If you’re ever down on Canal Street in New Orleans you can check out the famous statue of Ignatius Riley. He’s the antihero in John Kennedy O’Toole’s book, A Confederacy of Dunces.
I chose this title for today’s video book review because it’s both a tragedy and an inspiration for creatives and entrepreneurs around the world who don’t get the validation they initially hoped for from their work. In other words, every creative and entrepreneur 🙂
Reject after Reject
When John Kennedy O’Toole finished writing A Confederacy of Dunces in 1963, he sent his manuscript to publisher after publisher and received reject after reject.
People told him the book was good but kind of pointless.
They told him nothing really happens in the story except that the antihero — Ignatius Reilly — wanders around from one misfortune to the next.
So, after receiving those rejections, O’Toole started to feel depressed. He believed his work wasn’t worth anything and his voice wasn’t wanted in the world.
Tragically, he made the choice to end his life… he was just 31.
When the rest of the world gave up on O’Toole — and he gave up on himself — his mother refused to give up.
She believed her son had written a fantastic novel and she spent more than a decade shopping it around until she got it into the hands of Louisiana State University professor, Walker Percy.
Percy did not want to read the book but he obliged because the author’s mom just wouldn’t give up…
And within the first few pages, Percy realized the book was remarkable — even extraordinary — and that the author had an incredibly dark, comedic wit.
So, 11 years after O’Toole died, his book was finally published and went on to posthumously win the Pulitzer Prize, one of the greatest awards in all of literature.
The Masterpiece Inside You
I’m sharing this story to remind you that no matter who you are or where you come from, my guess is you’ve got a masterpiece inside of you… whether you or the world recognizes it or not.
As long as you have the courage to express what’s inside of you and not give up, you’ll ultimately get where you want to go…
Because the world needs your voice now more than ever before.
Whether you’ve got the voice of a superhero, an antihero or whatever your voice happens to be, I encourage you to turn up the dial on your unique self-expression and dare to speak and live your message… amplified.
If you don’t, you’ll never know what you could have achieved and how your work and your masterpiece could have transformed lives… and maybe even changed the world.
The World is Waiting
Most people don’t fully understand their own brilliance and the world won’t always recognize it.
So when you don’t get that validation from a publisher, client or prospect and most of all, when you don’t get that validation from yourself…
It’s easy to give up on your dreams.
But perhaps you’re not getting validation because you’re ahead of your time…
Perhaps you just haven’t met the right person…
Perhaps you haven’t dialed into your core voice yet…
So keep going because the world is waiting to experience your brilliance.
A Different Perspective
I’ve got to admit that A Confederacy of Dunces was a challenging read for me because what O’Toole created in Ignatius Riley is not the most handsome, ambitious, successful or good-natured human being!
He actually created the character as a slob who was going nowhere fast — someone who had closed his heart to the world and to love.
It was hard for me to keep reading from the point of view of someone who was so pessimistic and down on his luck.
But sometimes reading the opposite of who you are and what your life is like can offer you a different perspective on the world.
I don’t recommend you read A Confederacy of Dunces unless you want to get insight into the shadow side of humanity and experience the dark comedy of life itself…
But if that’s what you want, it’s a great read and John’s creative style is unlike anything you’ll ever experience.
Thanks so much for reading and remember…
You’ve got that masterpiece inside of you whether it’s a book, a signature talk, a product… you’ve got what it takes to make it happen.
So go ahead and let me know…
What’s a secret dream you have inside? What’s something amazing you want to do in the world? Share your masterpiece in the comments, I want to cheer you on!
No matter what happens, don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on the world.
Now go out there and Live Your Message!