David Brooks has some advice for artists, musicians, politicians, and the like: appreciate the tremendous power of your particularity.
We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood. It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who have created the most local and distinctive story landscapes. Millions of people around the world are ferociously attached to Tupac Shakur’s version of Compton or J.K. Rowling’s version of a British boarding school or Downton Abbey’s or Brideshead Revisited’s version of an Edwardian estate.
Millions of people know the contours of these remote landscapes, their typical characters, story lines, corruptions and challenges. If you build a passionate and highly localized moral landscape, people will come.
Brooks roots these story landscapes to place but it’s easily expanded to any individual differentiator. Take tech companies. Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft…they all embody the particularity of their founders and have found success because of it.