The first is to add a new layer on top of an existing structure. Piggy-back on the success that has already been created. Blog about your take on hot topics. Sing the types of songs that people are accustomed to hearing and add a little something new. This is the builder.
The second is to annihilate the entire structure and start from a place of completely uncharted territory. It is a lonely and frightening journey with no promises of success. To be sure, the hate mail will come faster than the fan mail, at least in the beginning. This is the destroyer.
Both categories work, but I think true art is always in the latter. Those lonely souls who lead our world forward do so not by extending what we already know, but by creating a whole new scary paradigm that no one had imagined.
The interesting thing is, just about anyone can choose to join the first class. It is easy, safe, and fairly fool-proof. You’ll make money, gain fans, and build a stable plateau of success in your field. But the second category is almost never a choice. People don’t decide to give up success and affection in order to do something different. It is a compulsion. They do it in order to honestly look themselves in the mirror each morning. These artists and innovators simply must use their lives to break down your world and reimagine it in a way that just might be great.