from competition, but from obsession?
Then you might be a member of The 8 Percent.
Are you The 8 Percent?
You may not be the richest.
You may not get the most press.
You’re not winning awards and being lauded as an industry darling.
Instead, you’re working.
You’re creating new things. You’re improving existing things. You’re obsessed with what you do.
Ego aside, head down, butt up.
You are a craftsperson.
Where others in your industry are thinking about their businesses in the short term – how to make money, now!, How to sell out, cash in and bro down – you’re in this for the long-haul. You’ll still be working the day they put you in the grave.
Because you’re not doing this for the applause – you care only about what you create.
You love the work.
It’s frustrating sometimes. Because let’s face it – genius is rarely appreciated in its lifetime. You watch other people – people who don’t produce work anywhere near at the level you do – seemingly jump ahead of you. Making more money, getting all the attention – and while being able to do the work you love doing is a huge reward, and you appreciate it, it still nibbles at the back of your mind.
Because you believe that the best work should always win.
You believe that the work is sacred.
And it’s difficult to watch when people whose work is unconsidered, derivative and clearly first draft are lauded simply because they’re capable of yelling the loudest.
But I’m just a writer / artist / entrepreneur / doctor / fashion designer / employee – I can’t be a member of The 8 Percent … right?
The 8 Percent has no industry. It doesn’t demand that you work for yourself. It doesn’t care how rich, smart, successful, or attractive you are.
It demands only that you exhibit the following three traits:
- Your work strives for excellence – my definition of excellence is “commitment to daily iterative improvement over a long time line”. It’s not about competing with other people. It’s not about being better than anyone else. It’s about improving yourself, day on day, small piece by small piece.
- Your work aims to be creative – being creative is not the sole domain of the creative arts. There are creative lawyers. Creative doctors. Creative accountants and engineers. Science is one of the most creative fields in existence. You are looking for new solutions. You are finding ways to do things that have never been done. You’re not afraid to fail – because failure is an important part of the creative process.
- You are courageous in the delivery of your work – that is, you’re not turned aside by people telling that what you’re undertaking can’t be done, or that “no one” makes it in your industry. You do the work – and even though you know it will draw criticism, because all great work does – you put it out into the world. Because you know that great work sitting in a drawer has not gone through the crucible that will make it truly excellent – the fires of review and criticism. Doing great work requires great courage.
And a lifelong commitment to your work.
Being a member of The 8 Percent is not about hierarchy – it’s not about superiority over other people. It’s about finding a tribe of people who are like you.
Because the number one complaint I hear, time and again, from people who haven’t yet discovered that they’re members of this group, is that they feel like outsiders in their lives.
Their industry doesn’t understand them. Their friends don’t understand them. Their employees – no one they meet understands them. Even their families are tired of hearing about the things they’re obsessed with.
They feel as though they’re destined to always be outsiders for the crime of deeply loving their work. And that’s hard, because it’s a central tenant of being human that we all want to belong somewhere.
If you resonate with this – or if you want to resonate with this, if you want to move from shallow work to deep and great work – that’s why we’ve built this community. This tribe.
It’s full of stories of members of The 8 Percent who, like you, have struggled and strived not only to produce great work, but to create spaces (businesses or otherwise) in which they could conduct that work. Stories to inspire, stories to make you think.
It’s full of tools that will help members of The 8 Percent to create those spaces. To quote Yelawolf “Money is a tool for the creation of a creative space”. ALL members of The 8 Percent should treat their careers as though they’re running a business – even if they’re working for someone else. Because your career, your work, is sacred – you know that – and handing control of it to someone else is foolish.
It’s full of examples of great work being done not only in your industry, but across industries – because The 8 Percent are inspired by excellence – and excellence is not limited to a single industry. Sometimes, the most inspirational thing you can do is to look at work that seemingly has nothing to do with your work – it’s amazing what that can trigger in you.
(I find, by the way, that this is something that members of The 8 Percent do naturally – they find themselves drawn to excellence in other arenas, without really knowing why. They’ll watch documentaries and read books that are completely irrelevant to their work. I’m not a chef – I’m not even a good amateur cook – but I religiously watch the Netflix show The Chefs Table because I’m obsessed with how amazing people are doing amazing things.)
If you’re a member of The 8 Percent – or if you’re an aspiring member of The 8 Percent – then you are most, most welcome here.
We hope you’ll not only enjoy our work – but also engage and contribute work of your own.