That up there is a self portrait of my younger self.
When I was little, I spent all day drawing, and would quickly hide my doodles whenever somebody approached. You know how some people start out thinking they're pretty good, then find out that's not the case as they learn more? That wasn't me. I was extremely (although vaguely) aware of my shortcomings.
In fact, the first day of kindergarten, I looked at the kid next to me. People in my drawing had (crudely drawn) fingers. People in his drawing had round stumps for hands. I remember thinking, "oh, so THAT's how you draw hands," and immediately "fixing" my picture so people had round stump hands.
Connection is an awesome thing. You connect with someone out there through your art... you put your heart into it, and they find a piece of their own heart reflected in it. Or maybe they're just so impressed with the technical aspect of it that they treasure it just the same. Or maybe they're not quite impressed, but they see a glimmer of potential and take personal interest in your work. etc etc.
But if you are truly putting your heart into it, isn't that the meat of the matter? Isn't connection -- which has a big overlap with, but not exactly same as, popularity -- just gravy for us non-professionals?
Don't get me wrong, I love connection. Hey, I'd love to be popular! But I'm not going to do it at the expense of not putting my heart into what I do. My art/style will always change and evolve, but not because it's gotten less popular (anime has kind of become yesterday's fad lately). It will be because I suck more than I would prefer. XD From time to time, I might get sad about being so obscure (unlike my child self...), but my real drive for pushing myself shall always come from within.
I think a lot of people over-idealize childhood and children, but man, sometimes we do need to take a step back and learn from our younger selves.