I have invented a new term: The Kanye Meridian. This is the boundary line between exuberant self-confidence and outright hubris. There is a place for bold self-confidence, a Kanye West-like swagger as you approach your metaphorical microphone. When you choose to create anything you should undertake that endeavor like it’s your destiny to do it and do it well. Don’t hum and haw and make pre-emptive excuses for not succeeding. Instead, assume you are about to rock the house, and then step up and do so.
But, and this is a big exception, try to keep your bravado restrained to an internal monologue. When you broadcast your awesomeness to everyone who can hear you, you start to wander into jerk territory and you encourage people to daydream about your possible failure. I wonder if Kevin Smith is crossing the meridian now. He’s just shown a movie at Sundance film festival, and in the lead-up to it he has been promoting it enthusiastically on Twitter and on his own website. On the one hand, a man has a right to be excited about his art. And he also writes about the perspective he’s gained from his years making movies, giving motivational advice, which is fine and dandy. But at some point, being loudly proud of your work and badmouthing the ‘industry’ that won’t do business the way you want them to creates a situation ripe for comeuppance. Hopefully, his movie doesn’t suck. The real pitfall awaiting the over-confident is the loss of your own internal critic. You need to be able to turn your critic off at the beginning of a project, but that sour little fella is invaluable when you go to edit the work. You have to be able to notice that, after the first blush of new creative love fades, your new work of art kind of stinks. And jeez louise, do that before you show it to anyone.