My friend Nick films and directs and wide range of commercial and personal video projects and has been doing so for many years. He does this because, truthfully, he has no other choice. His brain is overly congested with creative concepts and ideas and he needs to get them out onto the canvas of motion imagery.

By continuously doing work that he is truly passionate about he is able to satisfy his intrinsic motivators. As a result he just so happens to also receive a lot of extrinsic rewards in the form of people commenting on Facebook to congratulate him on his latest projects, recognition from his colleagues and a bookcase filled with awards.

Yet if you ever met Nick you would know that he does not do his work for the Facebook comments, the recognition or the awards. Certainly he appreciates them – but they do not drive his creative energy and desire to continue to develop new projects.

Another friend of mine Angela is a fantastic artist. As she grows her photography business she also pushes herself to learn and develop in video, graphic design and has become an avid decorator of her home. She shares her work through her social media channels generating a large buzz of positive response.

However, like Nick, Angela does not do her work simply to get praise from her social media following. She does it because she has to do it. She has to do it because she loves to do it. There is no other choice.

The alternative rests in those when operate solely for the applause. The photographer who cares more about being known as a photographer instead of focusing on their art. The model who wants people to known them as a beautiful talent, but not actually have to do any work. The online “magazine” owner who has no real interest in publishing but dreams of someday being Hugh Hefner. The solo-preneur who cares more about how many “Likes” they get on a Facebook post rather than how many true connections they are able to make.

The danger with the latter is that is cheapens the work that could possibly be done. The photographer will never truly test themselves or push to create something new, exciting and dramatic. The model will continue to placate themselves to an audience of people who cannot actually help their career. The online “magazine” will eventually close its doors, as there is no ad revenue – or even a readership. And the solo-preneur will eventually realize that the massive bank of “Likes” they solely focused on accumulating never actually converted into dollars.

Our choice is quite simple. Dedicate ourselves to things that we are endlessly passionate about – or take the easier road where we only focus on the recognition for what we do. Which path will you be taking?

James Patrick